At ease soldiers and say hello to Aundrea. Tonight's Toil Girl happens to be one of America's true, blue finest and her tour of duty involves putting a smile on the face of every man, woman and child that comes upon her patriotic portrait.
Aundrea always knew what she wanted the theme of her portrait to be: something for her loving husband Jimmy on their tenth wedding anniversary. She wanted the art to be somewhat of a commemoration of the seemingly insurmountable odds he had to face and overcome as a soldier. But mainly the present was to commemorate Aundrea's love for him.
Jimmy has been an Army Scout for sixteen years and has done three tours in Iraq. The last tour began in January of 2005 but got cut short by an IED (roadside bomb). His driver was killed and the gunner was wounded but not near as badly as my husband. He spent four months in the hospital and ended up with nineteen surgeries on his left leg but fortunately the Army was able to save it. During his convelescence, Jimmy kept telling the doctors and nurses he would be back home in the states to see his Angel for our ninth anniversary at least by his birthday in August. He kept his word.
My husband was told that it would take him two years to be walking with a cane. It took his less than a year. So for our tenth anniversary I had Mr. Toil do a portrait for my wonderful wounded husband.
I'm proud as punch to report that the art was a hit with our brave soldier AND with our all-American Angel. After she had it framed, Aundrea's husband hung it on their wall facing the bed so he could see his Angel every morning (er...in addition to seeing the lovely real one by his side). Jimmy was medically retired in August of 2006 and when the military sent movers to pack them for their move to their newly-built home, he made sure no one was to touch the portrait.
Can't remember the last time my art was in safer hands, folks.
To Aundrea's doting husband Jimmy, thanks for inspiring such a great theme that I know will draw a nice crowd in the gallery. And to Aundrea, thanks for dolling up the joint with your airborne beauty and for making me a part of a truly special celebration.