I discovered today that the legendary Don Knotts has passed away. I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Knotts about six years ago at a book signing while I was working in the Los Angeles area. I'm saddened by his passing both because he was an American television icon and because he was a very friendly, warm-hearted man.

Also, in reading about the loss of Don Knotts, I discovered that the very funny Darren McGavin, probably most famous as the father in "A Christmas Story," also passed away. I mimic his excitement at uncrating his lamp every time I open a package marked FRAGILE.

"Ra-jee-lay ... Must be Italian!"

(And before anyone says it, I too once thought he said "Fra-gee-lay" with an F. But one day I realized what prompted his misunderstanding: on the crate, the stenciled F got cut off, resulting in RAGILE. Hence, his momentary and humorous confusion. I listened more closely and realized he was indeed saying "Ragilé!")