A/N-I don't think they gave Floyd Lawson, Mayberry's barber , a proper goodbye.
This is my story to say goodbye to him.
Disclaimer-I, Sand n' Sable do not own rights to the character of Floyd or anything to do with Mayberry. Just own the T.V. that I watch it on.
I want to give my thanks to Ultimatelaurafan for her magnificent help in this story even tho it's one she does not watch.
Andy Griffith with his twelve-year-old son, Opie were walking to Floyd's barber shop, Opie looked up at his pa then he said,
"Gee, pa, I don't think I need a haircut."
Andy looked at his son, rolled his eyes than said, "Opie, it's down to your ears ! Now, it's either get a hair cut or have Aunt Bee put it in a ponytail ! Now, which is it?"
The thought of his hair pulled back in a ponytail scared him to death but he didn't want his pa to know that so, he just calmly nodded his head to him. Andy then had his son follow him a few more steps to the barber shop, he opened the door and he saw Floyd sitting in one of the barber chairs. He looked at him and at first, he just assumed he was asleep. He smiled down at Opie then walked over and cleared his throat then said,
"Floyd? I bought Opie in for a haircut, it's getting a mite long."
He expected Floyd to fly open his eyes and scramble around like he usually does getting things ready for a customer but he didn't.
Andy looked at his son then said, "He must be sleeping hard, Goober said they stayed up late playing a spirited game of checkers."
Opie nodded his head than Andy touched his friend's arm...then he knew. Floyd would never again cut anybody's hair. He was surprised he didn't see this before, despite Mayberry being a town with "very little action" as Barney used to say, he had seen his share of death in the war. He remembered his son, Opie with him. He wasn't sure how Opie would react to seeing this. Nothing really seemed to upset Opie much but seeing death was something that was hard on anybody.
Andy turned to look at him then Opie asked, "Pa? Is Floyd going to give me my haircut?"
Andy shook his head sadly then he said, "No son, Floyd won't be giving anybody any haircuts."
Opie looked at Floyd and understood, he really didn't react at all, at least not like Andy feared. He just looked around then asked, "What should we do pa?"
Andy shuffled his feet then started to say something then Opie said, "I think we should go put the 'closed' sign up Pa."
Andy nodded his head then he said, "That's a good idea son, why don't you do that? Then run on home so you can tell Aunt Bea."
Opie nodded his head obediently, walked over to the window, put the sign up then opened the door and said "Bye Pa". When Opie got out past the window, he fell against the wall, shaking and said, "Floyd is dead." He then ran home as fast as his legs could carry him, he ran in the alley ways back home, he didn't want anybody to see the tears falling from his eyes and streaking his face.
Back at the barber shop, Andy looked around the room, he saw one of the barber sheets, got it then threw it over Floyd's body. He then went over to the phone by the window, he picked it up then said, "Sarah, would you get me the country corernor please? I think he's in Mt. Pilot today...Sarah, don't worry about why, JUST get him!"
Andy rolled his eyes at Mayberry's nosy operator but he didn't say anything, just waited on the phone for his party then a few minutes later, "Yes? Mister Thompson, Sheriff Andy Taylor over in Mayberry here, I'm calling about a body I found...yes sir, just now, Floyd Lawson at the barber shop here in town...yes sir, a few hours? No, no problem. I'll see you then."
Andy hung up the phone then thought about it, then he picked up the phone again then said, "Sarah? Would you get my house for me? Yes, Sarah it has something to do with my last cal, no, can't tell you; you'll just have to wait to find out with the rest of the town."
He shook his head in disbelief at the operator on the phone then a few minutes later, he heard, "Andy?"
He heard the worry in her voice, how her voice had gone up in panic and he said, "Aunt Bea?"
She quickly answered back, "Andy, Opie just came home and he told me that you found Floyd dead in his chair at the barber shop?"
He was nodding his head the time and he said in a sad voice, "It's true Aunt Bea, Floyd is dead."
Worry came to her face and she started to cry then said, "Oh my, what a thing for a twelve-year-old boy to find."
He nodded his head in agreement, even tho she couldn't see then said, "I know Aunt Bea, I couldn't help it , I tried to get him out and send him home as quick as I could. Has he said anything?"
She looked up in the way of her great nephew's room then said, "No, not really. He just came home out of breath from running then when he was able, told me about Floyd then ran up to his room. When are you coming home?"
"In a few hours, I have to stay with Floyd's body until the coroner gets here." He told her.
"Okay Andy, I think we'll have a special supper , to help pick Opie's mood up."
