He comes in the clouds. Sometimes His face cannot be found.
the sky is dark and gray but some things can only be known.
And sometimes our faith can only grow when
we can't see
sometimes, He comes in the clouds."
song "Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds" by Steven Curtis Chapman
This one just came to me on a
whim. I love it when that happens!
But before we get to the story,
I'd just like to remind everyone that our annual CABB in honor of
Charles Rocket's birthday is quickly approaching. If you'd like
to contribute a memory or something else, please email me before August
15th to let me know of your intent. I won't actually need
content, however, until August 21st.
Thanks! Please let me
know if you have any questions about this.
Have a great weekend!
time for another "Moment with
Andrew and the T-Shirt
of Many Names
with a start after hearing a
window-shaking clap of thunder followed by a scream. A moment
later there was the haunting sound of Dyeland's emergency siren.
She scrambled out of bed and headed to the door. When she opened
it, JenniAnn was standing there with her hand poised to knock.
you're up," she greeted
nervously. "Umm, so, a tree branch just came through my window so
I think it's time to head to the basement." Another boom of
thunder sounded and JenniAnn nearly screamed again.
Feeling anxious, she followed JenniAnn and the dog at her heels down
the stairs to the main entry. They took another stairwell
down to the basement. Wearied from having been awoken at 2:00 AM
after having only gone to sleep at 1:00 following a night of
making plans for Andrew's birthday, Rose plopped onto a couch.
maybe we'd keep going, ya
know, through the tunnel," JenniAnn explained, standing near a book
case and still visibly shaken.
smiled. Of course, they
weren't stopping! If one was stuck in Willowveil castle during a
tornado or otherwise severe weather, simply sitting in the basement was
not an option. Not when one had a tunnel that ran below the yard,
under City Hall, through the earth below Andrew's lawn and
then, finally, into Andrew's basement. Despite the worrisome
situation, Rose laughed. "Sure! Lead on!" she consented,
suddenly feeling a little less sleepy.
JenniAnn smiled and pushed a
button which caused the bookcase to revolve and reveal the
tunnel. She ushered Fawn and Rose through then slipped in
herself, closing the "door" behind her. "I know it's kinda
babyish but I hate storms. I often missed the worst of them back
in Nebraska cause I'd spend the summers Below with Vincent and
company. So when they happen here... I dunno. I just feel
better being at Andrew's and not alone. Well, not alone with Fawn
who's no great fan of them herself."
wouldn't call that babyish.
Storms can be scary... especially when they break your window!
Besides, I'd call that using a bad situation to gain some quality time
with someone I think we'd all like to spend as much time with as we
can," the younger woman assured. "But should we call? Do
you have your cell phone? Would it even work down here?"
knows. But so long as he's not actually sleeping through the
storm... and I can't imagine that... he'll be ready."
couldn't resist smiling at the
image of Andrew leaping up from his bed, leading Lulu into their own
basement, and then waiting patiently for the knock at his basement
door. "So what do you do once you get over there?"
sleepover stuff. Braid
each other's hair, try new and exciting makeup tips, and discuss, like,
how uncool our parents are." JenniAnn laughed. It was
obvious just the prospect of seeing Andrew did wonders for her phobia
of severe storms and made her a bit giddy.
giggled then rolled her eyes and
shook her head. "Now, what do you *really* do?"
Talk. Try to keep the dogs from trying to dig a hole into the
carpet to hide."
lovely..." they both began
in unison only to be interrupted by a third voice.
girls erupted with laughter as
they saw Andrew standing in his doorway, smiling with a bit of a blush.
to the bunker," he greeted as
he ushered them and Fawn inside. The latter immediately ran to
Lulu and the two curled up on a recliner. "Follow Fawn's lead and
make yourselves at home. Help yourselves to snacks and
drinks." He indicated a table he'd set up with myriad offerings.
as always. I was just
telling Rose about how good you are about letting Fawn and me crash
here," JenniAnn explained.
never a problem. I'm glad
to have you both over. The extra people and non-person keeps Lulu
calm, too. So do you know if there's any damage over at
Willowveil? This is a nasty one."
came through JenniAnn's window
but otherwise I didn't notice anything. I wonder if I could get
through to my aunt?" Rose frowned, it suddenly hit her that her
aunt was alone.
a hand on her
shoulder. "Tess is with her. They're in the basement,
too. They tried to call but I think the phones are out so, uh,
Tess told me."
Rose smiled, glad to know
that inclement weather definitely couldn't disrupt angelic
another rumble of thunder
and though the basement walls dulled the sound the fact that it was
heard at all comforted no one.
noticed JenniAnn and Rose
exchanging nervous glances. "How about we say a prayer?"
women nodded eagerly and the
three joined hands.
