in my humble opinion

Put on a happy face

Posted 6/12/24

What is a “happy face,” anyhow? Oh sure, a smile is clear evidence of one, but we’re not always in the mood to slap one on—hence the idiom at hand. 

The Google says …

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in my humble opinion

Put on a happy face


What is a “happy face,” anyhow? Oh sure, a smile is clear evidence of one, but we’re not always in the mood to slap one on—hence the idiom at hand. 

The Google says that “put on a happy face” means “to appear happy even when one is not.” Well, duh. In other words, it’s an expression; it’s a state of mind; it’s a song (there’s always a song) written by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse for the Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” 

I was pretty excited to hear that the Zerbini Family Circus would be raising the big top at the Delaware Youth Center last Thursday, but was dismayed about the weather forecast, so I cranked up the old Victrola (look it up) and “took a listen.”=

Gray skies are gonna clear up
Put on a happy face
Brush off the clouds and cheer up
Put on a happy face

It poured beforehand, but the clouds parted long enough for families to flock to the charming hamlet of Callicoon, NY, and we all stayed nice and dry while mesmerized by the acrobats, happy donkeys, prancing ponies, beautiful ladies swinging from strands of silk, clowns, jugglers and even a man on the flying trapeze. 

Zerbini is one of the only real honest-to-goodness family circuses left, and I was amazed by the incredible amount of talent and hard work we observed as what can only be described as a “well oiled machine” played out before our eyes. The tent was packed, and the distinctive aroma of hot dogs, cotton candy and popcorn filled the air while “boys and girls of all ages” exhibited happy faces all around. 

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The annual Livingston Manor Trout Parade is always a reason to smile, and this year’s theme—“Trout on the Range”—promised photo-ops galore. I was intent on smiling while traipsing up and down Main Street in the Manor until I lost my notebook somewhere along the parade route, causing writer’s angst. I wasn’t sure that even Dick Van Dyke could help, but I searched for his advice, doled out on my phone, just in case.

Take off that gloomy mask of tragedy
It’s not your style
You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad 
Ya decided to smile

It took me a while, but one can’t help but do so watching the bands, the floats, the parade’s signature giant puppets and kids grabbing candy while celebrating all things trout, country style. The hundreds of happy faces I encountered along the parade route really did help, so I’ll let the photos tell the story in an effort to whine less. 

If I hadn’t lost my notebook (argh) I’d be able to identify them all, but maybe you can. Check out the photos online and let your friends and loved ones know they’re in the paper this week. 

Thanks, Livingston Manor—you know how to throw a party. In my humble opinion.

Here’s my plan for next week.

Pick out a pleasant outlook (um, OK)

Stick out that noble chin (noble?) 

Wipe off that “full of doubt” look (why start now?)

Slap on a happy grin (OK, fine; I’ll try)

And spread sunshine all over the place

Just put on a happy face.

Fun Fact: Originally titled “Let’s Go Steady,” “Bye Bye Birdie” is set in 1958 and the play’s story was influenced by Elvis Presley being drafted into the army in 1957.

in my humble opinion, put on a happy face


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