Andy then said, "Fine Aunt Bea, I'll see you both later."
They hung up then Aunt Bea stood up , paced the floor in the living room then for a bit then sat down, picked up the phone then said, "Sarah, get me Clara...you'll find out soon enough."
She sniffled and bought her blue handkerchief up to her cheek to catch the tears then she said,
"Clara, I have the most dreadful news..."
Andy was sitting at his desk trying to keep his mind on his work but it wasn't working. At all. The door to the sheriff's office opened and in came Goober, he had on his usual work clothes, black pants, white shirt and hat with fringes or whatever you call them on. He wasn't in his usual chipper mood, he was a little down but it was understandable with the news of Floyd's death hitting the town hard. He walked over to Andy's desk in that slow, swaying fashion that he had. He said, "Hey Andy."
Andy looked up at him then said, "Hey Goober."
Goober sighed then sat down in one of the jury chairs then said, "You just don't know how hard it was Andy to walk past the barber shop knowing that Floyd isn't in there, just wasn't the same."
Andy sighed then said, "I know Goober."
"Have you heard anything?" Asked Goober. Andy walked around and sat on the edge of the desk then he said, "Well, Floyd's body is still down at the coroner, the coroner told me he would get to him as fast as he can, they had a four car pile up caused when a taxi cab went the wrong way on Talaxay bridge."
Goober looked at him then said , "Yeah, those city ones can get pretty stupid."
Andy shook his head then said, "Anyway, I talked to his sister, Florida, she was shook up something awful...Warren had to take the phone from her."
Goober looked at him then asked, "Warren? How is he?"
Andy nodded his head then said, "He's fine, he came home from a break from Law school. News shook him pretty bad, Floyd was the one who talked him into going to law school."
Goober then asked Andy, "Do you think they'll have the funeral here?"
Andy nodded his head then said, "Yes, Warren did say that, they'll have it here, Floyd was baptised, married and served on the board all his life, only natural that they bury him here."
Goober sighed then asked another question, "Think they'll get pastor Tucker to bury him?"
Andy nodded his head then said, "Floyd wanted Pastor Wiggins to do it but he passed about 10 years back so I imagine they will get Pastor Tucker."
Goober stood up and walked around then he turned to Andy then said, "Well, another reason I came by was to ask you about something, I was talking with a few of the guys and I know I ain't never really sang except in church but there's a first time for everything and I just want to do this for Floyd."
Andy looked straight at him then asked him, "What Goob?"
"Well, I talked to Howard, Tim Mixon and they agreed to do it if you will Andy, please will you do it?"
Andy asked him again, "What?"
Goober took a deep breath then said, "I want to do a barber shop quartet song for Floyd. Get it? A barber shop?"
Andy smiled then he said, "I think that would be a fine thing to do Goober, what song do you want to do ? Amazing Grace?"
Goober takes another deep breath to work up his courage then he said, "Well..."
The next day, Andy walked into Goober's garage, Goober is working on a car with the hood up. Andy walked up next to him, Goober saw him and said, "Hey, Andy."
Andy smiled back then said, "Hi Goober, I'm not disturbing you , am I?"
Goober smiled then said, "Nah, I'm just working on MIster Fishbrine's car, you know he keeps this baby running better than a new car and he's had this at least 10 years, couldn't tell it tho so I'm just giving it a tune up, almost finished."
He picked up a white rag to wipe his hands than he asked Andy, "You need something Andy? Getting ready for practice tonight?"
Andy shuffled on his feet back and forth then he said, "That's just it Goober, I came to tell you that I just don't feel comfortable doing it but don't get me wrong, it's a FINE song to do in memory of Floyd. You go get up there and do it."
Goober's face fell a little then he asked,
"But who else can we get to do it? We need a forth with Howard, Tim and myself or it just ain't a barbershop...just won't be the same with just the three of us."
Andy sat back on the car and he said, "I know and I can't think of a fourth. I'm sorry Goober."
Goober nodded his head then said, "I know and if you don't feel comfortable but I just don't know, sigh, maybe I shouldn't do this."
Andy stood up then said, "Oh no, don't give up, we'll think of somebody."
Goober sat on the car then said, "Well, I..."
Just then the door opens, Goober and Andy hear the ring of the bell, they look up and their faces fall in shock then both said at the same time, "Gomer!"
Gomer was there standing proudly in his Marine uniform, he holds his marine bag full of clothes. He smiled in his usual goofy, friendly way; picked up his arm, waved to his cousin Goober and friend Andy then said,
"Hey Goober, Andy! How is everything?"
