"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."
~~Abraham Lincoln

Hi all,

With this issue we're trying to accomplish two things: first, have some fun with the TBAA finale!  That episode remains somewhat troubling for many of us so, on its anniversary, we thought we'd do a little re-imagining...  Second, April 26th is known as Promotion Day on JABB!  We commemorate the date on which Andrew became an AOD.  I wrote a lil story about that and I hope you enjoy it.  Thanks to Rebecca for her input in the "fading" section!

God bless,

Top Ten Ways to Prevent Andrew from Fading Away

Well, it's been 7 years since TBAA's finale aired.  And some of us still haven't recovered from seeing Andrew fade away...  ::sobs::  So to cope with that, it may help to imagine an entirely different ending to TBAA.  Like maybe one in which Andrew is prevented from disappearing...

Basically this is meant to be a list of ways *we* would stop Andrew from leaving had we happened upon him departing from Monica and Tess in that dratted field during the final episode or a similar situation.  Enjoy!  And don't let him get away!
10.  Scheherazade him.  (Ha, now I'm sneaking in Persian mythology, Nicole!)  Start telling him a really interesting story but cut it off at the absolute best part and tell him he needs to return to the field the next day to hear the rest.  Repeat as necessary.

9.  Find a lasso.  Use it.  Just don't mess up his hair!

8.   We know Andrew's a gentleman.  Use that to your advantage.  Run onto the field and start screaming "Snake!  Snake!  Ohhh!!!!  I'm going to faint!  Ahhhh!"  Then start to faint.  Andrew will have no choice but to dash to your side and catch you mid-swoon in a chivalrous fashion.  Do NOT let go. *
7.  When Andrew begins to leave, push a cart of fine, French cuisine directly into his path.  Spread a blanket on the ground.  Plop down on the blanket.  Smile enchantedly at him and invite him to join you for a picnic lunch.  Ooh and ahh over the deliciousness of a crepe to entice him.  This will make Andrew either very hungry or very curious.  Either way, he's likely to join you.  Mission accomplished!
6.  Pretend you're a baseball/softball player and Andrew's feet are home base.  Slide in and grab one as he walks away.  But be very careful not to trip him.  No one wants him hurt!  He'll have no choice but to either pause and see what your deal is or drag you into Heaven on his foot.  Given the latter would look decidedly undignified and may not even be possible, chances are he will stop.  Get up, brush yourself off, and inform him that you love him and that no bloody promotion will ever part you from him.   Ignore Monica's and Tess's stunned stares.

5.  Purchase a ring or get one you own.  Take it to the field, keep it somewhere you can easily access it.  Amble around the field crying.  Make sure Andrew notices you as he leaves.  He will no doubt stop to help you as he's a kind, helpful person.  While you both look for it, drop numerous compliments to cheer him up.  Finally, drop the ring for real where he's apt to see it.  When he finds it, thank him profusely and tell him he absolutely must let you take him out to dinner as thanks.  Bon appetit!*
4.  Try a little verbal trickery.  Run onto the field and shoot questions at Andrew rapid fire, getting him to say 'Yes' repeatedly.
"Are you an angel?"
"Does God love me?"
"Do you like being an angel?"
"Do you dislike Halloween?"
"Are we in a field?"
"You promise not to fade away?"
"Yes.  Wait..."
"You said yes!  Angels have to keep their promises!  You said yes!  Now you can never fade away, especially not all weepy and sad and... I love you!  Do you want to go get some coffee?"
"Wait, what???  Yes?"

3.  Stand in the center of the field, holding a boom box blaring Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" over your head to show your love and devotion.  What?!?!  It worked for John Cusack... sorta.  On second thought, hire John Cusack to do that.  Andrew will pause and stare at him thinking "Huh.  Why is John Cusack standing in the center of this field re-enacting a scene from Say Anything?  That's weird..."  While he's distracted... tackle him.