Father, please protect everyone
during this storm and all the storms in life," Andrew began.
"Help them to reach safety if they haven't already. Give us
peace, please. And help us to work together, in friendship and
love, to fix whatever damage may be done by this storm.
Please, too, enable us to recognize the beauty in this world and all
the worlds you created even when we find them a little scary." He
looked to the other two to check if they wanted to add on.
you, God, for friends to
wait out the storm with," JenniAnn added, casting a quick smile at
Andrew and Rose.
Thank you. And
for the peace that comes in talking to You," Rose finished.
they all said in unison.
do feel more peaceful,"
So now what's this about
your window? No glass hit you, did it?" Andrew questioned.
He took a good look at his friend, checking.
hadn't considered that
possibility and pulled her hair back, giving it a good shake. It
was then the woman noticed behavior she would never have
thought to see in sweet, lovely, innocent-to-the-max, uber-respectful
Andrew. It was the sort of behavior that generally elicited a
response such as "My eyes are up here, jerk!" Instead, she just
cleared her throat and gave the angel an alarmed look.
grew bright red and his
hand flew through his hair.
quite alarmed herself and
about to ask Andrew if he was feeling okay. Maybe a tree had come
through his window, too, and hit him on the head rendering him
something. It sounded
like his own name.
the reason for his furtive
glances at JenniAnn hit Rose. A person could hardly expect
someone not to glance at their chest when the person's name was
emblazoned across their shirt in bright colors! "Your shirt!" she
exclaimed and then began to laugh hysterically.
crud," JenniAnn muttered.
In her panic and eagerness to get to Andrew's, she had completely
forgotten what she'd chosen as her pajamas. So there she was in
Andrew's basement, wearing a T-shirt that all but screamed her
out into hysterical
laughter. "The cat is out of the bag. I think it's time to
fess up, JenniAnn."
if I gawked but, umm, why
is my name on your shirt?" Andrew questioned.
was twisting her ring around
her finger at an alarming rate and pacing. "Well, umm...
see..." She paused to think of an explanation but then her gaze
alighted on Rose. "She's wearing one, too!"
Rose remarked but smiled
sheepishly. She was wearing a light sweater due to
Willowveil's occasional draftiness but there was no denying
she had a shirt identical to JenniAnn's beneath it.
yawned, showing she was
completely uninterested in the apparent drama unfolding. Fawn was
already back to sleep. Andrew, however, was still keen on getting
what exactly does it say?"
is dot, dot, dot Andrew,'"
JenniAnn answered, her voice barely audible.
wearing that shirt in case
at, I dunno, 2 AM you forget my name?" Andrew pressed, eye brows arched.
not *that* name..."
Rose began to explain.
that's the name that's on the
shirt so..." Andrew prodded.
cleared her throat.
"Well, yeah, one of them..."
was trying not to
stare so maybe I didn't see everything but I'm pretty
sure mine was the only name on the shirt. Listen, it's not
that I'm offended. A guy just doesn't expect to find his friends
sleeping in shirts with his name printed across them, I guess.
I'd just like to understand... why?" the exasperated angel
you're just so comforting and
so... I guess wearing this just reminds us of that so it becomes
comforting in a way. When you're not around. And you are
right. Your actual name is the only one on the front of the shirt
but..." Rose couldn't help but giggle as she tapped her back.
laughter was contagious and
despite his embarrassment, Andrew laughed.
laughter, in turn, brightened
JenniAnn's mood considerably. She smiled at him and squeezed his
hand. "Listen, I'm sorry if we embarrassed you and if these
shirts are a little... extreme. But we thought it was a cute idea
and we didn't necessarily plan on you finding out about them. And
I'm sorry we didn't consider that possibility."
okay. I guess it is kind
of sweet in a crazy sort of way." Andrew chuckled and hugged them
both. "Now... what's the story with some other names? Other
guys you've taken a liking to maybe? Is Mr. Darcy on there?"
guys are represented.
Just the one: you. And your many, many names," Rose finally
many names?" Andrew
raised an eye brow again. Sure, he could think of a few
eight to be exact. And
JenniAnn has the graphic saved so she can adjust if we need to add more
looked from Rose to JenniAnn,
amused but shaking his head. "Well, I'm glad to know I'm not
locked in at twenty eight."
burst out laughing.