They both go over, shake his hand then Andy asked,
"Goober! How are you? How long are you in for?"
Goober shook their hands than said, "Just for a week, that's all I could get from the Marines."
"Did you come in for Floyd's funeral?" Asked Gomer.
Goober's face fell to the floor, the sparkle in his eyes left then he said, "No, I just came in for a visit...Mayberry is better to go to than anyplace. When did Floyd die?"
Andy told him, "Some time yesterday morning Goober, it's been a shock for the town."
Goober nodded his head then said, "I bet, shoot, Floyd was one of the best parts about this town, I don't know what Mayberry will do without a barber. Maybe we should all make razors out of stones like the cavemen did now."
Andy smiled then said, "I don't think we need to do that Goober."
Goober then said, "Well, if there's anything I can do for Floyd's family, you just let me know."
A thought comes to Gomer and his face brightens up then he said, "Say Gomer, you still sing as beautiful as you did around town a few years back?"
Gomer's face blushes a soft pink then he said,
"Shucks, the guys in my outfit love it when I sing them to sleep."
Knowing what Gomer is up to, Andy's face brightened up, he smiled at Gomer who then said, "Well, I'm trying to get a little quartet together to sing at Floyd's funeral, Andy was going to do it but can't now, would you like to?"
Goober's face lighted up then he said, "Boy, would I ! What would we do?"
Goober got with his cousin to make plans while Andy just smiled.
A few days later, everyone gathers in the First Baptist Church of Mayberry, Floyd's body is laid out in a beautiful , dark mahogany wooden casket with flowers and plants of every kind all over the place. People flow in and out of the church to pay respects, Andy and Helen are moving about in the middle of the church when Barney Fife comes in the church. Andy sees him, he whispered something to Helen then he walked over to Barney, put his hand out and said, "Barney! Glad to see you!"
They shook hands then Barney said, "Hi Andy, when I heard, I, I just couldn't stay away."
Andy looked around the church then he said, "I understand, I'm sure Floyd would have appreciated if he knew you were here."
Barney gave a nervous smile than Andy asked, "You want to go up to see him?"
Barney looked at Andy and not admit his fear, he said, "No, no, I'll just stay back and you know, remember him as he was."
Andy shook his head then Helen came walking up and she said, "Barney, how good it is to see you!"
They shake hands then she said, "I just wish it was under better circumstances."
Barney shook his head, not willing to talk much because his emotions would show in his voice. Andy then put his hand on Barney's shoulder then said, "Guess who else is here?"
Barney looked up at him with the question in his eyes then Andy said, "Gomer's here, GomerPyle."
Barney smiled then asked, "Where is he? I would like to see him. Good ol' Gomer."
Andy then told him, "He's in the back, he's going to sing in a quartet that Goober got together at the last moment for today."
Barney then said, "He'll do a good job." "Yeah." said Andy.
Nobody noticed Otis who came stumbling to the outside of the church, carefully hidden in the shadows and behind a bush, he sat under an open window so he could hear the funeral sermon. He looked around and found an old wooden box , he got it, put it under the window; stood on it then looked at Floyd laying peacefully in the casket in a beautiful dark blue suit.
Several tears flow from Otis's eyes then he sat down then said, "I'm going to miss you Floyd."
He got down from the box then sat down on the green grass then pulled a small whiskey bottle out of his shirt jacket then said, "To you old buddy."
Back inside the church,Warren, Floyd's nephew came up to Andy from behind then Andy turned around. They shook hands then Andy said, "Warren! It's good to see you. Barn, Warren's here."
Barney shook Warren's hand then Andy asked, "Where's your mother Warren?"
Warren glanced at the casket then he said, "She's in the back Andy, she has to do these things in stages, first stage was to even get here. She'll be up front for the funeral, she just has to have time."
Andy shook his head then Warren asked, "Andy? Can I ask you since you were the first to find him...well, I was wondering...was it peaceful? How did his face look? Huh? Huh? Huh?"
Andy looked at Helen and Barney then with sympathy in his face and voice, he said.
"It was peaceful Warren, just peaceful. He died in his favorite place."
Warren's face relaxes then he excuses himself to go up front to the casket.
A few minutes later, the funeral starts, Andy and Helen go sit down, as does Barney, he sat down in a seat behind Andy and Helen. Warren helped his mother sit down in the section reserved for family. Almost all of Mayberry's citizen's were come to the funeral, Otis saw them all from his view at the window.
