morning, Adam made his way
to Serendipity to meet Andrew and JenniAnn. He pulled a
wagon filled with boxes behind him. The angel smiled as he
thought about the interview to come. For the first time, he and
Andrew would be questioned together and speaking about how love
figured into their work as angels of death.
The idea had originally come to the two as a way to lighten JenniAnn's
workload but, truly, both angels had been looking forward to the
occasion for their own reasons. They simply enjoyed talking about
work with each other.
When Adam reached the house, he debated whether to carry the wagon
in or leave it. He was about to knock and ask when the door flew
"Hi Adam!" JenniAnn cried, immediately
hugging him. "Andrew's
just setting up the cameras in the living room. Come in!
How are you? How've your assignments been? Ooh! You
Adam smiled, thrilled by her happy demeanor. "I'm doing
great. My assignments have been great. No falling
chandeliers." He stepped back and waved to the wagon. "And
I brought some clothes and canned goods. I decided I didn't need
the latter. If I get hungry, I'll just get Lady Beth or someone
to make something for me." He winked when JenniAnn crossed her
arms over her chest and glared playfully. "So where do you want
"The garage is unlocked. Let's just stack em in there with
and my stuff. I
think we can handle it ourselves, no need to go get Andrew. He's
much better at the camera stuff than me so best leave him to that."
"Sounds like a plan. So how are you?" Adam asked as they unloaded
"Good, thanks! Better. I mean... well, we all still have
our moments, of course. But Andrew and I spent some time talking
and praying last night and just... everything seems better now,"
"Andrew does have that way about him, doesn't he?" Adam smiled
"Yep. And so do you. I'm so glad you were with us during
those first few days, too, Adam. Seeing you both and Henry and
Eli... it just, ya know, helps me remember that he's okay. That
everyone's okay. Cause God's holding us all." The woman
brushed at a tear but smiled as she hugged Adam. "Thanks for
bringing all this. And your wagon. You looked very cute
Adam laughed. "Thank you, my dear. It was between that and
my wheel barrow. The wagon was red so it seemed more
festive." He closed the garage door after placing the last
box. "You ready?"
JenniAnn nodded eagerly. "You bet!"
They quickly made their way back to the house and into the living room
where Andrew was still at work.
"How you doing, buddy?"
Andrew made one final adjustment on a camera then turned to Adam.
"Can't complain. The sun is shining and I'm spending time with
two great friends." He smiled at his guests. "And yourself?"
"The same. And very excited to see what our interviewer has in
store for us."
"Well, I have everything set to go. Ready, Laja?"
JenniAnn nodded vigorously. "Definitely!" She waved the two
angels to Andrew's couch, angled the cameras, hit record, then claimed
the chair across from them.
"Laja, you have one camera pointed at Adam and one at me. No one
can see you. Adam and I can share a camera," Andrew pointed
JenniAnn grinned. "Trust me, when people watch this they won't
want to be seeing me."
"I might!" Andrew protested as he got up to fix her camera. "I
see enough of my mug every morning when I shave."
The woman tilted her head. "You shave every morning?"
"Yes... Or pretty close to it. Sometimes, you know, with
assignments I might not get to it as regularly but... wait, why are we
talking about this?"
"I dunno. You brought it up."
"Not as a discussion piece!" Andrew cried, his super smooth cheeks
turning red. Even with eleven years since he'd come to Dyeland,
he still couldn't fully fathom the fascination the girls had with his
Adam stared into the camera, eyes twinkling. "Join us next year
when I'll be interviewing JenniAnn about her love of Andrew's hair."
"Oooh... good idea! Cept I think others may want in on that."
"Et tu, Adam?" the blonde angel paraphrased with a dramatic sigh.
JenniAnn giggled. "All right, all right. Let's get back on
track. Although I'm sure the other girls will be mad that I
changed the subject so quickly." She grinned then smiled
serenely. "So I am interviewing you both
about how you experience and see love as angels of death. So...
first question: sad to say, human culture hasn't always depicted angels
of death or the like in the... well, loveliest light. Sometimes
they come off as entirely dispassionate and cold, sometimes as outright
evil. So I know that sometimes your assignment greet you with...
"Screams of terror?" Adam tried.
"Name calling?" Andrew added.
The angels of death immediately felt bad for subjecting the woman to
dark humor. She hadn't built up the immunity they had and took
slights against them to heart.
"Laja, that doesn't happen that often. And when it does, I just
remember that I'm someone's Amish Boy and someone else's Andrewkins and
another's Dearest and Loveliest," Andrew assured, reaching over for his
interviewer's hand. "I'm sure Adam does the same."
The elder angel nodded. "I'm Luscious."
JenniAnn smiled as she calmed down. "That you are.
Anyhow... so when you get
such reactions, what's the first thing you do to show them that you're
really wonderful, loving beings?"
"Well, I think touch can express so much. Maybe not when people
are angry. But if they're simply scared, sometimes just setting a
hand on their arm or shoulder can immediately put them at ease," Andrew
Adam nodded. "I've noticed that, too. Sometimes I tell a
joke. If I can just get a person to laugh and really look at me
and see that I don't mean them any harm but that I actually care about
them then it gets better."
"Aww, good. So do you ever have assignments that immediately
seem to get who you are and how you are and reach out to you with
love?" JenniAnn asked.
Adam chuckled. "I had one lady open her eyes, see me, clasp my
hand, and say 'Well, it's about flippin' time, me boy.' She was
107. Quite a character that one was!"
Andrew smiled but it was immediately apparent to the other two that he
had a far more serious case in mind.
"Andrew, would you prefer not to answer?" JenniAnn peered at him with
"No, I want to," he insisted. "The kids tend to reach out to me
more. Especially the ones that maybe didn't have a whole lot of
love in their lives." The angel blinked back some tears then
smiled. "Some of them humble me, too, you know. They'll hug
me and tell me that every thing's going to be okay if they can tell
I'm having a hard time with whatever happened."
JenniAnn brushed at a tear and reached over for Andrew's hand, noticing
that Adam clasped Andrew's shoulder at the same time. "I can't
make any sense of things like that. But it helps to know that
someone like you is there. You carry so much pure love inside
you, Andrew. Kids pick up on that. And I'm glad they get to
experience it. What you both... and Henry and Eli and all the
others do... it's amazing. When you two picked this topic, I
didn't even know where to begin because you've all shown me that
there's not a single element of being an angel of death that's divorced
from love. It's what you do."
Andrew squeezed her hand back. "Thanks, Laja. It's always
good to hear that someone realizes that. Because we do love our
assignments. And all the others, like everyone here in Dyeland,
who the Father has brought into our lives. I think sometimes
people think we just do the Father's bidding out of obedience.
And we are His servants and happy to be that. But it's not
blind... unfeeling obedience. We love Him and we love His
children. He created us all, how could we not?"
"With your kind hearts and beautiful souls, something tells me you
couldn't not love," JenniAnn murmured in response.
There was silence for a few moments while both Adam and JenniAnn
studied Andrew who seemed to still be deep in thought. After a
few moments, he roused. He blushed when he realized both of his
friends were looking at him so tenderly.
