I don’t know why, an almost forgotten song, popped in my head at that particular moment. “Ha, Ha, Hee, Hee, I’m just as happy, as I Can Be. I’m the Happy Bird.” An annoying visit from a fictional loudmouth large pink bird wasn’t welcomed.
As a child, “Little Orly and the Happy Bird,” and “Little Toot,” the story about a happy harbor tugboat on 78 rpm records, played over and over.” My parents never complained. Quietness of occupied children probably overruled silly kid songs. As the record became scratched and worn, the Happy Bird’s singing voice took on qualities of a gravelly voiced folk singer. Record skips caused outbursts of giggles.
Both stories, were found on You Tube, minus static and scratches. It was surreal–I remembered every word. The musical arrangements seemed a bit dated. I didn’t know there was a complete series of “Little Orly” children’s stories narrated by “Uncle Lumpy” Brannum–better known as “Mr. Green Jeans” on “Captain Kangaroo.”
Times changed, stories changed, families, children, and grandchildren came along. Old seventy-eight records gave way to video tapes and DVD’s. If I watched “The Land Before Time” once, I watched it a thousand times. The same with “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Jungle Book,” and others.
When babysitting grandchildren, these favorite stories, were played repeatedly. Just when I’d reached my limits, as if by magic, my mischievous little charges fell asleep. These were more than babysitting aids, or simple stories, full of silly kid songs. They spoke of life, honor, friendship, responsibility, and determination.
Two generations later, things aren’t really that different. The Happy Bird still had something to say about character.
…Double fish and fiddlesticks… It’s was easier to give advice, than to take advice. The Happy Bird gave advice, but when the tables were turned, he was uncomfortable.