I seem to be happening upon favorite movies lately, and it happened again on Wednesday night. Clicking aimlessly through channels on a night when even PBS had nothing of interest for me, on a night I just needed to escape with some television, there it was. Ulee’s Gold.
Earlier in the day, I made a special trip to the Elmhurst Farmers Market to replenish my honey pot. Whenever I can, I try to buy local honey, for all the reasons one should; supporting small, independent businesses, keeping the carbon footprint to a minimum, taste, and the fact that local honey really does help me come allergy season. Knowing a vendor who is usually at the market, I headed out for 16 ounces of local gold.
The beekeeper and I chatted, he reminding me to return the jar for reuse, me assuring him I would as a young lad stood nearby, sipping a honey straw as if it were the last drop of sweetness he would ever have.
The honey will last me for quite some time. I will return the jar in the fall and buy another for sweetening my tea over the long winter months, but, I digress.
Ulee’s Gold is about a reclusive beekeeper; a Vietnam veteran who still mourns his wife’s passing. As Ulee tends his hives, he finds himself suddenly tending his granddaughters and then their mother, his daughter-in-law, who is strung out on drugs. His son is in jail, and so the story unfolds, slowly, as we follow Ulee, played by Peter Fonda, and watch as he harvests his honey, Tupelo gold. The story is also about family responsibility and how Ulee slowly emerges from his solitary life as he helps and later protects his family as they heal. It is a movie that runs slow, like the golden honey that flows from the tupelo trees, and its cast, led by Peter Fonda, excels.
It was the hunt for honey in the morning and the discovery of Ulee’s Gold in the evening that had me a-buzz, for the movie ended my long day on such a thoughtful note, as the credits rolled and Van Morrison sang Tupelo Honey.