I was commissioned to do this portrait of my second cousin, John Maatala, in the autumn of 2012, by his widow, Marja-Leena. I’ve just done some touch-ups on his ribbons and will soon be delivering it to Baxter, Minnesota. Since they lived much of the time out of the US, I had only met John once. I liked him very much. He was a generous, friendly man. He lent me his book on building saunas and someday I will put those directions to good use. Sadly, he died in 2011 at too young an age. I will not have the opportunity to get to know him better. Let us all cherish the opportunities we have of deepening our friendships with persons we’d like to know. Life is so uncertain.