Andy Taylor

 
Andy Taylor had a lot going for him.He was smart,fairly handsome,knew how to create a calm atmosphere when others around him got a bit frazzled,and could handle a guitar and sing”like a good ole country boy”was expected to. I loved watching”The Andy Griffith Show”while I was growing up,and I love watching the reruns now.  I suppose one of the reasons I enjoy it so much is because I can truly relax while watching and I don’t have to worry much about missing a point or two if I go to the kitchen to get myself a snack.  The storylines are wholesome and entertaining,yet simple,so you almost feel as if you are sitting right there in the living room with them or at their kitchen table,being a silent guest as the story unfolds.
 
I hate to admit this,but I have to be honest,I didn’t care for Barney Fife. Now I know some of you are going to disagree,but the fact that he carried an unloaded gun around,and the one and only bullet that he was allowed to have in his possession,was kept in his shirt pocket,was a little far-fetched for me.  Now I realize that it is only a television show,but honestly, are we to believe there is anyone on this earth who is that stupid?  I am talking the character here and not Don Knotts.  I am sure his bank account provided plenty of evidence that this was not a stupid man.  I remember having a conversation a few years ago with the sheriff of Fayette County,Vernon Stanforth,who happens to also be a friend of mine.  I told him what my feelings were and asked him jokingly what he thought of Mayberry’s Barney Fife.  He thought for a few moments and said,”Well, would you have rather he carried the bullet IN his gun?” I guess not. Good point!
 
He did have a good heart though,and a truer friend to Andy just wasn’t to be found.  How about the episode when Aunt Bee had just finished making a batch of homemade pickles and they were so bad that Andy and Barney kept eating them so that no one else would,sparing her having her feelings hurt? What friends!
 
This show has a place in my heart not only because I seem to lean towards things that were from “ days gone by,” but it guarantees a half hour of relaxed viewing. I sort of know what to expect,don’t have to worry about sending grandchildren out of the room,and the plots do not make my brain hurt trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Now I do like a challenge when watching a good show but I don’t like taking notes so I won’t get lost.  Putting it purely and simply,the show is just that.  Pure and simple.
 
Kind of like my recipe for chicken stew. A traditional favorite that everyone seems to enjoy with no special plating,no fancy frills,and no special ingredients that you have to retrieve from a specialty store.Just common ordinary items that are already sitting in your pantry and refrigerator.  A simple and old-fashioned dependable favorite that has been around for years and is still enjoyed today.
 
When my son,Shane,was a little boy and came down with colds or winter flu,he always wanted me to make a batch of chicken soup or chicken stew.He swore it made him feel better.  I believe it did.  Shane will be thirty years old soon.  Early this spring he came down with a terrible case of the flu.  The phone rang one evening and on the other end I heard a barely recognizable voice and between coughs he asked,”Mom,is there any way you can make a batch of your chicken soup for me?” It was around 7 P.M. and I had worked all day and was really tired and worn out.  But you know what I did.  Exactly what any mother would have done.  I went to the kitchen and whipped up a batch of chicken soup.  A few days and about a gallon of chicken soup later,he called and said he was well on the road to recovery.”Thanks Mom,” he said.
 
Pure and simple.
 
Following is the recipe for my homemade chicken stew. I don’t share the one for my chicken soup,but if you called me up and coughed really hard and sounded pathetic enough,I just might whip up a batch for you.
 
Homemade Chicken Stew
 
2 stalks celery ( chopped bite-size)
2 carrots ( chopped bite-size)
½ medium size onion (finely chopped)
2 Tablespoons  Olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter
 32 oz. box  Chicken  Stock
  ¾ cup Flour
2 large boneless,skinless,chicken breasts
3 large potatoes ( cubed as if you were making potato salad)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
 
In a Dutch oven ( or heavy skillet) on medium heat,melt the butter and the olive oil. Add the celery,onion,carrots and thyme Sautee until vegetables are medium tender. Add the flour.
Cook this while stirring for at least 3 minutes to take the raw taste out of the flour. It will become thick,just keep stirring. Add the chicken broth slowly. Keep adding as much broth as you like for the stew thickness you prefer.Simmer
 
In a separate skillet cut your chicken breast  into cubes and sauté in vegetable oil until done.
Cook potatoes as if you would for potato salad. Don’t over cook. Drain.
Add chicken and potatoes to  the broth mixture.
Salt and Pepper to taste
Put lid on and simmer for 20 minutes.
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