2.  Hire Sting to sing "Fields of Gold" backed by a totally awesome choir.  I mean who's gonna walk away from a free Sting concert???  Look longingly and pleadingly at Andrew during the song.  So as not to make him uncomfortable, you'll have to add some lines, though.  Might I suggest these:

"So she took her love, for to gaze awhile upon the fields of barley.  In his arms she fell (in a totally celibate way) as her hair came down among the fields of gold."


"See the west wind move like a lover so upon the fields of barley.  (Don't!) Feel her body rise when you (don't!) kiss her mouth among the fields of gold."

Ignore Sting's super-annoyed look and focus only on Andrew...

1.  Bring a little kid and have them run onto the field and ask Andrew to have a picnic with you both.  Like Andrew would seriously turn a kid down!  Feel free to get the kid ice cream or something later.  And how popular is that kid gonna be when you both befriend Andrew and the kid can take an actual, live AOD to Show-and-Tell?!?!  Okay... maybe scratch that last part.  (Freudian slip alert!  Originally wrote "take an actual, love AOD.")
*Yes, I realize it's a little unseemly to lie to an angel... especially one as lovely as Andrew.  So eventually you will need to confess but explain you did it only out of love and utter, insanity-causing panic at the idea of him weepily fading away.  Then hug him and get him a ginger ale.  He deserves it.

(Lyrics from "Fields of Gold" were written by Sting... obviously minus the parts in parenthesis!)

So now that we've managed to stop Andrew in his tracks... let's consider what we'd say to him!

From Rebecca:

"Andrew!  You should absolutely not depart and should stay around for those of us who are absolutely addicted to you.  You could start a counseling/ angel-on-demand center for those who need you.  Maybe we could offer some human to angel support for you, as well.  How's that for crazy??  Most of all you need to know that there are those of us who absolutely adore and appreciate you!!!"

From Jenni:
"Wow...  I've imagined this moment so many times.  And I've went over what I would say but now it's all gone and, oh...  you're crying.  Here, have a Kleenex.  That's a really nice coat.  No, I'm fine.  Thanks for offering, though.  I'm not cold.  Yes, I know I'm shaking but... that's not why.  You're going to disappear and then I'll never see you again and I know you have no idea who I am but I know who you are and if you do fade away then that image will haunt me for years so please, please don't.  There are people I know who will not be happy if they learn I met you and let you go before they could meet you!  You wouldn't leave me alone to face their wrath, would you?"

And I think those just might work.  :-) 


So...  Tomorrow is Promotion Day!  According to "Beautiful Dreamer," Andrew became an AOD on April 26th, 1865.  For the past few years, we've celebrated it here in the newsletters.  However, this year I was completely lacking in inspiration despite watching that episode just last weekend.  Honestly, you all almost got "Beautiful Dreamer- Beat Poetry Style" which I think I can safely say just woulda been embarrassing for myself.  Then at about 10:00 last night... this came to me.

The Penny

It wasn't completely out of the ordinary for Andrew's input to be sought for a class in the Tunnels.  On occasion, Vincent looked to him for guidance on his history and literature classes.  At times Owen asked for his help with an art class.  And JenniAnn... well, she could always find ways to draw him into her religion classes.  But never before had his aid been sought for an economics class.  His assignments as a math tutor and IRS agent aside, no one ever looked to him for advice on money matters.  But all that was about to change...

Andrew was called away from his lunch preparations by pounding on his door.  To his dismay, he found a frustrated, teary-eyed five year old on his doorstep. 

"Shelby!  What's wrong?" the angel queried, crouching down to be eye level with the girl.

"I... I... c-c-can't count monnneeeyyyyyy, Annndrewwwww!" she sobbed.  "I d-d-don't get ittttttttt!"