"I'm all right. Really," he assured. "This is definitely a
case of it helping to talk about things. But now I'm ready for
the next question if you're ready to ask it, Laja." His eyes
shown as he smiled at her.
JenniAnn nodded, grateful for her beloved friend's resilience.
"Well, thankfully, my next question is much lighter. I'm just
thinking that, as angels of death, you've probly seen lots and lots of
things. So... what's the craziest, most over-the-top
demonstration of love you've ever witnessed?"
Andrew grinned. "I once had an assignment whose girlfriend loved
the movie Up.
So he decided he'd propose via balloon. He filled the entire
living room of their apartment with balloons emblazoned with 'Will you
marry me?' I helped blow them up. I think there were about
Adam did a double take. "I hope you had a helium tank and weren't
doing that manually! Wait, that wasn't why you were there was
Chuckling, Andrew shook his head. "Oh no. He was a doctor
who had lost a patient and I was helping him cope with that. We
had two helium tanks and, trust me, there were no balloon-related
"Good. So did she say yes?" JenniAnn asked eagerly.
"Of course. I even got to go back to be at the wedding.
There were lots of balloons at the reception, too." Andrew smiled
at the memory. "Adam, you've been at this even longer than I
have. How about you?"
"I officiated a wedding for two people who met in line for one of those
Lord of the Rings
movies. I had to wear a white robe and a fake white beard," the
elder angel of death reported with no small amount of pride.
"Ha! You musta been Gandalf!" JenniAnn stared at Adam,
imagining him as the famous wizard.
"Of course. And I think I must have given a really good sermon
because last I heard 'Aragorn' and 'Arwen' were joined in their
split-level 'castle' by Pippen and Frodo and were expecting a little
they planned to call Galadriel."
JenniAnn cringed. "Oh, Adam, no... Those poor kids!"
The interviewer shook her head. "Wow... by comparison I seem
Both angels of death politely looked to their sides, foregoing comment.
Giggling, JenniAnn checked her notes for her fourth question.
"All right you two... point taken. So next question. I know
all angels carry the
message 'God loves you.' But how would you say delivering that
message is different as angels of death as opposed to, say, caseworkers
telling their assignment that?"
Andrew looked to Adam and after receiving a nod, responded. "I
think sometimes there's more of an urgency when we do it.
Ideally, our assignments have heard that message all their lives and
see going Home as a positive thing. But it's not always the case
and 'I'll try again tomorrow' isn't always an option for us. We
do what we can to encourage them to accept that message because it goes
a very long way in taking away any fear they might have about their
"That's exactly right, buddy. And sometimes when we work with
those left behind, 'God loves you' starts to mean something
different. Something more, I think. It's not that they ever
felt God's love wasn't important but when they've lost someone...
that's when they really need to hear about it. So they know that
not only are they loved but that's where their loved one is: in the
midst of God's love. Forever." Adam peered intently at the
camera as he finished his answer, knowing this was the message his
friends would need to hold close to them.
JenniAnn reached over and squeezed both their hands.
"Thanks. I wish we could show this to the entire world."
"Laja, everyone in the world will hear this message at some point or
Andrew assured. "Pray that they are encouraged by it."
"I will," she promised before sighing. "I wish I hadn't limited
myself to six questions. There's so much to talk about!"
"Hey there, don't go thinking that whatever you want to ask has to be
confined to this interview." Adam shook his head. "You can
always talk to us. Any of you can. I know Henry and Eli
feel the same, too. It's what friends are for."
JenniAnn smiled. "I know. Thanks. Regrettably, my
fifth question probly won't take too long to answer. So... what's
the aspect you love most about being angels of death?"
Adam smiled. "I bet we both have the same answer on this one."
Andrew nodded. "Me too. On three?" He tilted his head
"Okay... One... two... three..." she counted.
"Seeing people's faces when they first see God," Andrew responded.
Adam's voice melded with his friend's as he simultaneously said "How
happy people are when they're with the Father."
JenniAnn beamed. "I actually knew that would be both your
answers. But I guess I just wanted to hear it... in surround
"And we're more than happy to say it, Laja."
"I'm glad. And now... last question." JenniAnn peered
at them both as she spoke. "I'd like to know if you feel like
your own experience of love is deepened at all by now being angels of
death as opposed to members of the choir, caseworkers, etc.?"
"I think any angel's experience of love... probably any body's
experience of love... deepens as they grow older," Adam
answered. "I think even if
I'd remained in Search and Rescue, I'd feel love more deeply for the
Father, my fellow angels, and my assignments than I did back when I was
new to that gig. I have a feeling that my work
as an angel of death does have specific implications but I can't think
of any right now so I'll leave that to this guy who's far better with
words." He stuck his
thumb out towards Andrew.
Andrew smiled. "All right. I don't think our love is deeper
than a caseworker's or any other angel's. But I do think the
Father sets us each on the path that will best help us develop a deeper
experience of love. For Adam and myself and so many others, the
path He chose for us involves being an angel of death. And I
think the ways we experience love that may be unique to our jobs... or
at least a bigger part of our jobs... involve seeing just how..." he
paused to consider just the right word and his eyes shone when he'd
settled on it.
"Immortal. Seeing how immortal love itself is. I've seen
widows and widowers still
deeply in love with spouses they lost decades before. I've seen
people turn tragedies into charities and missions that save countless
lives in the name of their loved one. And seeing all that... it
has changed me. How can I not love humans more when I've seen
them do such amazing, selfless things? And then how can I keep
from loving the Father more deeply for creating such beauty in each and
one of you?"
JenniAnn's eyes welled with tears, finally not from sadness but an
recognition of love as Andrew finished speaking. He reached
across and took her hand in his.
"Well, buddy, I think it's a good thing I let you handle that one,"
Adam commented, his crystal blue eyes lighting up as he looked at his
JenniAnn moved to hug him. "Your answers were beautiful, too,
Adam. I just wish it weren't over but..." She sighed
wistfully. "We have places to
be! Yva and Co. are expecting us at noon and since being late
would be extremely out of the ordinary for the two of you, we best be
on our way. Adam, you coming along with us or do you have
somewhere to go first?"
"I think I'll tag along. Keep you two out of trouble," he
answered with a smirk. "A little bird told me that last year you
two spent part of your journeying to and fro time engaging in races and
climbing trees. Someone should be the adult."
Andrew chuckled. "And you really feel that's a responsibility you
can handle, Adam?"
Adam's silver locks flew as he shook his head. "No. But
I'll keep an eye out for an adult while we race."
Laughing, the three packed up the cameras and headed south in the Jolly
Green until they reached the shore near the Fields of Gold and set off
on a boat race to Pure Imagination.
Since JenniAnn's previous attempts to go boating by herself had ended
with minor catastrophes, she had gratefully settled into Andrew's
boat when the three had set off from the Glen of Goodness.
Despite their competitive aspirations, both angels of death
soon found themselves so taken in by the beauty of the water and the
newly awakening Spring that the race was forgotten and the two boats
idly sailed towards the island which was home to Willy Wonka's Dyeland
"Laja, look. There's a swan on the other side of Adam's
boat." Andrew pointed to the graceful bird. He frowned when
he realized JenniAnn was staring off into space. Concerned that
she was having a seizure, he gently set his hand on her arm and
repeated her name.
