Good Night you Princes of Maine! You Kings of New England…
They say that we should never forget our last drink. I remember the night, it was a Saturday night. I remember the drink. Rum and Coke of course. But I don’t remember how many drinks I plowed through that night.
I also don’t remember what happened after I drank all that liquor. What happened to me, who took me from the club, how did I get home, and equally worse, how did I get through two locked doors by myself if I was that inebriated?
I just don’t remember, and that not only happened once, it happened a second time. I was no longer enjoying the drink. I was caught up in it up to my eyeballs. The drink had me in its sights. But there was always the next day. That would be Sunday.
I had a drinking ritual that I always followed. I had a studio apartment and a huge tv that I had, a VCR and a few movies in my collection. My VCR has since died, the last time I fired up the old girl and tried to play this movie, let’s just say, the goose was cooked.
But at the time, during those last few nights of drinking at Salvation, there was no salvation for me. And I did not even think about my own redemption. For who can save the alcoholic from the death of the bottle?
They say God loves children, fools and alcoholics. Or something of that sort.
The Cider House Rules had become a tradition of sorts. I would get home somewhere around 2 or 3 am.
This movie holds a special place in my heart because it speaks of youth, love, death and hope. It is the story of Homer Wells. A young man born into an orphanage where he spends his life, after two failed adoptions gone bad.
Homer grows up to learn a great many things, for lack of a better phrase, he was educated on site to take kindly to the welfare of a woman’s choice or decision. And to help women who are stuck between a rock and a hard place, when it comes to children and having more of them, in a time when it did not bode well for children or multiples of them.
After seeing enough he decides to step out on his own and finds himself on an orchard picking apples with a Mr. Rose and his groupies who travel season to season picking fruit around the U.S.
Homer has a love hate relationship with Dr. Larch, who hatches a plan for Homer, who at one point seems to be more concerned with the orchard than the orphanage. He saves a young girl, he falls in love, he falls out of love.
It is a sad truth that at the end, us drinkers find it hard to be alone. A theme that is present in the film as well.
With the death of Dr. Larch, Homer is notified of his death and in the end returns to the orphanage to do what he should do. He returns to a life that was built solely for him by the late Dr. Larch.
I love the feeling of this movie – the story and the characters. The last scene of the movie is what kills me every time…
Homer begins David Copperfield.
“Thus I began my new life, in a new name, and with everything new about me … I felt … like one in a dream… The remembrance of that life is fraught with so much … want of hope … Whether it lasted for a year or more, or less, I do not know. I only know that it was, and ceased to be; and … there I leave it.”
Curly asks: What happens next?
And goes on: That’s tomorrow, Curly. Let’s not give the story away.
Homer puts out the lights and leaves the boys in the familiar semi-darkness. Seconds, later, the closed door to the hall is flung open, flooding the room with light from the hall, and Homer, dressed in his long white laboratory coat and looking every inch the doctor, delivers his best imitation of Larch’s popular blessing.
HOMER: Good night, you Princes of Maine! You Kings of New England!
I was so lonely and probably at the lowest point I was ever in my life. I was alone. And I have said it before that had I dropped off the face of the earth, nobody would have missed me nor come looking for me.
I held on to that blessing for all these years. If the movie plays I have to watch it through to its conclusion…
Good night, you Princes of Maine! You Kings of New England.
I hoped and hoped that one day someone would say a prayer for me.
That passage is very prophetic, now that I have listened to it spoken again. It speaks to my heart. I was so lacking in hope, and God brought me that hope and brought me here. It is all very providential.
The one true memory of the last night I took a drink is engrained in my heart, and I will never forget it. For as much as I could remember because I followed the same ritual.