Andrew scooped her up both to comfort her and hide his bemused smile.  Sometimes he forgot how dramatic little ones could be.  Then again, he knew quite a few dramatic adults, too...  Still, JenniAnn had mentioned that Shelby was struggling with learning to count money and he could imagine the frustration of the girl coming upon something she couldn't easily master.  She was a quick study with so many other things.  Her distress was very real and Andrew wanted to alleviate it.  "Sweetheart, I'm sure you can count money," he assured.  "But sometimes we all just need a little practice before we really learn certain things."  Noting the child's continued sobs, the angel decided a distraction might improve her mood.  "Hey, have you had lunch?"

Shelby pulled her face away from his shoulder just long enough to shake her head.

"Well, then how about we both have some lunch and then after that we can practice counting out money?  How's that sound?"

The little girl perked up at the offer.  "Sounds good."

Andrew set her down and while she was distracted by Lulu's antics, prepared some macaroni and cheese and surreptitiously called JenniAnn in the Tunnels to avert any panic over the missing girl.  After they'd both had their fill, they cleared the table together then Andrew produced a tin containing the odd change he found himself with after assignments.  He selected a number of U.S. coins and, sitting in the chair next to Shelby's, gave his surprise student a brief tutorial on their values.  Then he pushed the coins towards Shelby who eyed them warily.

"Now you can try."  He held both of his hands before the girl, palms up.  "You can pick any coin you want and set it in one of my hands.  Then try to count out how many of another coin you think it takes to equal the same amount.  So maybe you could put one dime in my right hand and two nickels in the other.  Because they both equal ten cents.  Sound good?"

Shelby bit her lip, considering.  Her eyes began to well with tears again.

Andrew frowned.  Shelby's older brother, Asher, had confided in Vincent and Father that their last foster parent had been an angry, critical sort of person.  The angel wondered if memories of that brief time in her life were plaguing the usually happy, confident child and making her needlessly worried about making a mistake and being chastised for it.  "Shelby, you know it's alright to make mistakes, don't you?  We all do.  If you make one, I won't be upset with you.  I promise."  To prove it, he crossed his hand over his heart.

Shelby grinned at him.  "Yeah, I know.  Okay, Andrew.  I'll try."

"Good!  Trying is good.  That's the most important thing: just to try your best.  And I think this will be a lot of fun!"  An encouraging smile lit up Andrew's face as he watched Shelby study the coins spread before her.  After a few moments, she picked up a nickel and placed it in his right palm.

"Nickels are five cents so that means..."  The little girl seized a small, bronze stack.  "Well, that means that it's the same amount as..."  She began counting pennies into Andrew's left hand.  "One, two, three, four, five.  The five pennies in your left hand and the nickel in your right hand are equal.  Right?"

"Right!  Very good!"  Andrew set the money down and hugged Shelby.  "You're a quick learner, kid!" 

Shelby beamed at him but didn't rest on her laurels.  She motioned for him to put his hands out again.  "I want to practice some more.  Can we?"

"You bet." 

Andrew sat patiently as Shelby repeated the same exercise setting a quarter in one of his palms and five nickels in the other, two quarters with five dimes, a dime and ten pennies, and so on.  With each successful match, the angel showered praise on the little girl until she grew increasingly confident.  Even when she made mistakes, she didn't become discouraged as before but merely tried again.  In a final test, Shelby tried to count all the money together and shrieked with glee when her answer of $4.23 matched what Andrew had counted.

As they put the coins back into the tin, Shelby became transfixed by one especially shiny penny.

"You can keep it," Andrew offered.

"Thanks!  I think I really like President Lincoln and you can see him really good on this one cause it's not dirty."

Andrew smiled.  "President Lincoln was a very great man who deserves to be liked.  He had to struggle a lot in his life to get what he wanted but he never gave up even when things were very hard for him.  He always kept trying.  You know, that sounds a little like someone else I know."  He tousled the girl's curls.

Shelby giggled but then, thinking his words over, her eyes grew wide.  "Andrew!  Did you know him?  President Lincoln!?"

The angel of death nodded.  "I sure did."