JenniAnn immediately stirred. "Sorry, did you say something?"
"I was just pointing out the swan." He tilted his head in its
The woman smiled softly. "My Swan Boat's found a swan."
Andrew grinned but soon sobered. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah. Just spaced out. Do you... Maybe I shouldn't
"If it will help you then ask and if I can't answer or don't think I
should answer, I won't. But you have to know by now that you can
talk to me about anything, Laja."
JenniAnn pulled her sweater coat more tightly around her. "Do you
think Yva's going to leave soon?"
Andrew jolted. "Why do you ask that?"
The woman shrugged. "I dunno. It's just... things seemed to
be going really well. I mean I felt like the cruise and finally
talking things out really helped a lot. And then she was with us
in Iowa and that was great. And Christmas... Christmas was
beautiful. And she was with us that day last month when we found
out about..." Her voice drifted off. While they were all
healing, that day was still painful to revisit and so she left it
unspoken of. "And for John's birthday. And it just seems
now she's got quiet again. Do you think we've done anything
wrong? Or not done something we should have for her?"
The angel regretted that moving closer to JenniAnn would likely involve
a capsized boat. He settled for releasing an oar and squeezing
her hand. "Laja, sometimes people just... they need some
time. I don't want to bring up painful memories but maybe doing
so for just a moment will help put things in perspective.
Remember back in 2005 when you left Dyeland?"
"For three agonizingly long months. Yes."
"But you needed that time for yourself. And no one begrudged you
that. And when you came back to us... you seemed more content,
more sure of yourself and your place with us. Maybe that's what
Yva's experiencing right now. And if so, we need to trust her and
love her but... I think you know what I'm going to say."
"That I should be having this conversation with her and not you?"
"There you go."
JenniAnn smiled warmly at him. "Forget Swan Boat, you're in all
out Skin Horse mode now, my wise and adorable friend. You're
right. I will talk to her. Who knows? Maybe she even
has something to say and that's why she suggested this big shindig and
didn't just have us swing by to pick up the donations."
"Could be," Andrew agreed. "That sounds like Yva's doing."
JenniAnn felt much more at ease as Andrew sailed the boat further and
the lavender and blue factory came into clearer view. The sun
shone off it, making it look like a beacon of hope.
When Adam, Andrew, and JenniAnn stepped inside the store room one of
the Oompa Loompas had led them to, they gaped in amazement. Willy
had graciously offered to donate several preserves, baking necessities,
kitchen supplies, and other items to the Dyelanders' collection but
they'd had no idea just how much he was offering them.
"Good gosh..." JenniAnn murmured.
"I'm going to be putting a lot of mileage on the Jolly Green today, I
think," Andrew mused. He smiled and shook his head, truly touched.
Upon hearing the angel of death's words, Willy's and Yva's attention
shifted from the treats they were laying out for their friends to the
three new arrivals.
"Welcome, dear lady!" Willy greeted JenniAnn first. "And, of
course, dear sirs." He smiled at the two angels.
"Willy, this is..." Andrew shook his head again, speechless as he
surveyed the room.
"It's amazing," Adam finished for his friend.
"It's a good cause for a good man," Yva responded, embracing the tall
angel. "And a good excuse to get everyone together. Because
I... there are some things I'd like to say to everyone."
Andrew hugged the brunette woman once she'd stepped away from
Adam. "And we'll listen to whatever you have to say, Yva."
"Thanks, Andrewkins." Yva smiled up at him. "But until
then... Willy and I will show you around. We kind of have a
process we thought might work best for boxing everything up and it
might help if a few other people know it."
Yva and Willy led their friends through the aisles of food-laden
tables, explaining how it was organized. They were just finishing
when the rest of their friends began to arrive and in no time at all
the room echoed with a cacophony of laughter and chatter as goods were
sorted and prepared for distribution. With so much help, the
group was finished within an hour. The tables were rearranged to
form a rectangle for easier communication and lunch was brought out.
After a few minutes, when it seemed nearly everyone was finished with
their meal and had shifted attention to the sweet treats, JenniAnn
turned to Yva. "So... umm, this thing you wanted to talk
about? Are you... I mean is everything all right?" she whispered.
Yva nodded. "Yes, I think so. I hope so. But do you
think you could wait just a moment for my full answer? I think
everyone... all of our friends gathered here..." She paused to
smile tenderly at the others. "They all need to hear it."
"Sure, Yva." JenniAnn smiled back, feeling slightly more at ease.
After waiting a few moments to ensure everyone had finished lunch,
Yva stood up.
JenniAnn cast a concerned glance at Andrew who was seated at the table
across from them, between Lady Beth and Rose. He smiled
reassuringly at her then gave his full attention to Yva.
*As she stood in front of her friends, Yva looked out among the throng
of Dyelanders who were assembled. Clearing her throat, she
regarded them each in turn.
“JenniAnn, I know that you and Andrew sort of counted on all of us to
take part in the interviews this year, but for some reason, I just
couldn’t figure out what to say or do. I love you all so much,
and sometimes it doesn’t always take explanations or answering
questions to show or prove it. It’s just a feeling that one has
or shares with those close to them.”
She looked over at Andrew as she felt the tears catching in her
eyes. “It was like that day you needed someone to take Lulu for a
walk because you were on a case and were afraid that you wouldn’t get
back in time. You know that I’m scared of a lot of dogs, but I
did this because you are my friend and I had the time to take care of
As the angel offered a smile and a nod, she continued. “While we
were walking around the park, I started thinking about how it’s just
those little things that people do that tell each other that they care,
or that the world is a much better place because they are a part of
it. It may have seemed insignificant at the time, but it was my
way of showing you that I care for you, and that you are a valued
person…I mean angel, to me. Andrew, I care so much for you.
Sometimes, when I am sitting in my church, I was thinking about
this. I was thinking about how sad I would feel if you were to
suddenly disappear and never return.”
“I won’t Yva, I’ll always be there when you need me,” Andrew said
gently. “You have no reason to fear. As long as Dyeland is
here, I will always be a part of it. Even when I am not
physically here, I am still with you in spirit.”
By this time, the tears were freely falling from Yva’s brown
eyes. “Thank you, Andrew. I think I really needed to hear
“I think we all did,” Willy said softly as he looked at his adopted
daughter with all the pride that a real father could hold.
“I know it’s true,” Yva said as she sniffed loudly and watched as Adam
extended a cloth handkerchief to her and she blotted the remaining
tears from her eyes. “During the last few months, I haven’t been
"Yva, we know you've been around when you could be," Andrew
assured. "You were with us on the cruise. And in Iowa...
something that, trust me, I really appreciated. And you
celebrated Christmas with us. Other times. That counts!"
"I know, Andrew. And I was glad I could be there at those
times. But there were so many other times I haven’t been
around. But even at those times, I have tried to do something for
everyone to make it up to them for my not always being here.”
