"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend."
~ Unknown

Hi all,

I got the inspiration for this 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 enough time to write this all up.  Originally I intended to do it as just a "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 hope you enjoy Dyeland's very own award show: the JABBies.

God bless,

In 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)...

September 30th, 2007- Dyeland's Roseate Theatre

    Andrew surveyed those in the rows of 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 neat."

    "Someone tried to kiss Vincent," Catherine chimed in chirpily.

    "Catherine!"  Vincent cried, prompting giggles from the rest of the Dyelanders.

    "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?!" JenniAnn moaned.

    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.  http://www.onthisside.net/trophy229.htmlNevertheless, 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 an 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 used to 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 god-daughter, Psyche, 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 you."

    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.  She 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 this?" Henry whispered to Lady Beth.

    The woman shrugged.  "I feel terrible.  I don't remember anyone passing on."

    Andrew shook his head.  "They must be confused.  No 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 in the 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 ridiculous."

    "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," Vincent and Catherine said in unison and then gazed dreamily at each other, clearly remembering a concert in their secluded spot beneath Central Park.

    Those with a romantic bend paused to sigh dreamily before redirecting 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 silence. 

    Andrew nodded.  "I think we may have been misled about the intent of this."

    "I'm getting the idea this is more of a roast than an award show."  Adam glowered at the emcee.

    Adam didn't have a chance to say any more when he was 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 had clearly 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 reappearance.

    "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 Only Two Appearances" award.

    The emcee then solemnly announced that they were down to the final award.  Andrew squirmed.  Everyone else held in their breaths. 

    "And our final honoree, being presented the 'Most Spectacular Emotional 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 back. 

    "Now that is most assuredly rude," came Nigel's indignant voice.  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 friends."

    "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 expense.  Get 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 Serenity City.


    "I feel incredibly stupid," JenniAnn confessed as she sat sipping chai in Lady Beth's living room in Kindred Spirits.

    "You and me both," Andrew added.

    "Don't.  They're the ones that misrepresented themselves.  You shouldn't fault yourselves for wanting to see the good in others," Yva counseled.

    "Poor Andrew, they were especially mean to you," Rose murmured.

    "Especially truthful," he muttered.

    "No, none of that," Adam said sternly but with a comforting smile.  "That's all behind us now.  Isn't that right?"  Everyone nodded their heads solemnly.

    "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 us?" JenniAnn 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 some much-needed 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 'fun' in 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 deferred.  "But thank you."

    "You know, as bad as it was, I could have given an acceptance speech," 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 last autumn.  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 hope they'll take away from it?"

    Everyone thought for a moment with Andrew finding his words 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 echoing her sentiment. 

    A soft tapping noise interrupted them all and each turned to the front window.

    "A dove!" Countess Jennifer cried.

    They all quickly exited the room and moved into the yard.  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.)