“I don’t know what’s out there beyond those hills…”

As the sun comes up over the desert and sad western music slowly grows louder, an unlikely couple watch as oranges, yellows, reds and pinks light the sky with new beginnings. The old gruff man says to the young boy with a tired, yet optimistic voice, “Just remember…one man’s sunset is another man’s dawn. I don’t know what’s out there beyond those hills, but if you ride yonder, head up, eyes steady, heart open, I think one day you’ll find that you’re the hero you’ve been looking for.”

A dog-tired old dog, Wylie Burp, gives advice to lively mouse-disappearing act, Fievel Mousekewitz. A quirky, but heart warming sequel to the quintessential American cartoon-film, “An American Tail,” “Fievel Goes West” doesn’t let us down. Though, like recent “Hangover 2,” the sequel follows the exact formula of its mother-movie.

The American Tale movies helped to season my childhood. I remember, as a kid, trying to persuade my twin brother to sing Fievel and Tanya’s classic duet with me. Even now when I get homesick, or I miss someone, I think to myself, “even though I know how very far apart we are, it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star. And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby, it helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky.” As a little girl, I envisioned my twin as my duet other-half and as an adult I realize that he is not. Sometimes I feel that our relationship is as lost as Fievel was. In that song, Tanya sang out to her lost brother. It is Casey I think of when I hear that song. And I wonder what’s over those hills Wylie talks about…

As a side note: Spoken in 1991 by the buttery voice of James Stewart, I wonder if Wylie’s inspiring speech did not prompt the naming of my younger brother–Riley. “Riley” sounds quite similar to “Wylie.” 1991 is one year before his birth, and at 3 and a half, my twin brother and I would have been fastidiously watching “An American Tale: Fievel Goes West.” This means, my mother would have listened to the movie at least twice a day (as background noise) while doing her mom-things around the house. What mom would not stop and melt at an old dog and a young mouse, in front of a sunset, with that poetry going on? I’d name my kid Wylie! or Riley…whatever.

And there you go…an ode to my two brothers and to childhood cartoons!


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