I must admit, it’s a toss up. Though they are alike in many ways, they are oh, so different in others. Both take place around the same era, and both revolve around a similar setting. Life was simple, but still had trials and struggles. Life here, as we know it, could also be simple but we either don’t allow it to or we compromise it by our own accord. I sometimes think and wonder which decade would have been the best to grow up in. There is no way to go back in time, at least while we are here on this Earth, but the images regarding what I have been comparing are so alluring and intriguing that I can’t stop watching them and thinking about them.
I know they have been mentioned in my recent writings, but I am so captivated, I can’t let them go. Should I blame my obsession on Stacey, for she ordered them for me? Thankful, I think, is a more descriptive term of what should be considered than blame, because I can’t recall a more enjoyable experience in quite some time. Of course, I am referring to the movies Rascal and Those Calloways.
Though the small towns of Edgerton, Wisconsin and Swiftwater, Vermont are hundreds of miles apart, you could hardly differentiate the two based on the landscape, the terrain, and the people. These two villages, where the movies are based upon, exemplify the marrow of rural America and what it was like to grow up in those times. The rolling hills, the swift streams abounding in trout and pickerel, and the fall foliage colors, depicted in the height of their fury, are just a few examples that may stir your gray matter to ponder what it was like back then.
Whether Sterling and Rascal are wading across clear streams using stepping stones for navigation, or Cam and his 16-year-old son, Bucky, are setting their trapline in a similar setting, the vision you may imagine is very similar. My description on paper is pale in comparison to what the movies reveal, and I can only imagine being there in person to absorb the scene in its entirety. I suppose you must see the movies to fully grasp the beauty and capture what is offered through the lens of the camera and the message of the plot.
Sterling and his new-found friend will, and should, enter your soul. The compassion by the Calloways to create something not just for generations to come, but for the immediate benefit for the Canada Goose, is a noble gesture indeed. It is hard to conceive that we, human beings, are even capable of this. Through these narratives, I could see myself in both worlds. The love a boy has, and shows, for a “wild” companion probably was and is very rare. Living a freestyle life with no one to answer to but a dad and a sister, left a lot of time to roam the fields and streams in an unchaotic mindset. Naps under a giant pecan and sipping root beer with your two best friends, albeit they were canine and racoon, must have been so therapeutic that nothing else in the world could have mattered.
Conversely, though in a very similar environment, “those Calloways” also led a lifestyle, freely. However, they were under duress because of pressure from those hoping to capitalize on their passion to benefit nature for the sake of doing something to give back and not take. This family took from nature but only as a mean to survive and give back in the form of a sanctuary for waterfowl. In today’s world, Disney would never dream of showing a trapline, hunting geese, or killing a wolverine in self-defense. I am so glad these outdoor adventures through media have been not only produced, but kept alive, for the benefit of young boys and girls, and families like I grew up in.
These outdoor episodes had a huge impact on my life, and still do for that matter. I am quite certain these media experiences invited me, as a young boy, to paddle my johnboat down creeks and streams where I learned to trap, hunt wood ducks, and watch the otter, beaver, and other creatures in their natural state. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in the world. Without hesitation I could see myself trapping the Jackpine as Bucky did. I can imagine dad and I having an ermine shawl made for mom with her tearfully embracing the only Christmas gift she would get until the next year. The friends that would do anything for you to help at any time is something earned by mutual respect and is a gift that could never be purchased.
I can envision my bed filled with my dog, and a racoon, as Sterling did. The companionship of the four-legged kind is something that you must experience, and not just share verbally. Trust is unwavering as Sterling took care of Wowser and Rascal, and as Bucky took care of Sounder. Of course, the gesture is reciprocated as Sounder fought off a wolverine to save Bucky and Rascal comforted Sterling from being alone. What an example this is of a true relationship.
Though Rascal is a comedy, I tear up each time I watch it. Of course, for most of the movie, it is pure hysteria. I shouldn’t, and won’t, spoil it for you but there must be some analogy I make with my lost yorkie, Chloe, and compare her to the furry raccoon. Don’t worry, for Rascal is alive and well at the end of the movie but this is a must see. I have had the movie for only two weeks and have watched it uninterrupted, three times.
Those Calloways are a little more serious, though also very comical at times. The plot thickens as the movie progresses. As stated, I could be Bucky. The clothes the characters wear, are so inviting that I have been searching for the exact same flannel shirts, the lace-up boots, and those iconic jackets worn by sportsmen back in the day. They are hard to find but I know of a local clothier that carries something very similar and will do just fine. I can’t wait to get paid Friday.
I encourage you to acquire these movies and settle in on these dreary winter nights for a full evening of family entertainment. Make some popcorn balls and pour some real apple cider. The experience will be complete with a soft blanket and a glowing fire. By the way, have a couple of tissues close by, for if the experience of beautiful woods, rolling fields, bountiful wildlife, and endearing animals that are your best friends affect you as they do me, you’ll need them. In fact, I think I will start them over again now.
Now, I just have to decide which one to watch first. Oh well, either one will be fine. Until next time enjoy our woods and waters and remember, let’s leave it better than we found it.