YOU NEVER ASKED
("Opie’s Charity" from the Andy Griffith Show by Joey Fann)
The episode begins with Andy and Opie playing catch. While they are playing, Annabelle Silby comes by to solicit help with the annual children’s charity drive she heads up every year. Andy and Annabelle go into the courthouse to discuss the status of the charity drive. While at the courthouse, Annabelle compliments the town’s children on their willingness to help out with such a worthy cause. Andy, taking this opportunity to brag, suggests that Opie is probably one of the biggest contributors in his class. However, Annabelle relates that Opie only contributed 3 cents to the charity drive. The next lowest contributor was 5 cents. Andy is beside himself. He can’t believe his son would contribute such a measly amount to a worthy cause like the children’s charity drive.
When Opie returns to the courthouse, Andy proceeds to have a discussion with his son to discuss the importance of giving. Opie claims he is saving his money to buy his girlfriend, Charlotte, a present. Try as he might, Andy just can’t get the point across to his son that he should give more to the charity drive. That night at supper, Andy still cannot convince Opie that it is important for him to be generous in his giving. Finally, Andy has had it, and he sends Opie to his room.
While Andy is muttering to himself about how embarrassing it is for the son of the town sheriff to give the least amount to the charity drive, Aunt Bee interjects. Aunt Bee asks Andy to stop and think about what he is saying. Is he more concerned about what other people think that he is about his own son? Is he really ready to give up on his son because of this one incident?
Andy realizes what he has done and calls Opie downstairs. He tells Opie that it is OK to spend all his money on his girlfriend, and it doesn’t matter if he buys her a toy or takes her to the movie for two dollars’ worth of popcorn. Then Opie says something Andy never expected, something Andy never even considered. "I was saving to buy her a coat."
"A coat?" Andy asks.
Opie continues, "Yeah, her family doesn’t have a lot of money, and her coat is kinda worn out."
Andy’s mouth drops. "But Opie, you never told me what the money was for.”
Opie’s response is, “You never asked."
This reminds me of a particular Sunday morning in church. My wife, Nicole, and I were sitting near the front, and two women we didn’t know were sitting in front of us. During the service I noticed that the women were whispering to each other. It really didn’t bother me at first, but it was a little distracting. As the service went on, the women kept whispering. Now this might be expected behavior from two children, but these were grown-ups. Everyone knows that you’re not supposed to talk in church, especially if you are sitting near the front! The more it went on, the more upset I became, and I eventually lost track of the sermon. I had no idea what the preacher was saying. I just couldn’t believe these two women had the nerve to be so distracting in church.
In a little while the sermon was over and it was time for announcements. One of the announcements was a welcome to the wife of one of our missionaries. She was in the States for a short time and wanted to visit our congregation since we were helping to support their mission effort. She was traveling with a friend, and they were sitting in the front. "What?" I thought. "Those two women? The women who have distracted me throughout the entire service? The two that caused me not to get anything from this morning’s message? And one of them is the wife of a preacher? You’ve got to be kidding!"
"By the way,” the announcer continued. "Our guest doesn’t speak English, so when you introduce yourself, her friend will be happy to interpret for you." Oh, that is why they were whispering. This lady wanted to know what was being said; and her friend was interpreting for her.
I felt very small. I assumed I knew all the facts when I didn’t. I judged this situation on my perception--just like Andy did with Opie. The rest of that Sunday I kept thinking to myself, "You never told me she didn’t speak English." But, then again, I never asked.
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