"Hardly. We wouldn't want to limit our creative naming abilities."
would be a real shame,"
Andrew teased. "So... is there a way I could see these names
without seeming creepy?"
think either of us mind your
looking at the backs of our shirts but..." JenniAnn looked to
Rose. "Who ever's shirt he looks at won't be able to see his
reactions," she pointed out.
considered this. "That
would be a shame..." She grinned at Andrew. "Hey, do you
still have those extra t-shirts we tie-dyed on the 4th of July around?"
hanging up right in the laundry room. Great idea!"
nearer the door to the laundry
room than Rose, JenniAnn stepped inside to change and returned a few
moments later with the shirt that had caused all the fuss. She
laid it across the pool table and the three gathered around.
taken aback by all the
names, each in a different font and color.
us a while. There are
several 'drafts.' And much discussion to ensure we got each
name," Rose recalled with a smile.
had a lot of fun remembering
them," JenniAnn added.
traced the line at the
top. "'But we call him...'" he read. "'Love'?"
it's kinda a reference to Kate
saying you looked like love but also... true for us." JenniAnn
actually a few we got from
your assignments. 'Dew' from the little boy you watched
Andrew smiled at the
memory of the little boy's lisped name for him.
Friend' also from your
assignment with Kate. Plus it's just cute. And 'Ginger Man'
for Billie Holiday," JenniAnn interjected. "And we're going to
add 'Sweet Boy' for Raquel next time. We promised her."
coughed. "Raquel knows
about this shirt?"
have this design on a
coffee mug..." Rose answered coyly.
shook his head but
laughed. "Great... Well, I see a few Tess ones. 'Mr.
Halo', 'Angel Boy', 'Halo Boy'. And, of course, 'Angel of Death'
feel 'Andrew the Adorable' to
be, too." Rose ran her finger over the greenish yellow name and
blushed. "Thanks for
that. So... 'Andrewkins' is obviously Yva's input.
'Jack o' Lantern of Death' is a reminder of Princess Audrey.
'Dear Old Brick' and 'Skin Horse' are vintage Laja."
is current Laja," "Laja"
herself pointed out, recalling how many letters she had written
beginning with "Dearest and loveliest of all Andrews..."
'Dearest' a future addition?"
Andrew asked, seeming to have read her mind.
blushed. "No... it's
right there." She pointed to a bluish gray name that had escaped
the angel's notice. "But we should have paper ready in case we do
notice any missing ones."
ahead of you." Rose
looked up from the piece of scrap paper she'd grabbed and was jotting
Crushes'?" Andrew cast a
curious look at the light pink epithet.
that have ever had crushes
on you it tends to be more than a usual crush so... 'Crush of
Crushes'," JenniAnn explained.
huh... 'Lovely Angel.'
Seems to me I just heard that one..." Andrew smirked.
heard it and said it if you
recall," Rose corrected. "It's a favorite."
So who all was in on
girls. We sent emails
around," Rose answered as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
looked Heavenward with an
expression that seemed to say "Really, Father?"
Eyes' cause they are
gorgeous." JenniAnn paused in her examination of her shirt to
admire the referenced eyes.
they're the window to..." Rose
underlined another green name, " 'The Loveliness' that is you...
'Lovely One.' "
seems to be at the root of a lot
of these," Andrew mused.
proclaimed Lovely One asked.
JenniAnn glanced at each
JenniAnn began but then
found herself without a good answer.
the task difficult but
pressed on. "I guess sometimes we just feel a little bad for you
since you sometimes experience so much and might not get the support
see. Well, I'll tell you that
right now unsupported is definitely not something I feel," Andrew
assured them. "Learning this from the two of you and knowing many
of the others took part... it's been a little surreal... a little
odd... but touching."
So... any other
questions?" Rose checked.
yeah, tons of them."
laughed. "So, ask away."
curiously at the girls.
that's another kinda sad
one." Rose frowned.
Sometimes it just seems
like... especially when it's you and Monica and Tess but even with us
at times... you take on this strong, older brother role. So
responsible, so strong, so comforting..." JenniAnn sighed yet
again. "And we just worry that you sometimes also take on the
firstborn role of holding things in to keep the peace and all."
that doubles as a
psychological profile?" Andrew smiled sheepishly. "You know
me well. But I hope you don't worry too much about me.
Sure, I sometimes struggle with my emotions but... I have a lot of fun
and see a lot of great things, too. Feel a lot of great things."
know! That's why we also
have... 'Rakish One!' " Rose giggled as she circled a bold,
orange name. "To remind us of your sometimes devilish sense of
"And I see
'Amish Boy' right beside
it. Gee, I wonder who contributed that?" Andrew grinned at
Rose. "It's long outlasted my beard."
permanent testimony to its
existence and your cuteness with it," Rose joked though with real
hugged her then looked back to
the shirt. " 'My Immortal' is a song, isn't it? Didn't you
put it on a mixed CD for me?" Andrew looked to JenniAnn.
but it works as a nickname,
too, doesn't it? I mean maybe a lil possessive but you are my...
our immortal friend so..."
hugged her then, too. "I
of it. Both the friend
and the immortal part."
assured. "Now... hey, isn't 'Mr. Cellophane' a song, too?