Revered Tucker with the church choir comes out and Clara Edwards goes to sit down to play the organ then some funeral parlor workers come and respectfully close Floyd's casket then the choir begins to sing 'Amazing Grace'. While they sang the song, Opie came down the aisle, looked around for his Pa, saw both Andy and Helen then went over; Andy looked up at him then whispered, "Opie, you didn't have to come."
Opie told him, "Gee Pa, I had to , for Floyd."
Andy 's face beamed with pride then both he and Helen scooted down a little for Opie to sit at the end.
After the choir finishes, Revered Tucker gets up to give his sermon. He looked around at the congregation full of extremely sad people. He sighed then said,
"We are here to say goodbye to Mister Floyd Lawson of Mayberry. You all knew him, you were friends with this kind man. Floyd was born in this small, heartwarming town of Mayberry, South Carolina. He is survived by his sister, Florida and nephew Warren Ferguson of Boston, Mass., son, Raymond Lawson of Mount Pilot, South Carolina..."
Helen leans over and whispered a question to Andy, "Why didn't his son come?"
Andy whispered back, "He's in the hospital with a bad case of Influenza, doc wouldn't let him out."
Helen nodded her head then went back to paying attention to Reverend Tucker,
"Like I said, this was a kind man, he was an example to us all as it said in the good book, Blessed be the Lord, for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city. Yes, it is talking about the Lord but I believe in this instance, he also meant it for Floyd. I'll always remember my first days in Mayberry. I had just taken over the position of pastor from your previous Pastor Wiggens and Floyd was one of the first people who welcomed me to his home. He was so kind and he very kindly pointed out to me that I needed a haircut. THat I had a certain reputation to uphold..."
Everybody lets out a chuckle at that then the Revered goes on, "Well, he was right about that but he told me in his own kind, gentle way. He also had such a passion for being a barber, and you might say, 'just a barber' but Floyd had such a child like enthusiasm for it and from what I have heard, since childhood when he would give the neighborhood cats, a, (clears throat ) trim."
Again, everybody chuckles at that. The revered waits for the chuckles to die down then he went on again,
"He told me once that he received such pleasure in being a barber, he didn't know why but it gave him happiness to cut hair, it somehow relieved stress and he enjoyed the comrade of his friends and companions being at the shop. That was Floyd Lawson's life in a nutshell, kindness from birth to death. I don't think a one of us was not unaffected by the kindness from him which he got from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let us pray..."
The revered said the prayer then the choir all stood up again and they sang'Nearer my God to thee' then they sit down then the Revered stood back up then said,
"Gomer Pyle, his cousin Gomer with Tim Mixon and Howard Sprauge are now going to do a barbershop quartet song in memory of Floyd."
Andy, Helen and Opie all look at each other, Andy looked back at Barney who gave a quick nod then up front, Gomer with his three partners comes out; each one wearing a varying shade of a blue suit then Gomer cleared his throat then said,
Gomer cleared his throat then said,
"Floyd, this is for you from not just me but from Goober, Howard and Tim."
They slowly start humming out then they start singing the song accupella,
'There are places I remember,
All my life, though some have changed,
Some forever, not for better,
Some have gone and some remain,
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friend, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all.
Everybody looked at each other in wonder that Gomer and friends are actually singing the song and quite beautifully. Andy beams with pride at his friends then they continue singing the beautiful song,
But of all these friends and lovers,
There is no one compares with you.
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before.
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I loved you more.
They finished their song then go sit down then Pastor Tucker said,
"That was beautiful Gomer, Goober, Howard and Tim. I'm sure Floyd appreciates it as we all do. That concludes the service, burial will be followed in the local cemetary. "
They all stand up and pew by pew they go to view Floyd's body for the last time but Barney, who felt tears coming to his eyes, quickly turned and went outside to cry before anybody could see him.
When they are all outside , Gomer walked up to Andy , nervously looking around then Aunt Bea walked up to him; looked at him then she said, "Gomer, I'm not sure if I approve of you singing that song by those mop headed group of older teenagers..."
Opie then said, "They are the Beatles Aunt Bea."
Andy and Helen only smile then Aunt Bea said, "Oh, I don't care but the point is, you and the others did a marvelous job. "
Andy stepped up and said, "You sure did Gomer, you sure did."
They all turned to watch as the pallbearer bring out Floyd's casket with his body in it. Everybody is silent then Andy said in a low voice, "Goodbye Floyd."
Sand n' Sable