Henry walked around Grizzly Hall with Rufus (not literally) on his tail as they made the last checks for what would be that day’s shows of the Country Bear Jamboree. He knew how it went.
Making sure everyone was in. Check.
Making sure everyone had their instruments. Check.
Making sure everyone knew their places. Check.
Checking the sturdiness of Teddi Barra’s swing. Check. (They couldn’t have her falling off and injuring audience members, after all. That’s not very magical.)
“Have you checked the spotlights?” Henry asked. “The projector?”
Rufus grunted and nodded.
“Good, good.” Henry said. “How about the sound? We checked the sound and the mics?”
Again, Rufus grunted in affirmation.
“Great. I think that’s everything.” Henry looked up from his clipboard. “You wanna head backstage?”
Rufus grunted and walked away from Henry.
Henry looked back down at the clipboard. Just to tick the sound and lights off his checklist. Sure, the show was something he did every day, but if he didn’t do the checklist, something would inevitably go wrong. Like maybe Wendell’s vacation slides would somehow find their way into the Sun Bonnets’ performance again. Or the wrong piano piece would end up in front of Gomer and he’s play it anyway because he’s not too bright. Or Big Al would get for real drunk instead of pretend drunk. Or either Max, Buff or Melvin’s mics could be on and they’d say something inappropriate in front of the kids and this was a family show, dagnabbit.
Henry went backstage and as he walked to his dressing room, he saw everyone else warming up and having fun with each other. Sure it was hard work sometimes doing the exact same thing every day. Day in, day out. For the past, almost, fifty years. But the Country Bears were a family. And Henry loved his family.
“Alright, bring it in!” Henry said.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and gathered around Henry.
“It’s been forty nine and a half years now. We’ve been doing this for so long. We can’t get complacent. So let’s get out there and make today the best day ever.” Henry said. “Because I believe in y’all.”
“I believe in ya too, Henry!” The little Wendell said enthusiastically.
Henry nodded and put his hand in front of him. Everyone put their hands on top of Henry’s-and each other’s. “Country Bears on three. One. Two. Three-“
“Country Bears!” Everyone cheered.
“Country Bears.” Al said sleepily.
“Come on.” Henry said. “Five Bear Rugs. Gomer. Time for us all to assume our places.” He grabbed his top hat. “Good luck y’all.”