“It is easy to be pleasant when life flows by like a song,  but the man worth while is the one who will smile
when everything goes dead wrong.  For the test of the heart is trouble, and it always comes with years,
and the smile that is worth the praises of earth is the smile that shines through the tears.”
~Irish saying

Hi all,

Well, with this issue we have *two* holidays to celebrate!  Actually, kinda three.  We have, of course, St. Patrick's Day.  And that doubles as Andrew's 10th anniversary of arriving in Dyeland!  Yay!  I'm sure many of us wish we could be celebrating that with him.  Well, at least you get this newsletter.  ;-)

Second, we have Past Assignments' Day.  On that day we take some time to remember Andrew's assignments and his care for them.  Big thanks to Rebecca for writing a reflection!

Even though we have a lot to cover, I'm glad to report this is another shortish issue!  The next one may be a bit lengthy.  Although nothing like those 100 page ones I had going for a while.  My wrists have forbidden me from doing another of those for a while.  ;-)

Enjoy and have a safe and happy St. Paddy's this Wednesday!

God bless,

PS- Due to time constraints, I've decided to cease hiding easter eggs in *every* newsletter starting now.  So you won't find one here.  But they will still pop up at least once a month.


So since this is Andrew's 10th Dyeland anniversary, a couple top tens seemed appropriate to start this off.  On the 17th, the Dyelanders will be gathered in the Fields of Gold for dancing, singing, good food, and lotsa fun to celebrate the holiday and Andrew's anniversary.  I wonder what that will be like...

Top Ten Highlights (and Lowlights) of Dyeland's St. Patrick's Day/
Andrew's 10th Anniversary Extravaganza!!!

10.  When someone gets up to tell St. Patrick's story, Tess will interrupt to tell how it *really* was.

9.  Lady JenniAnn's grandma, who still doesn't realize Andrew's an angel and remains desperate to marry her granddaughter off, will overhear that they're celebrating an anniversary.  In hopes of forcing Andrew's hand, she'll give him JenniAnn's dowry.  Horrified, Andrew will immediately consult JenniAnn.  Neither feeling like they can rightly keep the money, they'll decide to use it for a give-away of groovy stuff for their friends.  LJA will dole the goodies out while parroting that famed giver-awayer... Oprah.  "And you're all getting new pocket watches and fllllaaaannnelll shiiiirrrtttsss!!!!!!"  Unfortunately, this will only call to mind the talk show's host's constant interrupting of Mr. Dye when he appeared on her show back in the 90s.  Residual melancholy and irritation will ensue.  Andrew will be forced to do an Irish jig with his umbrella just to cheer everyone up. 

8.  Andrew will need to be reminded that the name Irish Soda Bread isn't meant to imply he should pour a can of ginger ale into the batter.

7.  For a Dyeland flair on a traditional St. Patrick's Day classic, Adam will serve up corned TLS and cabbage.  It won't be any better than the real deal... blech.  (Sorry, as Irish as I am I can't stomach corned beef!)

6.  Adam's turkeys will break into the kegs of green beer supplied by the Tunnel dwellers.  And you thought turkeys couldn't fly well before... 

5.  The AOD Band will decide to mark the day by playing exclusively Irish music.  Unfortunately, they won't remember until the second verse of the Proclaimers' "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" that they're Scottish.  By then it'll be too late to dislodge "But I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more just to be the man who walked 1000 miles to fall down at your door" from their brains.  Maybe they'll have it outta their heads by Easter...

4.  Feeling festive, Andrew will opt to wear his always impressive jeans along with a green T-shirt and green and white flannel shirt.  Several gawking Dyelanders will collide mid-reel upon his arrival.  Best... ensemble... EVER! 

3.  Upon hearing that tin is the traditional 10th anniversary gift, some of the youngest Tunnel children will give Andrew a "telephone" made out of two tin cans and some string.  Andrew will, of course, act as if it's the greatest gift he's ever received and spend several minutes talking with them on the "phone."  Sigh... 

2.  Andrew will give a toast about how much the past 10 years have meant to him.  Something like this...

"You know, when I first ran into some of you in this Field, I had no idea how much you would all come to mean to me.  Really there was a lot I didn't know.  But I've learned a lot here.  There have been the less serious lessons like that my flannel shirts are community property, 'Amish Boy' and 'Andrewkins' are perfectly acceptable names, and if I leave the Jolly Green unattended for too long... pranks will be pulled and silly string will probably be involved. 
I've also learned some serious things like how to cook... well, that it's OK to tell people other than the Father when I'm struggling, and that even though sometimes people fear me... even hate me because of who I am... there's a group of people who love me not in spite of who I am but because of it.  And that... that's really meant a lot to me.  And I won't ever forget those lessons I've learned during these ten years in Dyeland.  And I'll never forget any of you.  Never."

1.  And they'll never forget him.


Yeah... so I went totally sappy about half way through that top ten.  So maybe I can keep this next one lighter!  We all know that a Dyeland St. Patrick's Day party would be a lot of fun and touching and... sober.  But what if that wasn't the case?  Eeek.

Top Ten Things that Would NEVER Happen at the Dyeland St. Patrick's Day/
Andrew's 10th Anniversary Extravaganza!!!

10.  The Dyelanders simply forget it's Andrew's 10th anniversary and completely fail to acknowledge the day...  Sob.

9.  Andrew sings any of the following and *no one* tears up: "Danny Boy," "A Stor Mo Chroi," "Carrigfergus," "The Water is Wide," or "The Fields of Athenry."

