“Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car,
in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.”
 ~Dave Barry

Hi all,

Things have been a lil crazy of late.  In order to hit all the holidays important to us, newsletters have had to come out at about 10 day intervals instead of the usual 14.  Thankfully, after this month that'll end.  But in the meantime I've found my own schedule swamped so I've been trying to devise ways to save time.  Cause sitting at a computer and trying to think of three more items for a top ten isn't really productive!  So this idea came to me.  Every so often, as filler material, I'm going to write a "Moment with Andrew" story.  These will be short stories, usually not tied to any particular time, about adventures and misadventures our beloved AOD might find himself experiencing.  Some will involve Dyeland, some won't.  Some will be funny, some will be serious, and some will be both.  I hope you enjoy the first one!

God bless,

And now for a moment with Andrew...

Andrew's New Car

Andrew waved at Tess as she drove away after dropping him off in the middle of the Arizona desert.  Had there been any casual observers, they might have thought that the poor man had been ditched and left to wander the desert aimlessly.  However, Andrew knew that if he just walked for a little while he'd arrive where he needed to be: Ralph's Auto Shop.  Andrew smiled to himself as he thought back on his memories of the angel Ralph.  As the Angel of Travel and Transport, Ralph had seen to it through the years that Andrew had the proper chariot, covered wagon, buggy, and, eventually, car.  For some time Andrew had been driving a navy blue Sedan but, alas, after fifteen years the Sedan had drove its last mile.  So there Andrew was, anxiously awaiting his new car.

Andrew was by no means vain nor a slave to trends.  And he had certainly never been as attached to a car as Tess had been to her caddy.  That fondness was now mirrored in Monica's affection for the car.  Nonetheless, Andrew was excited.  He could just imagine himself cruising down highways.  His hair blowing in the wind as the black convertible sped past tumbleweeds and haystacks...  His black leather jacket would perfectly complete the image.  Or maybe a red car would be good.  There was a certain nostalgia factor to that idea.  Andrew couldn't forget all the special times he had shared with Monica and Tess in that Cadillac.  Yes, red would be ideal.  Andrew chuckled to himself.  He knew he was being silly and even a little frivolous.  Whatever the Father had chosen for him would be appreciated and just what he needed. 

"Andrew!  Hullo!" a voice called.

Andrew could just make out the form of a building and a person in front of it, waving their arms.  He quickened his pace and soon reached the shop.

"Ralph, great to see you!" the angel of death greeted, shaking Ralph's hand despite the grease that covered his fingers.

Ralph grinned.  "Great to see me or great to be getting a new car?"

Andrew chuckled.  "Both but mostly getting to see you.  How've you been?"

"Busy.  We're trying to switch many of the cars over to hybrids.  Although yours... well, there's more than one way to be 'green.'"  Ralph laughed again.

Andrew raised an eye brow.  Something about Ralph's laugh gave him pause...

"So how have you been?  Still an angel of death, right?"

Andrew nodded.  "Yes.  I do some caseworking sometimes, too.  A couple weeks ago I was
even a mechanic," he reported proudly.

It was Ralph's turn to raise an eye brow.  "Really?"

"Well, yeah!  Why?  Don't you think I know my way around under the hood of a car?" 

"I seem to remember Tess questioning that," Ralph answered, laughing.

Andrew laughed, too.  "Well, I got the caddy working... eventually.  Besides, I've learned a lot in twelve years."

"Okay, okay.  I believe you.  I know I'll be handing your car over to good hands.  You ready to see it?"

Andrew nodded eagerly and followed Ralph into the garage.  There were 8 vehicles in total and Andrew's gaze fell on them all, wondering which was his...

"So what do you think, Andrew?"

Andrew turned to see Ralph gesturing to a... a mini-van!?!?  A forest green mini-van to be exact.  Andrew shuffled over to where the mechanic angel stood.  "It's uh... it's... are you sure there hasn't been some mistake?"

"Well, no.  The Father clearly said you get the mini-van.  Why?"  Ralph looked at his old friend curiously.

"It's just... I mean I don't even work with Monica and Tess any more.  Doesn't a mini-van seem a little... big for just me?"  Andrew opened the van's door and poked his head in, half expecting to see a child's safety seat and soccer gear in the back. 

Ralph shrugged.  "The thought did cross my mind but I figured maybe you had a lot of assignments with groups of people."

"I suppose I do sometimes.  But I always have and... I've never had a mini-van before.  It just seems like... I don't know.  Aren't mini-vans for people with families?"  Andrew continued to stare at the green monstrosity, shocked.  He noticed Ralph's disappointment then and immediately changed his tune.  "It is a pretty color."  He didn't point out that "pretty" wasn't exactly his preferred descriptor for a car.

