"Don't walk in front of me, I may
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend."
I got the inspiration for
issue while watching the Emmy Awards a
couple weeks ago and then chasing it with a viewing of the film "Galaxy
Quest." I wanted to send this then but Andrew's
birthday issue was already planned. Plus, there wasn't really
time to write this all up. Originally I intended to do it as just
"highlights" thing like the Trialies in JABB 192.
But since it's
not like we have anything new to talk or joke about, I decided to fully
commit to the idea and write a story. Course, I intended to write
a completely comical one but this is kinda a mish-mash. Several
months ago I'd determined to write a JABB that involved bullying since
myself and at least one other JABBer had experienced some level of
Internet bullying at the time. But then, you know, got busy and
never got around to it. But some of that ended up surfacing
here. And some other things that have come up on the YG seemed to
find their voice here, too. So, basically, just thanks to the
JABB YG! Despite these rather random sources of inspiration, I
Dyeland's very own award show: the JABBies.
the seven and a half years since
its founding, word of the adventures in
Dyeland have spread through out many other worlds in other
dimensions. At first, the people of Dyeland were astounded and,
truth be told, a bit freaked out by strangers reading about them.
However, they quickly made peace with the arrangement. Yet,
no one was prepared for the day when a joint committee from these other
dimensions met with Andrew and Lady JenniAnn and informed them they
wished to commemorate this most entertaining of worlds with its very
own award show: The JABBies. Not wanting to alienate potential
friends, Andrew and Lady JenniAnn agreed. And so it was our
heroes, heroines, eccentrics, and enigmas ended up walking the green
carpet (red was sold out)...
30th, 2007- Dyeland's
those in the rows
seats around him. Lady Beth, Countess Jennifer, Rose, Henry,
Adam, Vincent, Catherine, Nigel, Yva, and JenniAnn. Assorted
friends and family members sat with them, most looking wildly
over-stimulated. Andrew had to admit the staging was a little
gaudy. He was fairly sure that the wire and Christmas light
sculpture on-stage was supposed to be a drool bucket but he wasn't
sure. The occasional non-Dyelander wandered up and gawked at them
as they tried, politely, to not notice.
"Bloody heck, this is like being stuck in 'Galaxy
Quest' cept in
reverse. They're treating our 'historical documents' like
entertainment. I'm not sure this was a good idea," Lady JenniAnn
whispered from behind Andrew.
Andrew sighed. May be it wasn't but they
couldn't stop this all
now. "I'm sure it will be fine. We'll all go up, get our...
umm, gold-plated... is that a coffee cup? and say a few words and soon
it'll be over."
"Yes, it's a coffee cup. I guess they read
about our frequent
visits to Monica's Cafe and thought it would be fitting," Adam
explained. "Look at the bright side. At least no one was
outside asking about who designed our clothes and did our hair.
The Father and the Father, by the way."
Yva laughed. Leave it to Adam to break the
tension with a
joke. "Someone asked me for an autograph. That was kind of
"Someone tried to kiss Vincent," Catherine chimed in
"Catherine!" Vincent cried, prompting giggles
from the rest of
"I'm just telling what happened," Catherine
responded with a demure
smile before laughing herself.
"Fantastic. We're all going to get humiliated
and Vincent's going
to get harassed. Oh... what was I thinking allowing this?!"
Andrew saw Eliot, the fellow from the Tunnels,
whisper something that
seemed to calm the lady down a little.
"I can fend for myself, Psyche," Vincent
consoled. "I hardly
think these people would arrange this only to embarrass us."
"I don't know... They seemed nice but you
never know..." JenniAnn
continued to fret.
"We'll just get through this and then we can go back
to my place to
relax with some cookies and tea," Lady Beth suggested.
Everyone nodded, very amenable to the
idea, and then looked up to the
stage as music started. They listened in horror to a very
ill-done rewrite of Springsteen's "Born to Run" rendered as "Born to
Drool." Somewhere they knew the Boss had to be weeping.
Henry was happily playing air-drum on the back of
Andrew's seat while Andrew cringed and pretended to be very interested
in his own sleeve. Adam, seated beside Andrew, was shaking with
laughter he was trying not to let out in respect for his friend.
JenniAnn's face was buried in Eliot's shoulder and Yva's in
Nigel's. Catherine was laughing at Vincent who seemed to be
trying to use his hair to hide the fact that he was laughing
also. Rose, looking a little shocked, was asking Lady Beth and
Countess Jennifer if this happened every year in Dyeland to which they
both vigorously shook their heads. Mercifully, the song came to
end and the emcee bowed to thunderous applause from his compatriots.