Adam looked up from the sweetheart candies he had been munching on and
spoke. “Was that you that fed the turkeys while I was on a
case?” When she nodded, he smiled. “I was trying for weeks
to figure out who did that so that I could thank them.”
“I remember that, too,” JenniAnn said. “I got the third degree
from you when you got back. You thought it was me, then Tess,
then Rose, then Sir Sven and so on. Everyone kept saying no, but
none of us had any idea at all that Yva was behind it.”
Willy looked at his daughter. “You’ve been playing the role of
‘cupid on a conquest’ with the lot of us, haven’t you?”
Yva nodded. “I guess so, I didn’t want to say anything about this
until now, but it was something that I thought was important. In
case you guys are still wondering, I was the one who cleaned the
Café up after Henry’s last dinner party, and then when Tess
needed something for a craft fair, I made several flower baskets.”
Tess smiled. “They were lovely and the ladies who worked the fair
were very impressed.”
Vincent looked up at her, this time his voice filled the room.
“Were you the helper who sent me the modern interpretation of
Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Yva?” When she nodded, he continued.
“I’d been trying for weeks to find one, and Catherine had no time to go
Above to search. That book really helped the children interpret
“I’m glad I could help in some small way,” Yva said blushing
slightly. “The deal is, I want to ask you all to please forgive
me for not being around much lately.” She paused. “You know
I love you all dearly, and I wanted to do something different this year
to show you how much you all mean to me. In one way or another,
you’ve all been there for me when I needed you, you helped me through
the challenges and heartaches when I questioned myself, and you
reminded me in every way possible that God loves me and that I am
“That is what angels do, Love,” Nigel said with a gentle smile.
“I know that, but it wasn’t just angels who did those things, it was
each of you. In your own special ways, you somehow helped me to
believe in myself, to reach beyond what I thought were my limits, and
touch the sky. I am totally happy and blessed to count you all as
“We love you too, Yva,” Willy said as he looked at the group.
Taking a deep breath, he continued. “Perhaps it is now my turn to
confide in all of you as well. I have always been a very private
person, and not even Charlie knows these things about me. These
are things that I really want to entrust in you.”
“What is it, Willy?” JenniAnn asked.
“For the longest time, I have had my doubts about the existence of
God. I didn’t know if there was this entity that existed in some
place beyond here who loved me. I have spoken at length with
Andrew about this, because I felt that I needed his guidance, and
instead of getting judged, I was encased with understanding and
friendship.” He paused. “This has not been easy for me
because my life has not always been easy. My father rejected me
when I was a boy, so I had always had a difficult task at accepting
anyone who could be addressed as ‘Father’. When I came to
Dyeland, I was in the midst of trying to understand and know God.
It was a very difficult time for me.”
“I’ve suspected for a long time that you felt that way,” Adam said
softly. “I have since the day we first met.”
Willy nodded. “I know, and for that, please forgive me,
Adam. I know that you were the first angel I met, but maybe I
needed someone to give me an objective frame of reference without
knowing the whole story.”
“Of course,” Adam said. “I’m glad that Andrew was able to help
you. He’s good at what he does.”
The confectioner nodded. “In hindsight, I have accepted that
perhaps that is the reason, I have felt rather awkward here. I
could tell that some of you may not have felt comfortable around me,
purely because of my ‘crisis of faith’.” He looked over at
JenniAnn, whose face was now lowered. He smiled
reassuringly at her before continuing. “It’s okay, I am not angry with
anyone about that, in fact, I probably understand better than you
“I’m glad you’re not angry with any of us,” Andrew said. “It
would be just as hard for one of us to change or curb our feelings as
it would be for you to try and change who you are. I once met a
lady who said she believed in ‘Science’ not God, and somehow I was able
to reach her, so there is hope, if you are open to what we may have to
“Adam is right, then, you are good at what you do,” Willy said
smiling. “But, the point of this is that through all of
you, I am starting to believe that there is a God out there. I
don’t know if this God really loves me as you all say, but I am doing a
bit better at believing it. I no longer think that the angels are
just good at pyrotechnics.”
The group laughed heartedly as Willy continued. “Whoever is out
there, I know that He or She would have to be as proud of all of you as
I am. I truly am blessed to be a part of a community such as
this. So, with all of your patience and love, I am striving to
get beyond my crisis. I also want you to know that you have
intricate role in that. I have never been among a group like this
who have looked beyond what I do for a living and are seeing me as a
part of a family. I don’t have to be anything other than what I
am.” He looked at Vincent. “Do you know who said ‘We know
what we are, but know not what we may be’?”
“Yes, that’s Shakespeare,” Vincent said smiling. “You did tell me
when you came, that you had recited several of his quotations.”
“Did he know that when he said it, that it would still impact others
some four hundred years later?” Willy asked.
“Perhaps,” emerged the simple answer. “Strange things can and,
often, do happen.
“I think I know what we are now, Vincent, we are ‘love’, we are created
in love, so that is what I believe,” Willy said as tears caught in his
eyes. “Yva, you once said that ‘God is Love’. Do you
“Yes, Papa, I remember,” she said smiling as she looked up at
him. “But some may not believe that.”
“It’s okay,” Willy said. “It’s not important that we believe the
same things. That’s what I learned here. But, maybe what it
all means is that when we give of ourselves, we are acting in a way
that is love, and it is a sign that we are created in love, and that we
are love in expression.”
“That’s beautiful,” Nigel said softly.
Yva looked at Willy, a smile breaking through all the hopelessness,
sadness, and heartache of the past year. Her eyes carried a
newfound joy that none of them had seen in ages. “You just
gave me the most wonderful gift in the world.”
“What’s that?” Willy asked softly.
“You acknowledged the reason I believe in God, and you gave me
your blessing to go into the ministry.” As she spoke, she rushed
into his arms and held on with all her might.
Seconds after their embrace ended, she looked at her friends. “I
love you all, and I hope that after tonight, you will never doubt my
“No one doubts it, Yva,” Andrew said softly. He got up from his
seat and walked over to her and enfolded her in his arms.
After hugs were exchanged, all of them returned to their seats.*
"So who's ready for dessert?" Willy called.
The Dyelanders looked at each other and the sweet-laden trays in front
"You mean this isn't dessert?" Adam asked as he reached for more
The confectioner laughed. "No, my dear sir, those are snacks."
"Well, then by all means, let's have dessert," the angel of death
responded with a grin.
Fresh from assignments, Henry and Monica arrived just as the coffee and
desserts were set out. They were welcomed warmly and once again
the room was filled with the gentle, loving chatter and laughter of
Yva stepped back from the scene for just a moment. Her face lit
up as she took it all in.
Andrew soon joined her. "Thanks for helping arrange this,
Yva. Everyone's having a great time and I think it helped
everyone to hear from you. It certainly did me." He
The woman returned his hug. "It helped me to say it and to have
all of you here. It's kind of like the old times, isn't it?"
Andrew smiled out at the crowd, noting Monica laughing with Rose and
Lady Beth. Vincent had Jacob on his lap as JenniAnn crouched
before them and tied the little boy's boots. Adam was animatedly
telling some of the others about when he first met Willy while the
candy maker occasionally piped in. Andrew took in several similar
scenes playing out in the room then once again looked at his friend and
noted the newfound joy reflected in her eyes. "Like the old times
but even better," he agreed, hugging Yva again. The angel glanced
above, silently thanking the Father for all the blessings surrounding
him, before he and Yva rejoined their friends.
