Frances and John are wed

2 Jan

When I chose to move to Asheville, NC, I decided to buy a house in town. I would have preferred a rural setting, as is my custom, but I knew that I needed to live in the city for a while to meet other people. I also knew intuitively that I was going to meet someone who was already set up in the country, and that I would join him there when the time was right.

IMG_2093When I was working at The Compleat Naturalist, I opened the store one Saturday morning in July and proceeded to vacuum the floors for the first ten minutes or so, as there didn’t seem to be anyone around. Absorbed in my task, I glanced up and was startled to see my first customer had slipped into the store unnoticed. He was cute and he was smiling at me in such a way that I thought either he must find me very attractive… or he’s a goof.

After talking to him, I found that he was quite intelligent. He was a four-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker who was semi-retired from the PGA Golf Tour, where he had been the calligrapher for 17 years. He started telling me about the turkeys that frequented his Tennessee property – along with deer, bear and snakes – and I told him I loved a movie called, “My Life as a Turkey.” He said, “That film is based on the book, Illumination in the Flatwoods by Joe Hutto.” I was irrevocably impressed.

Then he proceeded to take out a pair of sexy reading glasses, sit on our store bench, and become engrossed in a book about orchids while I assisted other customers. It was all I could do not to stare at him. He was wearing some suspiciously camouflaged apparel – hat and shirt to be exact – and so I interviewed him as much as possible inside about 20 minutes to establish that he was not a hunter. Whew! Smart, attractive, sensitive, nature lover, a great conversationalist, sweet… all check marks. When he left, he said emphatically, “I’m going to come back and see you again!”

It took about three months, but John Philip Beaudet did come back. We started dating in November and by January a year ago, we knew we were destined to spend the rest of our lives together.

Our engagement photo taken at the Appalachian Trail Museum Banquet.

Our engagement photo taken at the Appalachian Trail Museum Banquet.

By Spring, John had started building an addition onto his cabin that would be for us to inhabit together. Originally we had planned to marry there after the house was completed, but in the past few months, we decided we would rather marry sooner, and not have the pressure of timing the house completion around a wedding.

We had made friends with a neighbor of mine here in Asheville who is a magistrate, and so it was determined that Perry would officiate. And we decided on the auspicious date of January 1, to start off the new year with a bang!  We wanted to make our commitment public and legal in the little store where we first met a year and half ago, on the spot where our mutual love of nature drew us together. The owners, Laura and Hal, were pleased to host our small ceremony.


On January 1, 2015, at 3 p.m.
at The Compleat Naturalist
in Asheville, North Carolina,
John Philip Beaudet and Frances Ruthe Figart
were joined in matrimony.

We're thankful to Hal and Laura Mahan, not only for letting us marry at the store, but for being our first supporters in our new relationship.

We’re thankful to Hal and Laura Mahan, not only for letting us marry at the store, but for being our first supporters in our new relationship.

The big surprise of the day was that John's brother Art, and his wife Erica, drove from Greensboro to be with us!

The big surprise of the day was that John’s brother Art, and his wife Erica, drove from Greensboro to be with us!

So John's brother Art was one witnesses, and Nina, my first friend here, who took these photos, was the other.

So John’s brother Art was one witness, and Nina, my first friend here, was the other.



“For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.”

~from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Marie Rilke


“A good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust… Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”

~from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Marie Rilke



You and I are old.
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

~from Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Magistrate Perry Dror, who officiated at the ceremony.

Magistrate Perry Dror, who officiated at the ceremony.


“Beyond the idea of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field.  I will meet you there.”



The house John is building us is an addition onto his existing cabin, which will more than double its size and space; even so, our house will still be quite small. We will use the original structure as our utility wing and guest quarters. There is also a smaller cabin on the property, built by John as well. We hope to have a party in the spring or summer to celebrate our union with all our friends and family. You can follow our home’s progress on the web site I manage for John, aka Bodacious.

Much encouraged re-creation of the vacuum scene.

Much encouraged re-creation of the vacuum scene.

Wedding photos by Nina Ellis Snoddy.

Engagement photo by Dan Innamorato.

Frances’ outfit by Ruthe Ballard Figart Sphar, the one and only. 


9 Responses to “Frances and John are wed”

  1. Loretta Melancon January 2, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    Frances and John, it has been a great pleasure to follow your friendship, engagement, and now marriage! I’ve always known that John deserved some very special woman in his life and glad you were expecting the same. Serendipity is one of my favorite experiences in life and I’m delighted it was that which brought you together. I’ve found when things are “meant to be”, serendipity takes over and the rest becomes history. Congratulations and may you enjoy many happy years enjoying nature together. Hope I’ll be able to join you on occasion!

  2. Cinda Norton January 2, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. So happy for you !

  3. t January 2, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

    we are so happy for you two. and the wardrobe credit just made me smile and tear up at the same time. am sure she and your dad are smiling on your happiness. bliss and love to you both. (the vacuum shots are great!)

  4. Jack Osman January 2, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

    Frances, Congratulations to you both! You look wonderful and I’m very happy for you and John! Jack Osman

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Elaine January 3, 2015 at 7:58 am #

    thank you for sharing. I love the words (the writing) and the sentiment behind the words. so rare. how blessed you both are to live this.

  6. Deanna Brashear Katko January 3, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    Congratulations, I knew that was a Ruthe Ballard Figart Sphar original the moment I saw it. Your parents are smiling down on both of you. So happy for you both. Sending you lots of love from the bluegrass state.

  7. Georgia Gantt January 3, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Yay, congratulations Frances! I just read your story and I got goose bumps. You and John make a handsome couple and I wish you much happiness!

    Georgia Gantt

  8. Lucian January 23, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Beaudet! What an EXTRAORDINARILY AFFIRMING tale of love, fate and happiness! Long may you both glow.

  9. Terry Warnick April 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    Hi Frances, Sorry to take so long to offer my congratulations. I am truly happy for you. I’m on my own journey here in the west. It’s going well. I’m content.

    Best wishes for a long and happy life together. Take care. Terry

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