And the awards started. Countess Jennifer was
called up first to
accept the award for "Best Dispenser of Sage Veterinary Advice."
Rather dazed, she hurriedly thanked "the animals and also the cast of
Spamalot." Catherine was the next to hear her name called, this
time for "Most Beautiful Bride (Finally)." Being the honoree most
speaking in front of large group, Catherine choice to ignore the snide
element of her title and gave a touching speech honoring
her "beautiful, sensitive, amazing husband who saved not only my life
but my heart and my soul. I love you forever and with all I am
and ever will be." Vincent nodded gratefully to Lady Beth
who quickly sent a packet of Kleenex down the aisle. No sooner
had he hugged and spoken a few quiet words to his wife than Vincent was
called up to accept the "Related to the Most Other Dyelanders"
award. Thereupon he
thanked "my father, Jacob, my wife, Catherine, my cousin and
my sister, Yva, my brother, Nigel, and all my friends in Dyeland.
As an infant I was abandoned and so I consider myself very blessed to
now find myself accepting an award for 'Most Related. Thank
The emcee kept things moving right along, next
presenting Yva with the
"Best One-Person Tourist Board" award for having brought everyone from
a 19th century angel to a Southern police officer to a whimsical
candy maker and several pets and other individuals to Dyeland.
then, quite appropriately, thanked Nigel, Enos, Willy Wonka, Sir Toby,
Lady Sarah, Sir Sven, Hannibal, and Miss Ellie. Following her
speech, Lady Beth accepted the award for "Best Cooking and Baking
Instructor" in honor of her work with certain culinarily-challenged
AODs. At that point the Dyelander set all sat anxiously as the
emcee announced it was the time in the show to honor those who had been
lost the previous year.
"Did we lose anybody? How do I not remember
whispered to Lady Beth.
The woman shrugged. "I feel terrible. I
anyone passing on."
Andrew shook his head. "They must be
one..." He was interrupted by the opening strains of Samuel
Barber's "Adagio for Strings." The Dyelanders looked on in
awkward silence as the words "The Narrator" looped repeatedly.
"There was a Narrator?" Rose whispered, four minutes
into the tribute.
"Yes, JenniAnn used to hire him to tell the stories
newsletters," Yva explained.
"How did the poor fellow pass away?" Nigel asked.
JenniAnn sighed. "He so did NOT! He left
us to go narrate
for some Trekkie group or something. Apparently it was more
lucrative and allowed him to practice his Klingon. This is sooo
"This is a great recording, though," Andrew offered,
trying to find a
positive. "Anyone know who this is?"
"Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic,"
Catherine said in unison and then gazed dreamily at each other, clearly
remembering a concert in their secluded spot beneath
Those with a romantic bend paused to sigh dreamily
their attention to the repetitive tribute. Finally, it ended and
the emcee announced it was time to award the rest of the JABBies.
Nigel blushed and made his way to the stage to
accept the award for
"Most Victorian." At a loss for how to accept such a strange
honor, he nonetheless was able to graciously thank his Yva and the rest
of the community of Dyeland. Lady JenniAnn was next up to rather
annoyedly accept the "Congratulations, You Finally are Interested in
Someone Who is Not an AOD" JABBy. She mumbled a quick thanks and
then quickly left the stage and returned to her seat.
"That was more than a little rude," Eliot said,
finally breaking his
Andrew nodded. "I think we may have been
misled about the intent
"I'm getting the idea this is more of a roast than
show." Adam glowered at the emcee.
Adam didn't have a chance to say any more when he
called up next and honored as the "Most Turkey-Friendly." A nice
enough award but something about the way the emcee said the word
"sensitive" in his introduction didn't sit quite right. The mood
changed. Nonetheless, Adam thanked Alexander and his fellow
turkeys. In an
attempt to cheer his increasingly discontent friends, he sang a few
bars of "The Wind
Beneath My Wings." His classy and moving performance put to rest
any lingering musical damage leftover from "Born to Drool." Rose
then proved victorious in the nonsensical "Best Character Named After a
Flower" category. She rose above the strange award and gave a
moving speech thanking her friends for first welcoming her and then
continuing to help her cope with the fall-out of her prodigal father's
"That was beautiful, Rose." Andrew hugged her
when she returned.
"It was. These acceptance speeches are the
only thing making this
shindig worthwhile," Henry opined with a smirk.
Everyone nodded in agreement with Henry and then
braced themselves for
the next award. It went to Henry himself who, like JenniAnn,
could manage only a quick thank you. His brevity was owed to some
indignation over being the awarded the "Good Job on Not Bailing After
The emcee then solemnly announced that they were
down to the final
award. Andrew squirmed. Everyone else held in their
"And our final honoree, being presented the 'Most
Breakdown JABBy' is... Andrew for devolving into an emotional mess last
November and alienated pretty much everyone in the first two
rows!" There was no mistaking the gleefully cruel tone in the
emcee's voice then.
