There is a Frenchman I know. He is a stalwart guy in every way that matters. Always willing to put his back into a project, he is loyal, reliable, and hardworking. I’ve seen him dripping sweat, covered in sawdust, rising early and retiring late in order to help another’s vision become reality. Sometimes that someone was me. I’ve also seen him up to his elbows, fishing some child’s favorite toy from a toilet…all without loosing his sense of humor or style.

He lost his finger to a saw years ago, a lesson that reminds him daily of the fragility of life, and the importance of being earnest in your work and in your relationships. The finger was taken from him, but France was not. He willingly left all that he had ever known, being a dairy farmer of some repute in his native Brittany, for a woman that captured his eye and his heart. It seems there isn’t anything my friend the Frenchman wouldn’t do for another— help, love, or protect I’ve seen him demonstrate them all.

The Frenchman has taught me many lessons, but mostly he has taught me dedication and selflessness. So it is for him that I painted this bench from Marie Antoinette’s village on the grounds of Versailles. Although he might be thousands of miles from his home, a sun drenched seat awaits his return eagerly.