8.  The AOD Band members all show up wearing kilts.  No one notices. 

7.  Andrew captures a leprechaun and they get into a fist fight about who looks better in a green shirt.

6. Andrew decides it's no fair Monica gets to have all the fun and downs a bunch of Irish coffees then serenades everyone with a sloshed rendition of "Danny Boy" before getting arrested for disorderly conduct and thrown in Dyeland's jail... which does not exist.

5.  The Dyelanders insist upon watching those horrid "Leprechaun" horror movies.  Andrew ends up in fetal position on a staircase and the Dyelanders' reaction is best summed up as "Eh, whatever.  He'll snap out of it eventually.  Pass the popcorn."  (Random question: If you were never a fetus, would fetal position have any meaning to you?  Think about it.)

4.  In a move to embrace his newly discovered Irish heritage, Vincent dyes his hair green.  Andrew decides it looks super awesome and follows suit.  Catherine and the Dyelanders spend the rest of the holiday locked in their rooms crying.

3.  An intoxicated Dyelander will drunk dial the Hallmark Channel which has recently dropped Touched from its line-up.  The call would go something like this...  "I dun need YOU, Hallmark Channel!  I has Andrew.  He is way hotter than Martha Stewart.  Don't need you.  So over you.  You're, like... stupid.  Andrew is lovely.  I love him...  He loves me... ::giggling::  You should make a line of cards for AODs.  But NO.  You're mean.  Mean, mean Hallmark.  Oooh...  Andrew's here.  Ooh he has coffee.  I loves him...  Buh-bye, stupid channel.  ANDREW!!!"

2.  The Dyelanders vote to dye all the bodies of water green.  Then Andrew decides to go swimming...  For the next week he's forced to begin all his revelations with "No, I am not an alien despite my green skin.  I'm an angel sent to tell you that God loves you...  No, I don't know E.T. or ALF."

And finally...  The number one least likely thing to happen at Dyeland's party...

1.  Andrew ODs on the sugary yumminess of Lucky Charms cereal and is found three days later running the circumference of the labyrinth on Salome shouting "Hearts, stars, and horseshoes, clovers, and blue moons, pots of gold, and rainbows, and me red balloons!"


Some time ago, we decided to celebrate March 20th as Past Assignments' Day.  Through the years we've played assignment-themed games, written fanfic, and recalled our favorite of the angels' assignments.  This year we mark the day with two reflections about Andrew and Co. and their assignments.

I just wanted to mention a couple of episodes where Andrew's character really had an impact on me.

I think he is wonderful in all of them because Andrew seems so realistic, understanding and full of love.  He always come from a place of great compassion instead of coming across preachy.
I loved him in "I Do."  I believe that is the one with Patty Duke.  I love the dialogue between the two of them as the episode reaches its climax.  Patty Duke's character seems so lost and afraid and angry, and somehow Andrew knows the right words and his presence is so reassuring yet always real.
I loved "Jagged Edges," as well, because the main character in that one is so fragile and on edge yet he stays with her and can finally reach her through his great love and compassion.
I think his character brought so much realism to the show and his character could deal with real issues with great understanding like in "The Violin Lesson."  He was also great in the one of my favorites about World War II concentration camps guest starring Elliot Gould.  "Dear God."  When Elliot Gould's character seemed so inconsolable Andrew could take him where he needed to be.
I believe that we really do encounter people in our lives that are angels for us at that time.  I know I certainly have and John Dye's portrayal of Andrew certainly fits the bill.
Just my take on Andrew.
Take care,


From Jenni:

In thinking about Past Assignments' Day this year, I decided I wanted to step away from the games and write a reflection.  But I couldn't decide on just one of Andrew's past assignments to focus.  Instead, I want to give a few words of appreciation to TBAA's writers for introducing us to so many intriguing characters. 

I know, at times, I've complained about how TBAA focused too much on assignments and didn't let us get into the angels' heads as often as I would have liked.  That remains true for me.  I loved episodes like "Beautiful Dreamer" and "In the Name of God" that gave us glimpses into the angels' histories and let us see what made them tick.  I do think they coulda done with more of those types of episodes.  But in writing for JABB, I've come to a whole new appreciation for what the TBAA writers did do.  With most shows you write for six or so characters every week.  And, sure, you have the occasional extra character like someone's girlfriend or someone's father.  But for the most part you only have to make an audience care about those same six people.  TBAA couldn't do that.  For nine years its writers strove to make us care about a different character or group of characters every week.  And they had to make them as interesting as possible.  And that can get really hard!  But, for the most part, I think they did it.  While TBAA will forever be the show that gave us Andrew to me... I also can't imagine that I'd be as attached to Andrew if not for the Wittenbergs, the Du Boises, the Masons, Erin, China, and others.  And that they weren't all carbon copies of each other testifies to the writers' talents.
And there's another thing I've come to realize as I've written the stories here.  For most of JABB's existence, I've written assignments solely as the impetus for Andrew's actions and feelings.  But then... I actually started to care about them.  And sometimes that made what I knew I had to write very hard.  I imagine the TBAA writers felt for their assignment characters as I do for Hope and the Clearys and Maggie and others.  China haunted those writers' minds.  Sarah Bingham sprang from their hearts onto the page.  They may have laid awake nights with a vision of the lil girl we see Andrew carrying in "Lost and Found."  They loved Tony.  Yet, they had to let all of them die or be harmed.  Because without that, TBAA would have ceased to be a show that assured us that God loved us even when the world seemed scary and cruel and instead would have been air-headed fantasy.  So I applaud the writers for giving us, via the assignments, what we needed and not just what felt good to them at the time.
Therefore, on this Past Assignments' Day, I'll be raising my ginger ale and orange juice not just to one assignment or another but to the writers who created them all! 


JABB 296

(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.)