Sheriff Lee Foster and "Barney Fife."
Newberry County, SC (WLTX) - The Andy Griffith show is believed to be based off his hometown of Mount Airy, NC where Griffith was born and raised.
However; here in the Midlands there is another town that's also described as a "Mayberry".
Anyone who's ever spent time in Newberry County has probably heard it compared to the Andy Griffith Show, complete with a real life 'Sheriff Andy Taylor:' Sheriff Lee Foster.
The well-known whistled tune that introduces the Andy Griffith Show is more than a catchy diddy, but a reminder of a certain way of life--a way of life that Foster and his staff take to heart.
"Some of these characters around town they'll even call me Barney Fife," joked Foster, "but I like to think of myself more along the lines an Andy!"
When it comes to Andy Griffith you would be hard pressed to find a sheriff more similar than Foster.
"The way that he handles Newberry as a small town," said the department's communications operator, Pam Cooke, "he IS Sheriff Taylor!"
Like many Andy Griffith fans Foster was sad to hear of his death.
"I got a tear in my eye," said Foster.
"I've never met Andy Griffith in person, but because of the show and some of the teachings and things you feel a sense of personal loss because that's somebody you grew up with."
Foster carries the lessons he learned from the show into his responsibilities with the law today.
"There's an episode of Andy Griffith that's actually my favorite episode, it's when Andy Griffith is on trial. Barney summed it up by saying, 'This is a small town. The sheriff's more than just a sheriff, he's a friend."
"That's always what I always wanted to be and I try to have my philosophy- to be a friend."
The simple philosophies and family values that the show possessed have stood the test of TV time.
"Most show's come and go but that's one that has persevered."