From a musical. 'Chicago' right? Why would you pick that?"
crept onto JenniAnn's and Rose's
faces. How do you tell a person you love that you think one
of his friends sometimes ignores him and continuously fails to see him
as he really is?
keep that one secret if you
want," Andrew offered, sensing their unease and not wanting to pressure
them or push his way into a confidence.
Rose accepted with
relief. "But maybe you should get some explanation. I guess
by putting it there it's a sort of ironic reminder to ourselves.
To always take into account how you might feel about something.
To never lose sight of you and just look through you like, well,
Laja," Andrew began, "knowing
all of you as I do, I think it's a very, very unnecessary
reminder. But it is a pretty cool font so I think it's okay to
leave it." He gave them both a reassuring smile before turning
back to the shirt. "Well, here's another one I don't really
understand: 'Swan Boat.' You feel I'm like a swan boat?
Like one of those mechanical two-person boats they put in love
and Rose nearly went into
hysterics as Andrew glided around the room, his neck stretched as long
as he could manage in an attempt to look swan boat-like.
literally, of course!"
Rose choked out among her gasps of laughter at the absurd image.
"So I'm a
symbolic swan boat?"
for ratting me out with my
shirt," Rose pointed out.
smiled and shook her
head. "Fair enough. Well... see... I saw this story
on the news about this female swan. She'd fallen for a swan
boat. And her keepers tried to fix her up with a male swan.
But she still loved her boat. And, really, who could blame
her? He was a nice looking swan boat and bigger and lovelier than
the swans that were actually her species. And he had really nice
eyes and a good soul... and she could always adopt swan babies.
And even if not... she loved him and like heck she was going to let
anyone drive her away."
blushed. It was obvious
JenniAnn's monologue had ceased being about the swans about halfway
through. He wasn't sure what to say so simply rested a hand on
made the realization.
"No one here is ever going to drive you or any of us away," she
assured. "If they try then we'll... we'll... we'll hide
here! Where it's safe. And there are... pretzels and ginger
ale and tea and cupcakes and a veggie tray and... exactly how long did
you spend preparing for our showing up?" She
welcomed the amusing
distraction. "I started after that first bolt of lightning.
I was a Boy Scout leader a few times so, you know, be prepared."
that's what Boy Scouts
learn! I always thought it was survival skills but turns out it's
about how to be prepared for emotionally distraught females? How
quaint," JenniAnn teased, feeling lighter herself.
it's called the 'Assisting
Damsels in Distress' badge. It features yours truly on a steed,
holding a cup of chai tea out to a maiden." With a smile Andrew
poured a cup of chai from a thermos and handed it to JenniAnn then
handed Rose a ginger ale.
paused before taking a sip,
worried her laughter might cause her to choke. "The Boy Scouts
would so never really allow that to be a badge. Besides, then us
girls couldn't get it and I think I'd want to have something that
featured you on a steed."
laughed. It occurred to
him then that he couldn't recall ever laughing so much during what was
potentially a tornado. "You're right. It's not a real
badge. I think it's a little too un-PC."
But you'd earn it
anyway," JenniAnn insisted. She took a sip from her chai then
looked back to the shirt. "Is that all then?"
Rose looked for a
moment. "Nope. One left."
see if I can find it."
Andrew examined the shirt until his finger landed on a decorative green
Boy," Rose read.
say I really remember hearing
that's because it most often gets
sighed and so can be barely audible," Rose responded.
raised an eyebrow, looking
first to her then JenniAnn.
like 'So Andrew stopped in
the Tunnels today and he was giving one of the lil ones a piggy back
ride and it was so sweet.'" JenniAnn sighed and gave her
dreamiest look. "Darling Boy..."
laughed. "Yeah, like
that. Exactly. Or even simply. 'I miss Andrew and
hope he comes back very soon... the Darling Boy.'"
speechless. He knew
the ladies of Dyeland talked about him and the other angels with
considerable frequency. But he hadn't quite guessed that their
exchanges were at times so affectionate. He stared back at the
shirt. It was a multi-colored testament to their creativity and
love for him. The nicknames printed on it pointed to memories of
their shared past, people who had passed through their lives, and
people who were bound and determined to stick around for the long
haul. Andrew trusted, too, that what Rose had said was
true. Somewhere on JenniAnn's hard drive was this graphic and its
creators were just waiting for a reason to alter it and add to
it. It was fluid, changing as their bonds did.