It was nearly dinner time when the group at Pure Imagination had
dispersed. An hour later, Andrew was on his second round of
moving the donated
goods from the factory to his garage when he glanced over and noticed
JenniAnn smiling to herself.
"Feeling better?" he asked.
"Very." She sighed blissfully. "Today was really
great. And it was good to have everyone together for a purely
happy occasion. And..." JenniAnn craned her neck, still
amused and impressed by the boxes filling every available spot in the
van. "This is a very impressive haul. So many people will
be helped by Willy's generosity and our teamwork. I'm really glad
we worked together on boxing everything. It honors Mr. Dye on two
different levels: giving to a group of people he cared so much about
and making it happen as friends... friends he brought together without
ever realizing it. Friends that won't be drifting away any time
Andrew smiled, content with his friends' happiness and his own blessed
friendships. "You know,
I'm really glad we've kept doing this for four years now. And I
don't think it really matters whether we interview people or all
participate in something like we did just now. But spending a few
days focusing on love... real love and not just the outward trappings
of boxes of chocolate, a dozen roses, and jewelry... that's how
Valentine's Day should be celebrated."
JenniAnn grinned. "I'm not sure Hallmark and the florists would
really appreciate that non-commercial sentiment, ya know. Not to
mention Victoria's Secret."
The driver chuckled. "I'm not sure Victoria's Secret has ever
much cared about my opinions."
"I'd love to sit in on that marketing meeting if they did,
though. That'd have to be pretty hysterical."
"Laja, you'd spend the entire meeting with your hands planted firmly
over my eyes. I know you."
The woman knew better than to deny it so only giggled.
A few moments passed in companionable silence before Andrew
noticed that JenniAnn was staring at him. She seemed to be studying
every line of his
face as if she was trying to commit his image at that exact moment to
mind. "What is it, Laja?"
JenniAnn smiled gently at him. There was seldom any hiding from
the ever-attentive angel. "I was just thinking about something
else Yva said. About thinking about what it would be like if you
disappeared." Tears began to trail down her cheeks. "I
think... I think sometimes that's one of the hardest things about
death. It doesn't just make you think about the person who died
although you do feel that loss so strongly. But all the others
who you've lost before. And about how you'll lose others yet...
and if this hurts so much, how are you going to bear the ones to
come? And I've realized... my answer to that question... it's a
lot you. Sometimes it seems like my faith in God and your
friendship and love... and mine for you... are the only things keeping
me from losing my mind during times of grief."
Andrew pulled over and stopped the car. He moved a box that was
resting on the middle seat to the floor. JenniAnn immediately
unbuckled and slid over, resting her head on his shoulder. "Laja,
those are all very natural responses after someone we care about passes
on. But I meant what I said to Yva and all of you. I'll
never, ever disappear. Humans... sometimes they leave and it's
not their choice. But for me to just disappear... that would be a
choice. And it's one I would never make. I love you all too
much to do that to you... or myself." He gently brushed some tear
soaked hair away from her face and smiled. "I know you believe
that God's love is unending. And it is. The Father is
always there, always loving us. But I need you to believe
something else, too."
"That you're all stuck with me for all eternity, Laja."
JenniAnn pulled away and stared at him. "Stuck with?"
"Oh, yeah." Andrew radiated peace and amusement as he returned
At last, JenniAnn laughed again. "I think I would have gone with
'You're all going to be blessed eternally by my awesome presence' if I
Andrew chuckled. "Wasn't it you who was giving me a hard time
last night about my ego and you expect me to say something like that?"
"Okay, maybe not. But thank you. Whether 'stuck with' you
or 'blessed eternally' by you... I'm very glad you'll always be there,
The angel hugged her. "Me too. And remember: there are no
permanent good byes. Got it?"
JenniAnn beamed at her friend and hero. "Got it."
"Good." Andrew smiled at her then restarted the car and headed
back to Willowveil for an evening of editing and revisiting the day's
The next morning, after a brief visit to an assignment, Andrew set out
Henry's house where he and JenniAnn would be interviewing his fellow
angel of death and Lady Beth on angel-human friendships. JenniAnn
was teaching class that morning but had agreed to meet up with him
there at noon
when the four would share lunch. However, the angel of death had
allowed himself enough time to stop at Salome first. Andrew's
assignment had gotten under his skin and he felt
a walk in the labyrinth might help put him at ease.
When he stepped off the bridge and moved past the grove of trees that
surrounded the labyrinth, Andrew noted that someone was already
there. He instantly recognized Owen from the Tunnels. He'd
never known the man to have an interest in the ancient meditation and,
pleasantly surprised to find him there. Noting that he seemed to
be nearly done, the angel set his camera bags down, took a seat on one
of the benches, and waited. He began to pray until he heard foot
steps approaching him.
"Good morning, Andrew," Owen greeted.
"Hey there, Owen. How are you?"
"Good. Better. Psyche mentioned this to me," he pointed to
the labyrinth, "and so I've been giving it a try. I hope I didn't
throw a wrench in your own plans."
Andrew shook his head. "Oh no. More than one person can
walk it at a time. I think I was on one with two... maybe three
other people when I first did. What did you think?"
Owen took a seat beside the angel. "I liked it. It's a very
different way of praying, contemplating. It's definitely not
anything people would have done back in the church I grew up in."
There was a tenseness in the man's voice as he spoke of his former
congregation. "You want to know why I'm really here?"
"If you want to tell me, sure. I'm here to listen."
Owen smiled. "Remember when I first came Below: strung out, beat
up, and pretty damn sure I'd be kicked out once everyone figured out I
"I also, unfortunately, wasn't too sure what to think of you.
Psyche tried to tell me that you wouldn't judge me and that I should
trust you. But the impassioned pleas of a lovestruck twenty two
year old couldn't really do much to override years of being told that
God had condemned me, that angels were just waiting to smite me.
And our friend must have eventually realized that. She stopped
trying to force me to meet with you. Instead, Psyche invited me
over to Willowveil and told me I just had to watch this movie starring
her favorite actor."
Andrew smiled. "John."
"Who else? He was her first crush. You were... are her
first love. Psyche clearly has a type." Owen smirked.
"Anyway, so she pops Mother,
Mother into the
VCR. I bawled like a baby for the entire half hour. I could
relate so strongly to Jeff. His father's hatred, his mother's
emotional distance. And even though I didn't have HIV/AIDS, I'd
felt like my life was ebbing away. Watching him, I didn't feel so
alone in those experiences. And then Psyche decided to follow it
up with 'The Violin Lesson.' I'm thinking
now that maybe she'd just bought stock in Kleenex and was trying to
drive up the prices."
The angel chuckled, ever-impressed at the way the young man could bring
humor to any situation. "If that's the case then JenniAnn
should be a very rich woman by now. So what happened when you
"I'd just watched this guy play a gay man. Not meekly but
proudly. Jeff was a strong character, a powerful character.