"There's a 5 CD changer," Ralph noted.

"That's really great.  Wow.  I could probably go without changing CDs at all during an assignment.  I like the fabric on the seats. Oh, hey, cup holders!"  Andrew pumped his fist into the air.  He knew he was being ridiculous and he knew Ralph could see through his charade.

"I'm sorry it's not what you had in mind.  But maybe in time you'll come to like it.  Think of all the leg room."  Ralph got in and stretched out, closing his eyes.  He laughed again.  "This is a really uncool car," he finally admitted.

Andrew couldn't help from laughing as he got into the driver's seat.  "Maybe I'm just not as cool as I'd like to think I am."  He grinned at Ralph.  "I really do appreciate this.  And you're right.  In time I'll come to like it.  I'm sure I will."

Ralph clapped Andrew on the shoulder.  "You're a good sport, Andrew.  Well, I have another appointment in 10 minutes so I need to get busy.  But here are your keys and... enjoy."  Ralph winked as he dropped the keys into Andrew's hand.

Andrew stared at them.  They were on a simple silver ring.  At least he could choose a masculine key chain at a later date... 

With a start Andrew remembered that he'd promised to meet some of the Dyelanders to show off his new vehicle.  Of course, he'd had no idea at the time that he'd be showing up in a mini-van.  But Andrew couldn't let his friends down so he started the engine, waved to Ralph, and drove off into the dessert.  Suddenly the sand gave way to golden grass and Andrew knew he'd been transported to Dyeland, the Fields of Gold to be exact.  For a moment Andrew dreaded driving through the field.  There were no roads and he hated the idea of trampling the grass beneath the tires.  But autumn had already set in and the grass had died.  He supposed there was no harm in it.  Andrew drove to the area where he'd agreed to meet his friends.  He took a deep breath and stepped out of the over-sized, massively uncool, non-bachelor-friendly vehicle. 

Countess Jennifer, Lady JenniAnn, Lady Beth, Rose, Yva, Lulu and Adam were all waiting for him.  As they approached him they clapped wildly (with Lulu barking) as if he'd just mastered some complicated task.  Andrew blushed.  "So this is it," he gestured to the van and then stooped to cuddle his dog.

"It's lovely!" JenniAnn cried.  "It's the same green as your Henley!"

Andrew tried his best to cover his laugh.  Trust JenniAnn to rate cars based on their similarity to his shirts.

"It looks very safe and comfortable," Lady Beth added.

"Yeah," Andrew admitted, running his hand over the hood of the van.

Adam could see his friend's disappointment.  The mini-van was wretchedly uncool.  "We could fit all our instruments in it.  We could do a road tour!" the elder angel of death suggested, hoping to lend some enthusiasm to Andrew. 

Andrew smiled back at Adam appreciatively.  "That's true."

"Can we get in it?" Rose asked.

"Sure."  Andrew hit a button on the key chain and the doors unlocked.  He got back into the driver's seat.

"You were right, Lady Beth," Yva said as she settled in.  "It's really comfortable!"

"Sure is.  I think it's a great car.  Andrew, why do you look so mopey?" Countess Jennifer asked.

Andrew had hoped he'd kept his disappointment hidden.  He should have known better.  It was increasingly difficult to get anything past the ladies of Dyeland.  "Oh, no... I mean I guess I had something else in mind but this, you know, it's a nice, practical vehicle.  I'll get a lot of use out of it.  It is pretty big..."


"Yes, Laja?"

"Look around you."

Andrew swiveled around in his seat.  There was Adam beside him in the passenger's seat, examining the stereo.  Countess Jennifer, Rose and Yva were behind him.  Behind them were Lady Beth and JenniAnn with Lulu tucked between them, a dog-friendly seat belt around her.  They all fit.  Comfortably and safely.  Andrew thought back on what he'd asked Ralph: "Aren't mini-vans for people with families?"  Andrew felt embarrassed and humbled for not immediately recognizing the gift the Father was holding out to him.  But mostly he felt immense gratitude.  The Father had seen past his wish for a cool car and had instead chosen a car based on who Andrew truly was: a friend, a brother, and member of a vastly non-traditional but no less loving family. 

Andrew had to clear his throat before speaking.  "It's a great van.  I see that now and I'm very grateful the Father gave it to me."

Lulu barked in agreement with her caretaker.

Andrew looked over at Adam who was beaming and then into the dashboard mirror and back at the ladies and dog behind him.  "Who's up for a test drive?"

The van was filled with cheers.  Andrew smiled as he drove around the Fields of Gold in his massively uncool but very much appreciated forest green mini-van which Rose and Yva would later dub the Jolly Green Giant, Coolest and Loveliest of Mini-Vans.

The End


JABB 258

(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.))