Saturday, October 4, 2008

Francois deLay du Pompideau

Our compatriots on the road of life are frequently engaging characters with dark pasts and darker secrets. Only by trundling across the countryside in close proximity do we discover the delightful layers of the exotic personality. During my recent trip to France I acquired a comrade in arms, a riding partner, a wingman extraordinaire who made the journey more than just a memorable experience, but a true adventure across the centuries of time and the landscape of Champagne and Burgundy. He seemed a simple, happy fellow with a quick wit and ready smile. But there was so much more to him.Mysterious and brimming with enthusisasm, Francois de Lay du Pompideau comes from the ancient land of Bohemia, by way of New Paltz , New York, where his father was a Duke and his mother was a village girl who had a way with thoroughbreds. Aristocratic by nature, with a keen sense of human character, his unbridled approach to the joy of discovery in travel was a constant propellent of the ebullience we created on a regular basis. Whether it was wandering the streets of Troyes to in search of fine wine in the afternoon for late night revelry, or strolling the village of Les Ricey at dawn to take in the views of a simple country town, to swilling endless bottles of champagne together at Chateau Bligny and Champagne Drappier, to infectuously stoking the conversation at dinner over a bottle of Grand Cru in Beaune, or coming into his room and finding him laying in bed at Hotel le Cep looking out the open window with a burning cigarette and a glass of brandy, Francois de Lay du Pompideau was a lantern unto the darkness, and a pathfinder through the wilderness.
There are those who claim he changes his name from time to time, that his background is less aristocratic than racontuer. No matter....whether he be under the nom du guerre Kent St. John, or on his blog Be Our Guest (which can be found at, or whether he chooses to wander in anonymity through the streets of his next unknown, unsuspecting town, he will always be Francois de Lay du Pompideau to me, a man of character and mirth, a keen eye and a ready wit, a sharp pallette (that man knows his lapin), and a grand companion of the road, .... a true aristocrat of life in a land that knows no boundries. Good men like this are hard to find.....

1 comment:

Ed said...

You have captured the true essence of my very dear brother!(in-law)but nevertheless, my brother! You have a very eloquent way with words and you are "right on the money", as they say.....nice piece...I just found out about it....catching up on his whirlwind trips around the world.......Thanksgiving here in Maine can't wait!