We’re not in Doodyville any more Toto we’re in Branson Missouri, aren’t we?

As he napped, the Ole Seagull surely must have smiled as he began to dream and heard the instrumental version of the “Howdy Doody Theme” drifting through the spaces of dream land. It was reminiscent of a simpler, nicer time and place. A time and place where millions of America’s kids spent many an afternoon in “Doodyville” with Howdy Doody, Flub-a-dub, Clarabell Hornblower and its other inhabitants while being entertained and seeing examples of positive character traits such as respect, citizenship, compassion, and cooperation.

But as the dream continued and the words of the shows theme song were sung it became apparent that this dream was not going to be about a simpler nicer time or anything that anyone would expect to involve positive character traits. Although the music was the same as that of the Howdy Doody Show the lyrics being sung were different:

It’s Haughty Doody time,

It’s Haughty Doody time,

The Mayor and Council too,

Say Haughty Doo to you.

Let’s give a rousing sneer,

‘Cause Haughty Doody’s here.

It’s time to annex you,

So that is what we’ll do!

Then the Ole Seagull got another clue that the dream was not about Doodyville as he noted the audience and the way they were acting. They were adults not kids and they were obviously upset about something. They kept shouting to Haughty, “Is this an example of the compassion and cooperation that we can expect if you annex us to Goodyville? Why won’t you at least show us the respect of giving us an opportunity to ask questions about the annexation and be heard?” It was then that the Ole Seagull got the shock of his life.

In the Howdy Doody Show, Howdy was a puppet but in the dream, Haughty, although he looked like Howdy, down to the 48 freckles on his face, wasn’t a puppet. Instead, with his right hand he controlled seven puppets sitting in a row behind a long podium with the word “Goodyville City Council” embossed on the front. Strangely, they all looked the same, each had a name sign in front of them saying the same thing, “Flarabell,” and each had an identical bicycle horn mounted in front of them that had the word “Yes” painted on it.

With his left hand he controlled a single puppet who was evidently the Goodyville city attorney because in response to the audience’s questions Haughty simply pulled the strings on the puppet and whispered, “Shyst-a-dub, tell them what the city code says in a way that will make this go away.” In response Shyst-a-dub said, “Respect my foot, you can expect this and more when we annex you. In Goodyville what I say the Goodyville Code means is law.” He went on to tell them to get over it because their 15 minutes was up and that there was no way anymore of them would be heard.

As Shyst-a-dub finished, Haughty worked his right hand. All but one of the Flarabell puppets nodded their heads in agreement, smiled at Haughty, said nothing, and squeezed their bicycle horns repeatedly until Haughty stopped his manipulations.

As he settled back in his chair, obviously satisfied with the way things were progressing he said, “Now that we have established who is in control let’s move on to the next item.” The sounds of the Flarabell puppet horns again blasted forth in unison from the podium.

It was at that time that the Ole Seagull woke up with a start and realized, with a sigh of relief, that it was just a dream and that he wasn’t in Goodyville but in Branson, Missouri, America as it should be. Something like that surely couldn’t happen in Branson. Then the phone rang and the caller said, “Did you hear about what the Branson Board of Aldermen did to those who wanted to speak in opposition to the city’s annexation of a large chunk of land at the north edge of town at their meeting on Aug. 22?”

As the caller explained what had happened, the Ole Seagull thought, “What a strange way for the board of aldermen and the city government of Branson to show its prospective new citizens and businesses the type of respect, compassion, and cooperation they can expect if they vote to be annexed into Branson.” Why would anyone, except a masochist, vote to subject themselves to such treatment?

The truly sad thing, to an Ole Seagull, is that he personally believes that it broke the hearts of most of the aldermen and Mayor Lou that those wanting to speak were denied the opportunity to do so. But, what’s even sadder is that they sat there and let it happen.

About Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull

Editor of The Branson Courier
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