'Lilies of the Field' taught Cynthia the 'measure of a man.'

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What Mr. Poitier Has Meant to My Life
Posted by Cynthia

I recall vividly, it had to be 1963, when my mother and her boyfriend were going to go to the movies and took me along! I was 8. There was some discussion of what to see, and I recall that I wanted to see It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World while they wanted to see something called Lilies of the Field. I was mad about that, but had to go anyway.

Wow! What I saw was spellbinding and opened my world so much—the protagonist was a good and simple man, the nuns with their strange accents, the unfamiliar southwestern environment, with the Hispanic store manager—I had never experienced anything like it…

Of course, I loved Mr. Poitier's other movies, too, especially Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and To Sir, with Love, but I was older then, and knew what to expect from Mr. Poitier—a strong and dignified performance. But it was Lilies of the Field that first touched my heart, and I believe, showed me the "measure of a man." My mother's boyfriend was that man—good and simple—and even after all these years, I loved him as a father, and recently attended his funeral in November 2006. My husband is that man—good and simple—and we have been married going on 24 years. What else can I say about Mr. Poitier's influence on my life?
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