Was reading the news of Andy Griffith passing, and kinda reflecting for a moment at another figure from childhood passing on, reminding of how much time has as well.
He was often spotted about the outer banks (coastal carolina islands), and I would see him here n there as a kid. He was pretty much a resident and actually got his start right down there in the continual running play The Lost Colony, depicting the disappearance of the settlement in Manteo if anyone remembers that from history class.
Sidebar..My uncle was VP of one of the iconic boutique shopping meccas there called the Galleon Esplanade, which was booming plaza centered around an actual spanish galleon, so whenever I was with my stepgram down there it was routine to stop in and see him. Alston was very.. I guess what folks call metrosexual now, he was the spitting image of Tony Orlando lmao. He had a killer pad with all the latest of technology, Bang & Olfson audio, nice toys etc, and was involved with beauty pageants and sorts of stuff, so naturally was wowed as a kid at how well to do he was.
He and his boss were personal friends of Mr Griffith, golfing buddies etc, so he often stopped in there as well, and was the first place he ever spoke to me. My gram and I were walking into the plaza and I had already done a doubler take at the tall man walking beside us, and was already turning it over in my head as to whether it was him or not. He had high water dungarees on, barefoot, tattered sunbleached tshirt, hair all windblown...so it seemmed kind of surreal, until my gram spoke right up "Well good morning Mr Griffith!" lol.
Obviously not wanting to draw attention, he offered a deep abrupt "Hi", and returned face forward and hastened his gate a bit on ahead of us. As he strutted on and turned toward the admin office I saw him glance back at us making the same turn, to which he raised his then jet black brow, as if to say in his head "to be sure theyre not following me into the management office". And he disappeared thru the door.
Soon in tow, we came in made our way to the HQ nest where he was standing talking to the receptionist and pointing in the direction of the entrance hall. I never forget his expression when he saw us, part disbelief that we had the nerve to follow him in there, and to this day I wish I could have heard what he was about to say....but as he took a breath to speak, he uttered just a piece of a word, when my uncle walked out of his office, threw his hands up and bellowed welcomingly "Mom!"....heheheh. I never took my eyes off of Griffith, and I watched him deflate and drop his arm and kinda look at the floor to reset himself. And he did that all to familiar sigh that Ive seen him do on TV so many times.
And what was cool after that was the event left a mental tag with him, whereas he didnt know my name but he knew who I was. So in the sporadic chance meetings thereafter, Id get get an acknowledgement, a wave and a hi or hey buddy, which was cool stuff for a little kid.
Anyway, just made me think about it, so I thought Id write it down as my rememberence of him.