run with us

I remembered this song from what I knew was an important episode. I cheated and looked it up on YouTube, and man, that episode was probably the saddest moment in 1980s animation.

Back in the late 1980s and, I think, a good bit into the early ’90s, the Disney Channel was a premium network on cable. Back then, I was one of the few people in my peer group that not only had cable but also the Disney Channel. (My mom eventually canceled it, so I went without it sometime around when Britney Spears A LOT of other now very famous people were on the final seasons of The Mickey Mouse Club in 1993/4.)

Apparently, it was complete rarity to have cable back then because I went to college and people who grew up in Northern Virginia also didn’t really have the Disney Channel. So, I spent a lot of my life not running into anyone who remembered the cartoon The Raccoons. It was too the point that I thought I was as crazy as Mandy, who for the longest time was the only person who remembered the show Small Wonder.

Over the years, I’ve forgotten a lot about what The Raccoons was about, but what stuck with me was the music. It wasn’t hokey cartoon music. They created real songs, kinda like how there’s a whole entire Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers theme song. That honestly is one of my favorite songs because of the sax solo.

Wait for it …

Anyway, the closing theme for The Raccoons stuck in my head despite only about 1:24 of it playing at the most as the credits rolled. When the internet became ubiquitous, I spent entirely too much time trying to prove that the cartoon about raccoons attempting to save the Evergreen Forest from a greedy, capitalist aardvark existed. And trying to hear Run with Us again. Eventually, several low-quality full versions showed up on YouTube, along with the music video edit.

When darkness falls, leaving shadows in the night,
Don’t be afraid.
Wipe that fear from your eyes.

Then I discovered that there was an out-of-print album by Lisa Lougheed with the song and others from the cartoon. at the time, I 1) did not have a record player and 2) I was too broke post-college to buy both a record player and an out-of-print album.

And then it was reissued recently. And I bought it.

The desperate love
Keeps on driving you wrong,
Don’t be afraid,
You’re not alone
You can run with us; everything you need
Run with us; we are free
C-c-c-come with us; I see passion in your eyes
Run with us

When I first the two tracks after the theme song, I instantly remembered them. And I had forgotten how much I liked Stop the Clock.

That chorus hit me right in the feels on Monday.

My memories begin in 1986, and a lot of the things I retained were songs. I think it’s why I love ’80s music so much. It takes me back to when I was little and my mom’s house was a hub of activity. It was still Grandma’s house then. As she was the matriarch, it was home base for everyone. Cousins came and went, meals were made, boomboxes blasted, parties were thrown. Even to this day, my mom’s house is where everyone feels welcome. The front door is open during daylight hours and the porch light stays on all night. (There was an era when keeping it on meant it was OK to ring the doorbell and not to dissuade you from breaking in.)

How everything ’80s makes me feel is why, I’m already thinking about what to do with that house. At the very least, I must renovate it and rent it out so it fills a new family with joy the way it did for the descendants of William and Armentress Terry. Hopefully, some kid in the late 2030s will have a youth full of excitement and song there and think back fondly to it in 2070.

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