And now here was this same guy playing an angel. A pure, heavenly
being. A son of God. And a pretty ticked off one! When he
confronted the man's father... Let me
tell you, that was a moment." Owen blinked and smiled with
embarrassment. "But then I guess you'd know that."
"Something like that did happen in real life during one of my
assignments, yes." Andrew thought back through the years, back to
the tense scene in the workshop and the later, more tender ones, at
the hospice. "But I can only hope I brought the power and the
compassion to that assignment that John did on the show."
"I'm sure you did, Andrew. But, for me, seeing that same man play
those two roles... It became obvious to me that believing I
deserved to be treated with dignity, respect, and love and the
existence of God... they weren't mutually exclusive." Owen pulled
a handkerchief from his pocket and brushed at his face. "I prayed
for the first time in years after we watched those. So that's why
I'm here now. John Dye helped me reclaim my faith. And so,
memory, I'm going to work on strengthening that faith. I've been
coming here every week since he died in order to do that. And
maybe, some day, when another young man or woman is left pondering
whether God really loves them... I can tell them what he told us and
what you still tell us: 'God loves you.'"
Andrew blinked back his own tears. He was always touched by
stories of children who had found their way back to the Father but
Owen's tale had a special poignancy. He had been led by the same
man to whom he himself owed so much. He thought of something
Monica had said years before: "When one voice stops, God will always
raise up other voices." The angel well understood Owen's need to be an
encouraging, more compassionate voice... a voice raised in memory of
another's. He pat Owen's shoulder. "I think you'll do a
job with that, Owen. I've seen how you inspire your
students. I know you'll be the voice of inspiration and hope to
so many." He smiled at the man then sighed contently and looked
up at the
"Thanks. I hope so.
I'll do my best. Like you, like him. Thanks for
doing what you do, Andrew." The man peered
intently at the angel, regretting that he'd earlier missed how careworn
he looked. "So what brings you here? Everything
Andrew nodded. "You know, listening to you helped a lot,
Owen. Thanks. You
gave me an idea. Art can do pretty amazing things and show people
the truth they most need to hear. Make them talk about things
that are important to discuss. Your story makes that pretty
clear. See, I have this assignment I've been
visiting off and on while acting as a volunteer for a food delivery
program for veterans. He was wounded... shattered, really, in
physically. But emotionally, spiritually. He can't let go
of some things he did... and didn't... do during the war. He
won't reach out to those he served with, men and women who would
understand. He feels paralyzed by the memories. And he
looks at me... seemingly this thirty something 'kid' and he isn't
what I say about the need to forgive himself and God very
seriously. But maybe I need to take a cue from you and
JenniAnn. And John's work."
Owen smiled, knowing where Andrew was going. "I'm sure Psyche'll
be happy to let you take Tour of Duty
with you when you see your assignment again. I bet it'll get a
dialogue going between the two of you at the very least."
"I think it will," Andrew agreed, already feeling more hopeful.
"You know, I went into this
thinking about how interconnected we all are. JenniAnn loves Touched, especially John's part,
and she used that and Mother,
Mother to reach you. Then today you shared those memories
with me. And now I have a shot with my assignment because of that
and Tour. And it all
circles back to John."
"It reminds me of that old song." Owen cleared his throat and
began to sing. "'Will the circle be unbroken? By and by,
Lord, by and by."
Andrew joined in though his voice caught as he did. "'There's a
better home a-waiting, in the sky Lord, in the sky."
They continued singing, both knowing that their particular circle... a
circle in which an actor's work begot love and friendship time and
again... would, indeed, be unbroken.
Andrew was in a much better frame of mind as he made his way to
Henry's. As he walked, he mused over how the Lord truly did move
in mysterious ways. He'd gone to Salome hoping for solitude and
quiet but instead found the guidance he needed in a discussion with a
friend. He felt renewed hope when he thought of how he might be
able to reach his assignment, Roger.
Andrew was nearly to the house when he heard someone behind
him. He paused and smiled when he saw JenniAnn running towards
him, clutching her peace sign to keep it from flying into her glasses.
"I thought you'd beat me here by quite a while," she commented once
she'd caught her breath. "I was pretty surprised when I saw ya
only a few yards ahead back in Serenity City."
"You should have called out. I would have stopped. You
didn't have to run after me, Laja."
She shrugged. "A lil running won't hurt me. I'm really glad
that Henry and Lady Beth dropped off their donations last night.
I love the Jolly Green but it'll be nice to just walk back to
Willowveil. Nicer still when we don't need to wear heavy sweaters
or coats to do it but... I'll take this for now! At least it's
sunny-ish." JenniAnn smiled up at the sky. "So how are
you? How was your assignment this
Andrew quickly and vaguely filled her in on Roger and his visit with
Owen then made his request.
"Of course you can borrow the DVDs! For as long as he wants
them. I'd actually really like
that. Furthering John's legacy and all." She hugged
Andrew. "And I'm glad talking with Owen helped you feel better
about the situation. I wouldn't want you to be sad during this
interview. Angel-human friendships is generally a very nice,
uplifting, happy topic I've found."
Andrew smiled at her. "So have I. And a nice, home cooked
meal is a happy thing, too."
At his words, both he and JenniAnn realized how hungry they were and
raced to the house.
Henry laughed as he opened the door. "Well, either you're both
very eager journalists or very hungry ones. Which is it?"
"Both. And I actually beat Andrew in our race! Of course,
he was a bit weighed down by the cameras..." JenniAnn confessed.
"We'll go ahead and count it, Laja," Andrew allowed, grinning. He
inhaled deeply. "Mmm. It smells
wonderful. Freshly baked bread..."
"Plenty of that. And Lady Beth is just finishing the angel hair
pasta mornay," Henry
explained, leading them into the living room so Andrew could drop off
the camera bags before they entered the kitchen.
Andrew's eyes grew wide when he noticed the impressive spread. He
hugged the cook once she'd hung her apron up. "Lady Beth!
This looks great!"
"I hope it tastes great, too. If not... I'll blame Henry.
He helped." She winked over Andrew's shoulder at the bespectacled
angel of death.
"Oh, I don't think any blame will be necessary, only credit,"
"No time like the present to find out." Lady Beth waved them into
the chairs and once Henry said the blessing, the four dug in.
Andrew savored the first few bites before smiling up at his
hosts. "This is wonderful. You two really outdid
yourselves. Thank you for inviting us to join you."
JenniAnn nodded. "It's really perfect. Thanks for doing
"Henry and I could both imagine you two rushing from your jobs to
interview to interview... relying on granola bars," Lady Beth playfully
glared at JenniAnn, "and chips for meals," her gaze shifted to
Andrew. "We couldn't very well allow that to happen."
"Well, thanks for taking care of us. We do enjoy these but I
suppose we do sometimes get carried away," Andrew admitted, touched
that Lady Beth had taken such careful notice of their habits.
how've you both been doing? It was great to see you yesterday at
"Same old, same old, buddy," Henry responded.
Lady Beth smirked. "Don't believe him. Henry's had plenty
of excitement lately. Why don't you tell Andrew and JenniAnn what
your last assignment involved?"