The collage of names mimicked the reality of their friendship with all
it had survived and all that compromised it: the goofy, the sweet, the
stark, the desperate, the beautiful, the regal, the homespun,
dedication, support, gratitude, compassion, delight, playfulness, and
more. And threaded through it all was love.
You okay?" Rose asked
after a few moments.
nodded, at last looking up at
them with a fond and appreciative smile. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm
fine. It's just... I'm really glad I got to see this."
even though we never
intended for ya to see it... I'm glad, too," JenniAnn agreed.
nodded in assent. "So are
considered the question.
"Maybe not surprised. Okay, a little surprised. I mean I'm
not Superman. I never expected to be on someone's pajamas."
He chuckled then grew more serious. "I am touched. A
lot. So thanks. And I'll pass that along to everyone else
who took part in this." He waved his hand over the shirt.
JenniAnn each hugged their
multi-named friend, pleased that he wasn't upset by their exuberant
display of affection. After grabbing some snacks, the two women,
two dogs, and the angel of death watched a movie. The storm
continued to rage above them but they did their best to ignore it,
knowing God and their love for each other would get them through
whatever the morning brought.
The following day
nearly everyone in Dyeland gathered at the Cafe for a late
breakfast. The storm had been fierce but thankfully had not
developed into a tornado. Almost every city and
island had some minor damage and so their inhabitants had
gathered to write up one lengthy community-wide to-do list.
Once that was completed, they moved from place to place together.
Windows were repaired, porches swept off, statues tipped right side up,
gazebo shingles replaced, and fallen branches cleared.
The group was tending to
some turkey pens on Tourkia that had seen better days when Tess called
for a lunch break. They spread out blankets and shared a picnic
lunch after she offered grace.
"So I hear there was some
excitement in your basement during the storm, Andrew," Adam remarked to
his fellow angel of death, loud enough for the entire group to hear.
Rose and JenniAnn giggled.
Andrew blushed but began
to tell the group about his discovery of the top secret T-shirt
brimming with nicknames for him.
Adam laughed heartily as
Andrew spoke, imagining his modest friend's reaction to being told the
meaning behind 28 different nicknames that had been attached to
him. He knew better than to tease him too much, though. A
rather devilish glint he'd caught in Yva's eyes while she and JenniAnn
chatted privately told him that a shirt covered with "Luscious," "The
One, the Only, the Original," "Tevye," "Cutie Pie," and more may come
into being in the none too distant future. But first he had one
little addition he wanted made to Andrew's shirt.
"JenniAnn?" he called
once everyone had finish "awwing" over Andrew's acceptance of the
T-shirt and the love implied by it.
"I'd like to add one more
nickname to Andrew's shirt for the next... edition." He beamed at
Andrew who looked slightly worried.
"Sure thing. Rose,
you still got the paper?"
Rose nodded and pulled
the scrap from her pocket, pen poised. "I do! Go on, Adam."
"I'd like to have 'buddy'
added. Because even though I can't argue with Andrew being
adorable, lovely, or darling," he cast Andrew a teasing look, "to me
that's what he's always been: my buddy."
"Hear, hear!" Henry
Andrew smiled warmly at
two of his oldest friends.
Everyone else joined in
on the clapping as Rose scribbled the addition onto her paper.
"Thanks, Adam. And
everyone," Andrew started. "But I've been thinking and, you know,
it was really great to have proof... in a T-shirt... of how much people
here care. And I think everyone should have that. So I was
thinking after we've finished cleaning up we should all go grab a
T-shirt and some permanent markers and then, I don't know, write notes
to each other on them. Like everyone writes something to Yva on
hers, something they appreciate about Lady Beth on hers, etc.
What do you think?"
Like Adam's before, this
suggestion was met by thunderous applause and excitement.
That night, with all the
post-storm work behind them, the Dyelanders created custom T-shirts for
As everyone moved from
shirt to shirt spreading goodwill and encouragement, Andrew, JenniAnn,
and Rose realized how wonderfully their prayer the night before had
been answered. God had kept them all safe and enabled them to do
what repair was needed together. Through out the day they had
admired the beauty of His creation both in Dyeland's environment and in
each other. While neither of them were particularly looking
forward to the next severe storm, they realized that beauty, love, and
the answer to a prayer can be found even amid thunder and rain.
(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by
and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and
Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)