"That's neat!  When?  When did you meet him?  When he was little or older or oh..."  The little girl's face became grave.  "Vincent said that a man killed him because he didn't like that he'd freed the slaves."

Bowing his head, Andrew began to fumble with a couple of quarters that hadn't yet been put back.  "That's right."

"So you were there with President Lincoln when he died, Andrew?"

The question went unanswered for several moments. 

"I bet it made him feel a lot better to have someone like you there," Shelby continued, trying to comfort the angel.  "But I'm sorry that remembering it seems to make you sad.  I don't want you to be sad."  She hugged him.

Andrew knew he couldn't leave her to her mistaken assumptions.  "Shelby, I wasn't with the president when he died.  Although I know other angels were."  He paused again, considering how much he should tell the child.  He knew she wouldn't like learning that he wasn't there to comfort her hero but was, instead, trailing his murderer and trying to bring *him* peace and the recognition of God's love.  He didn't want to cause her that distress... or feel her disappointment... yet he knew it would be all too easy for her to learn the full truth.  He couldn't harm her sense of trust by withholding it.  He'd take Shelby's anger at him over that possibility any day.  Resolute, the angel continued.  "You see, I was actually assigned to... to the man who killed him."

"Oh."  Shelby looked away, her hand tightening around the penny.

The angel could tell the little girl was disappointed.  It was, perhaps, the first time she'd learned he couldn't swoop in and make everything better.  "Shelby, you know, sometimes angels come to people but they... they just don't want to listen.  I tried to talk that man out of killing President Lincoln.  I tried to tell him that it was wrong, that his anger was wrong and would only bring pain.  I wish I could have stopped him but... I couldn't, sweetheart."

Andrew thought back to that night.  He felt anew the dread that had swept over him.  All his conversations with his assignment had been for naught.  With nothing more to be said or done; he'd rushed to the theatre, pressed his ear to the door, and waited...  Then the bang of the gun, the screams, a delusional Booth limping out of the theatre.  History had changed forever and the grief of a nation was echoed in the rain pouring down around him like innumerable tears.  And then, days later, he'd been helpless as Booth himself slipped away, unrepentant to the end.  Andrew had never lost sight of the pride and gratitude he'd felt upon learning he'd been promoted.  Nor had he ever forgotten Abraham's joy at finding himself at Home.  But the failure and the remembrance of Booth's undying hatred still stung.

The angel was roused from his mental flashback by Shelby yanking his right hand.  "You tried your best?" she implored.

Andrew forced a smile.  "Yes, Shelby, I did."

"Thought so.  Like you said: trying your best is the most important thing.  Even if you can't stop the bad people all the time, you always try.  I betcha President Lincoln musta known that."  Shelby scrambled onto the angel's lap and hugged him.  "I know it, too.  It's okay, Andrew.  God still loves you.  So do I."

His heart lightening and his spirit growing more serene, Andrew returned the girl's hug.  "Even though I know that, sometimes I still need to hear it.  Thank you for telling me, Shelby.  I wouldn't ever want to disappoint you and it makes me feel a whole lot better to know you understand that sometimes trying is all I can do.  You know, you remind me of President Lincoln in another way besides how you kept trying with the money."

"How?" Shelby asked eagerly.

"You're very kind and you have just the right words to make someone feel understood.  That's a very special gift, Shelby.  And I know you'll use it."  Andrew smiled proudly at the little girl he'd taken under his wing. 

"Hope so!" she cried, hopping off his lap to reclaim her chair.  "Can you tell me more about what he was like?  How did you meet him if you were working with the other man?  Was he really as tall as people say?  Taller than Adam?  Did he always wear that big hat?"

Andrew chuckled as he began to answer Shelby's questions.  Each response elicited more queries but he didn't mind.   He'd give her all the answers he could.  After all, she'd given him something very valuable: a reminder that whether he tried and failed or tried and succeeded; God and his friends would love him still.  Always.

“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end."
~~ President Abraham Lincoln


JABB 299

(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.)