Archive for Thursday, September 25, 2008

Niece’s spouse enriches entire family

September 25, 2008

"Bo Smith has altered the cinema landscape in Boston", writes Ty Burner in the Sept. 19 Boston Globe. He is leaving Boston to become executive director of the Denver Film Society.

His photograph comes to me via e-mail. It reveals the picture of a man satisfied with life. In the photograph he appears to be seated in an empty theatre, leaning forward, chin in hand, grinning. In his left hand he holds a brochure, "MFA Film Calendar."

His short-cropped, auburn hair, simple clothing, minimal jewelry reveal the character of a man who finds meaning in life from the inside-out. His life's work has evolved from a lifetime of deeply held opinions and values, both of which have been manifested in his work - the widely diverse selection of films and programs.

The Denver Film Society's news release tell the story of a man, age 59, who headed for over two decades the film/video section of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, funding and promoting over 750 films and concerts annually. He has more than a decade of teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design. Before that he was the director of film in St. Paul, Minn.

The Denver Film Society, where he will serve as executive director beginning Oct. 14 was established in l978, the year Bo Smith began his professional career. He launched that career from KU, in the 1970s. It was there he met my niece; and I met him for the first time.

My clearest recollection is him sitting in the living room, hunched over a jigsaw puzzle; an annual winter past time for my family. Because it was winter, the house poorly heated, he wore a little knit hat on his head; it was one he had knitted.

Over the years, at family gatherings, he often sat quietly, listening and knitting. It was only recently that the story of his knitting was revealed to me. It was a habit he picked up while caring for his ailing mother when he was a young boy.

I thought about him recently when a colleague and I were spinning down the highway. She remarked that her husband didn't have a sexist bone in his body and went on to remark that men raised by single mothers seldom do. Such men are generally comfortable with themselves and their place in the world.

Here is Bo Smith, knitter, film critic, successful man in a loving, committed marriage, father of two children, son of single mother, married to a professor of theater in an eastern college who is the daughter of a widowed mother of five children; whose grandmother and great grandmother passed on their Quaker beliefs and practices to anyone who reached out and took hold. Bo Smith took hold and my family is richly blessed.


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