JenniAnn shrieked. Vincent bolted up and
seemed ready to charge,
Catherine's grasp on his right arm seemingly the only thing holding him
"Now that is most assuredly rude," came Nigel's
His anger was apparent in his reddened face which grew still more red
when he saw Yva's stricken look.
Lady Beth clenched her fists, Rose's eyes filled
with tears, Henry put
his hand on Andrew's shoulder, and Countess Jennifer shook her head and
shot a withering look at the emcee.
Andrew stared at nothing in particular but looked as
if he wanted to
disappear. Everyone was so shocked and horrified that they failed
to notice that one of them had left the group.
Adam made his way to the center of the stage and yanked the microphone
out of the smug emcee's hand. He clenched the head of the
microphone so only the emcee could hear. "You came here under
false pretenses. I will not let you remain here to mock my
"Lighten up, angel. It's about time someone
had a little fun with
your overly-emotional, kum-ba-yah, 'we all love each other' crowd
there," the emcee shot back.
"We have fun, sir, just not at someone else's
out. Now!" Adam bellowed the last word
loud enough to be heard through out the auditorium. He surveyed
the crowd, all the while with his blue-gray eyes flashing
angrily. Not even a falling chandelier could have succeeded in
emptying the theatre as quickly.
"Now, let's go to Lady Beth's for cookies and tea as
she so generously
offered." Adam smiled sympathetically at the devastated group and
then led them all out of the Roseate and onto the walk and boat ride to
confessed as she sat sipping chai in Lady Beth's living room in Kindred
"You and me both," Andrew added.
"Don't. They're the ones that misrepresented
You shouldn't fault yourselves for wanting to see the good in others,"
"Poor Andrew, they were especially mean to you,"
"Especially truthful," he muttered.
"No, none of that," Adam said sternly but with a
smile. "That's all behind us
now. Isn't that right?" Everyone nodded their heads
"I just don't understand why they'd be so
cruel." Lady Beth shook
her head as she stared into her teacup.
"May be they envy all of you and the sense of
community you have here,"
Eliot suggested. "I mean I've only been here a few brief times
and even I can see it. Not many people have that or at least far
fewer than should."
"He's probably right," Henry agreed.
Countess Jennifer shrugged. "It's no excuse."
"No," Nigel agreed, "but it is to be pitied."
"Do you think there are other people that know about
asked with a note of trepidation in her voice.
"Perhaps," Vincent answered. "However, I am
sure there are some
that are touched by what they hear."
"May be some hear or read about our antics and get
laughs," Adam suggested.
"And our hard times?" JenniAnn continued.
"We've made it through them all, haven't we?
May be that gives
them hope." Yva smiled at the thought.
"Besides even then we have our ways of putting the
dysfunction," Henry joked. The group laughed.
"I think some time we really should have our own
award show. One
that *we* put together. Adam definitely deserves an award for
standing up to those creeps," Lady Beth suggested. Everyone spoke
up in agreement and beamed at Adam.
"It was nothing. They had it coming," he
"You know, as bad as it was, I could have given an
Andrew said after
a few moments of silence.
"What would you have said, Andrew?" Catherine asked.
"I think I would have said that, yes, I struggled
Yes, I made some bad choices. But may be it was only in almost
losing all of this," he gestured around the room, "that I realized how
many blessings there are here. I realized how really wonderful
everyone is. The best of what it means to be human and what it
means to be an angel is represented right here. Dedication,
faith, hope, creativity, friendship, compassion and most of all love...
they're all right here. I knew it before but after last year...
I'll never forget it."
While only some had tears in their eyes, it was
clear everyone in the
room was moved by Andrew's speech. Everyone took turns hugging
him and then again settled in comfortably.
"If others are reading about us," Yva mused, "what
one thing do you
take away from it?"
Everyone thought for a moment with Andrew finding
first. "That we love each other, that God loves us, and that God
loves them. How about that?"
"I like that a lot," Rose responded with the others
A soft tapping noise interrupted them all and each
turned to the front
"A dove!" Countess Jennifer cried.
They all quickly exited the room and moved into the
Entranced, they watched as the dove circled their little group and
disappeared into the stars.
"Whatever else happens and whomever else finds out
about us... I know
there's Someone who does watch over us and smiles at us and for
us." Andrew smiled at the friendly faces surrounding him.
Despite what just might have been the single worst awards show ever, he
knew this night would be remembered by all as a very special one.
(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by
an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon
Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)