Henry rolled his eyes but smiled. "I was playing the king at one
of those medieval restaurants. Which, trust me, the food just
didn't rate with what our Lady Beth has spoiled us with."
"King Henry... has a nice ring to it," JenniAnn mused.
"So long as it's not followed by 'the Eighth,'" Andrew's nose
wrinkled. "He did not treat women well."
Henry laughed. "Now there's an understatement. Trust me, I
was a good king. And I treated my queen... who was actually
married to my first knight... very well. And I got to do a
revelation from atop a horse. Could have used C.J. for some
refresher tips on horsemanship, though. I'll have to talk to her
she gets back. But Lady Beth's had her own
"What's that?" JenniAnn asked.
"Trying new recipes. New ingredients in old recipes. That's
excitement for me!" Lady Beth shrugged as if it was no big deal
but her friends could tell how rightly thrilled she was with her
"And it's excitement we all get to benefit from." Andrew smiled
proudly at the cook.
"Of course." Lady Beth smiled back at him before turning to
JenniAnn. "How are the kids?"
The conversation shifted to the Tunnel children for the remainder of
the meal and soon it was time for the interview to begin. Very
practiced, Andrew soon had the cameras in place and rolling.
JenniAnn smiled at the two interview subjects. "Ya know, one
of the things I really love about this year is how many people picked
to be interviewed in pairs or like Yva and Willy planning the whole
group thing. And you two are no exception. You chose to be
interviewed about the friendship that can develop between angels and
humans. So, Lady Beth, our first question is did you ever expect
to have angels as friends?"
The talented cook adamantly shook her head. "Most
definitely not but I'm sure glad that I have since I've made some
wonderful friends. I've occasionally even forgotten that they're
angels due to their different personalities but I'm sure there's a
reason for that. I wouldn't have it any other way since this is
something different that I'm glad I've been able to experience."
"Me too," JenniAnn agreed, beaming at both Andrew and Henry.
Andrew warmly returned her smile then focused on his fellow angel of
death. "Well, Henry, how about you? Did you ever expect to
have human friends?"
"No, I never thought I would," Henry responded.
"Aww..." JenniAnn cooed.
Henry smiled. "Well, when you're constantly on the move doing the
Father's work, you're never able to settle down and get close to
anyone. After hearing about Dyeland from Adam, Andrew, Tess, and
Monica; I decided to come here and see for myself what it was
like. That's when I realized that
I could have another home... other than the one with the Father... and
be able to make good friends here. It's helped me realize how
much I appreciate who created me and what I've been given so far."
"That's beautiful, Henry. Thanks. And I know we're all
really glad you found your way here." JenniAnn smiled at her host
then turned to Andrew.
"Right. Me again. We didn't want to wind up each only
getting to ask one of you questions," he explained. "So, Lady
Beth, knowing how much it takes for you to let someone
close, was it easier with us angels?"
"Mmmm... good question." Lady Beth paused for a few moments to
carefully weigh her answer. Finally, her eyes lit up and she
nodded. "Whenever I met another angel, I did feel a calming
affect come over me which I guess made me realize that I wasn't going
to get hurt. I never get that feeling
when meeting another person therefore I never know if that person is
good or not. So it's probably easy to say that,
yes, it's easier to make friends with the angel."
"And well worth the time because they make for fantastically wonderful
Lady Beth laughed as JenniAnn's comment elicited blushes from both
angels of death. "Good job," she congratulated.
"Thank you," JenniAnn accepted with a grin.
Henry smiled as he shook his head. "Will that 'make an AOD blush'
game ever get old for you, do you think?"
"No," Lady Beth, JenniAnn, and Andrew answered in unison, the latter
knowing full well he'd never escape it.
JenniAnn giggled but quickly refocused on her questions. "Henry,
I've always wondered and... I'm not sure if you can answer this but I
thought I'd try so... were there any stipulations from the
Father about becoming friends with humans?"
Henry thought about his response. It was a bit delicate. He
caught Andrew's eye and when his fellow angel of death nodded, he
soldiered on. "The Father did make me aware again that by
becoming friends with humans that I would have to eventually deal with
their mortality. He made me do some soul searching to make sure
that this was what I wanted and how I would be able to come to terms
with their eventual return Home. It was only after some time that
I realized that, yes, I wanted humans as friends."
Lady Beth reached for her friend's hand and tightly squeezed it.
Simultaneously, JenniAnn felt Andrew's hand tighten around hers.
bravely at him then at Henry. "Just last night Andrew reminded me
that there are no permanent good byes. And he also said that
we're stuck with each other."
Henry chuckled. "Now that's an interesting way to put it.
But Andrew's right. And I'm glad I made the choice I did. I
humbly appreciate what the Father has done due to His kind and generous
nature because I wouldn't have done this otherwise. He guided me
in the right direction, made me work
things out, and then allowed me to go in the direction that was best
for me. It's the only way I was able to experience the joy and
love of human friendship."
"And our lives definitely wouldn't be as rich without that," Andrew
opined. "Thanks, Henry, for that thoughtful answer. I can't
imagine making a different decision myself, either." He sighed
"Good. Because any other decision would be exceedingly difficult
for your human friends to bear," JenniAnn responded.
Andrew patted her arm. "It wouldn't be any easier for us.
So just remember... we're stuck." He smiled to assure her.
JenniAnn returned the smile and directed her attention to Lady
Beth. "We're very blessed, huh?"
"You better believe it," her friend responded.
"Every minute of every day. And my last question for ya kinda
hinges on blessings. Lady Beth, does it make you feel closer to
the Father by having angels as friends?"
"Most definitely, yes," she responded eagerly. "I always knew
that the Father was there but now I have affirmations every day about
His love and I realize that life is better now than ever before.
I've been able to see how the Father expresses His love in different
ways and how this love can be peaceful, calming and all around
us. It has made me realize that I'm prepared for anything even
more so now than before I met the angels."
JenniAnn's eyes misted as she nodded. "That's so true. I
was just telling Andrew about how I can't imagine facing hard times
"The feeling is mutual, JenniAnn," Henry assured. "You all help
us through hard times, too, sometimes without even realizing it.
I know I've come back here after difficult assignments and found a lot
of comfort in the friendships I have here."
Andrew nodded. "Me too. We often tell our assignments and
each other that the Father gives us what we need when we need it.
And I think that's definitely true for His bringing all of you into our
lives now." He held both JenniAnn's and Lady Beth's hands in his
own for just a moment then, releasing them, looked to Henry. "So
that's how I feel, too, and now, Henry, for your last question... is
anything you want to say to Lady Beth?"
After a pause, Henry turned in his chair so he was facing Lady
Beth. "Thank you very much for everything. I know I've made
many good and wonderful human friends here in Dyeland but you've become
a very special friend to me. I wouldn't want to change anything
we have... especially the cooking classes, the talks in front of the
fireplace during the cold months, and everything else. I hope
that we can have many more good times like the ones we have had to this
point in time. I know that I appreciate everything so far and
will continue to hold all the memories close to my heart."
Moved, Lady Beth looked over to Andrew and JenniAnn. "Is it okay
if I answer that question, as well, in regards to Henry?"
