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One of the many songs I took great pleasure in lustily singing during my childhood and young adulthood was called The Happy Wanderer.  When I headed out for a day in nature, I sang this song. I taught it to my children when they were growing up so that we could all sing it together when we went for a hike. It would provide some momentum for them to keep going.  Plus, if they were singing, they couldn’t complain.   Guess who sang the loudest?

OK,  I admit it’s just a step beyond Patti Page’s insipid How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

No, I never ever went around singing Patti Page songs.

I haven’t thought of The Happy Wanderer for years. It’s never appears on any Best of the Oldies Goldies lists.  What brought it to mind, was the pleasure I’m taking from being out of doors on the quiet and beautiful Noto Penninsula of Japan.


Here are the abbreviated lyrics.  I particularly loved the ha ha ha ha, and could come close to tears at the poignancy of the final stanza.

“The Happy Wanderer”
I love to go a wandering 
Along the mountain track
And as I go
I love to sing
My knapsack on my back

Val-deri, val-dera
Val-deri, val-dera
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
My knapsack on my back

I wave my hat to all I meet
And They wave back to me
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev’ry green wood tree

Val-deri, val-dera ,etc.

Val-deri, val-dera, etc.

Come join my happy song

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die
Oh, may I always laugh and sing
Beneath God’s clear blue sky.

Repeat chorus.

Laugh if you will, but I hope my post suggests there’s still time for another happy song.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.


Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.

One Comment

  • April Walstad says:

    Hi, Dianne,

    I used to sing that all the time. I’ll probably start again.

    I also sang Patti Page, including: “How much is that Doggie in the Window!”

    Thanks for the memory!

    Xox. April