Happy Together

Category: Weekly Columns


I had a quintessential American experience: I went to a County Fair. Going to a Country Fair is like going to Disneyland because you see the average American family in all their glory. I use “glory” very loosely because what you really see is all the excess of America. The food at country fairs is notorious for its calories, fat, and extreme portions. This fair and the people did NOT disappoint.

We were at the OC Country Fair to see the Happy Together Tour concert, which was taking place at an amphitheater on the fair grounds. The concert tickets gave us free admission to the fairgrounds, so we wandered about and marveled at the sites. We lucked upon the stall of a female cow that had literally just given birth to a baby calf.

Being the oh-so-bashful guy that I am, I talked with everyone we met. I really enjoyed all the young couples and young families I met. The diversity – a word I normally dislike – of race, ethnicity, and color was a joy to behold, as were all the mixed and gorgeous children. The wonder of how people connect is very cool.

And, just like the name of the concert tour we were about to attend, so many couples seemed “Happy Together.” Most of those were not yet bundled with kids in carts and strollers. Those families rented wagons in which they could pull their brood along. The dads looked very tired.

One family, with two small kids in tow, had a very large stuffed animal with them. I went up and asked who won it. The dad proudly pointed inside his miniature “covered wagon” that hauled his kids and all the junk food they’d accumulated. He pointed to his 6-year-old son and said, “He threw the ball right in the winning spot,” with great pride! He then elaborated, saying that he kept on missing: a proud papa, for sure.

I saw another young couple, seating in an arbor of sorts, who were trying to take a photo of themselves. I rushed over and volunteered to take it for them. I asked their backgrounds and was told that he was Hispanic and she was Italian. Later, when I saw them walking, I saw something that wasn’t apparent when they were seated. She was a head taller than him! LOVE IT!

Guess which one is my wife? Lol...

The “wonder” of all those tattoos was…you fill in the best descriptive word! They were everywhere on every size body, men and women, and all ages. There were odd ducks everywhere – and I’m not talking about the petting zoo area – with a man/women in pink that made quite a sight. He was matched by a look-a-like Angelyne who was bursting out of her pink, 2-sizes small, mini-dress with make-up that more matched the amount of make-up a clown would wear.

I was beginning to dread going to the Happy Together concert. I suspected I would fit in perfectly with the concertgoers in age and look. After all, when The Turtles and The Monkees were popular, I was a young teen. When I do attend these retro-concerts with such old groups, I always ask my wife the same question, “Do I look as old as that guy (pointing to a random guy in the crowd)?” hoping against hope that she’ll lie to me.

One of my all-time favorite groups of my era was The Turtles. I also had a special attachment to The Monkees, but felt sad that we were only seeing Mickey Dolenz, both due to Davy Jones untimely death and that it was not the whole original group.

The Grassroots, Gary Puckett, and The Buckinghams were the under-card. We had seats in the center, just the right distance away not to see exactly how old these guys really looked. Sadly, the big monitors on either side of the stage made it impossible not to fantasize that they and we were still young and cool.

Old voices and the same back-up band for all the acts aside, the show was fun. It reminded me of a Beach Boys reunion concert I attended in 1984 in which the audience – myself very included – didn’t hear the actual poor singing (especially the lack of decent harmonies and falsetto singing they were known for) but, instead, “heard” the actual records. Below, enjoy thes ten-minute clip that best shows off the entire Happy Together show:

For the biggest of their hits, the artists wisely invited the audience to sing-a-long and every grandma and grandpa there obliged doing a lot of “ba ba ba ba’s” along with Flo and Eddie to “Happy Together.”

I felt stuffed by the junk food I’d eaten earlier, I felt good, and I felt very ooolllldddd…