"Y-yeah," JenniAnn responded, busy fishing a tissue out of her pocket.
Lady Beth swiveled around to face Henry. "Henry, I want to thank
you very much, as well. I know that you came after many of the
did but you fit in perfectly. You've sat back and let me kibitz
with Adam... who else would give him back one liners?... as well as
shared cooking classes with Andrew. You are a special person and
I'm honoured to call you friend."
Andrew's loving gaze traveled to each of the other three individuals in
the room. There was nothing more to say, he knew Lady
Beth's words were the perfect ones on which to end the interview.
So he quietly stood and held out his arms, smiling as a group hug
Since editing footage from a single
interview wouldn't take much time and neither was due anywhere until
after 7:00, Andrew and
JenniAnn lazily made their way back to Willowveil.
"I really am glad we seem to be in for an early spring," JenniAnn
"Now, if the flowers would just start growing..."
"Soon, Laja. Soon they'll be all over the place. Roses and
lilacs and those little violets that grow all
over the place." Andrew surveyed the empty fields surrounding
them, imagining them as a rainbow of color and filled with the hope
that reality would soon match his vision. "And daffodils," he
added, recalling they were JenniAnn's favorite.
JenniAnn shook her head and turned away.
Andrew saw her hand raise, seeming to brush away a tear. "Laja,
"I'm, uh, not sure about the daffodils this year," she responded.
"They come every year. Of course they'll come again," the angel
assured, gently setting his hand on her shoulder.
"No. I mean, I know. I just mean... seeing them. I'm
not sure about seeing them and how I'll take that. Years back, I
decided they were my flower. They mean 'unrequited love' and
seemed apt because, well... I was too foolish at the time to realize
did love me back." JenniAnn shook her head at her younger self's
blindness. "Not in the same way, of course. But as
truly. As you do everyone... all of us, your friends, your
assignments. And in the last years... though I knew it was true
before... I've seen what it's like for you when they don't love you
back. And, thus, the daffodil became your flower, in my
mind. A sad reasoning, yes, but because I associated them with
you... they made me happy. But at some point in this last month,
the association transferred to John. Because that's what I feel
when I think of him sometimes... that every thing's unrequited.
From the sense of not being able to tell him what a difference he made,
knowing there will be tragedies yet we won't be hearing his reassuring
voice again like we did after Columbine, after Matthew Shepard was
killed, after 9-11...
on down to the less serious things like never seeing everyone get all
pumped up for a new movie or show."
Andrew waited, sensing she had more she wanted to say.
"Does it ever get old? The seasons changing, I mean?" JenniAnn
The angel was surprised by the abrupt change in subject but, content to
follow her lead, shook his head and smiled at his friend.
Neither do sunsets or sunrises. Or births. Or seeing two
people fall in love. Or people reaching out to each other in
Before JenniAnn could respond, a chilly breeze struck up and called to
mind the harsh day a month before and Henry's invocation of
She felt a pang of dread shoot through her as she stared at the angel
one day leave behind. The sensation aborted her
furtive attempt to redirect the sullen conversation. Feeling
unsteady, she reached for his
arm. "Andrew, do people... spirits I mean... can
they see that sorta stuff from Heaven? Can they see who they've
left behind?" she asked in a hushed, desperate tone.
The angel of death gently steered his friend to a large rock and took a
her on it. "Laja, do you remember when you used to get so worked
up about how maybe you felt more for me than you should?"
JenniAnn nodded, flustered. "Well, I mean it was never personal
but... I mean there's not even a word for what I am to you so I thought
maybe what I felt was some sort of abomination."
Andrew shook his head. "Absolutely not. But do you remember
what I told you then? About how the
Father could have created each and every one of us in our own
worlds. It wouldn't have been too big of a task for Him. No
task is too big for the Father. Not even making countless
worlds. He could have separated us all and made Himself our only
companions. But He didn't. He put a bunch of us all
together. Because love and loving... that's who He is and it's
what He wants for us, His children. Love is the most important
force in the world because it comes directly from God. And if He
didn't separate us at our births, He wouldn't separate us at death,
either. I can't tell you too much about Heaven. One day
you'll know, Laja. But I can tell you that from their side...
there is no separation. When I'm in Heaven, I feel your love and
all the love of all our friends just as intensely as I do right now,
sitting here with you. They do, too. Because they didn't
leave you behind, even if it feels that way... and I know it
does. You're with them always because we're all with God.
It goes beyond simply seeing. They *know* that they're loved and
they know that they're thought of and
they're always, always loving back."
JenniAnn smiled gratefully at the angel and held one of his hands in
both of hers. "When I go Home... I'd like to be able to watch
over you, Andrew. It's only fair. You've watched over me
since I was seventeen. And I... I just want to do whatever I can
for you. Forever."
"Laja..." Andrew pulled her into his embrace and briefly rested
his chin on her hair. At times the Dyelanders could push him
beyond his usual eloquence and this was one of those moments.
The two sat in silence for a moment until Andrew shifted and smiled
down at JenniAnn. "So when that time comes... and I hope it's not
for a long time... you're telling me I'll have to be on my best
behavior for all time?"
JenniAnn giggled as she brushed at a few tears. "Something tells
me that won't be terribly hard for you. Especially considering my
idea of your best behavior isn't always your actual best
behavior. You're pretty cute when you whine, for example."
Andrew chuckled. "So whining will still be acceptable?"
"Yes. Also developing an attitude with Tess sometimes is a good
thing. Often times..." She grinned and stood up. "We
going. The dogs will be anxious to get outside. And...
thanks. For answering my question and making me laugh."
"That's what friends are for, Laja," Andrew responded before taking her
hand and walking with her across the bridge and back home.
That evening, after Andrew had left
to meet with Roger again, JenniAnn called together the ladies of
Dyeland. Though busy with his own charitable efforts in Thailand,
Josef had sent them crates of toiletries to be donated to their effort
and they needed to be sorted into individual baskets for
distribution. Lady Beth, Rose, and Yva had readily agreed to lend
a hand and, though C.J. was away attending classes, they had connected
with her via webcam so she could visit with them. It was a
welcome opportunity to talk, just the five of them.
"So how's Andrew holding up?" C.J. asked. "I was wondering
because you know how he can get. Especially when everyone's
relying on him... as I'm sure everyone is now. I've even called
him a few times. I just... needed to hear his voice."
"He seems good," Rose answered, looking at the monitor. "What do
the rest of you think?"
"Henry and I both thought he was in great spirits this afternoon.
Teasing, smiling. Typical Andrew." Lady Beth smiled at the
Yva nodded. "I think, like the rest of us, he has his moments of
sadness. Simply because he has such compassion for people who are
grieving, even though he knows death is only the beginning of a new,
better life. This is what Andrew does: helps people during
difficult times. He loves doing it. But I do hope he
realizes that he's not supposed to be working when he's here and that
if he needs a break, we can manage." She turned to
JenniAnn. "You've spent the most time with him lately with the
Valentine's project. What do you think?"
Though she'd been listening to the conversation, JenniAnn had also been
mentally replaying the previous afternoon. "I think you're
right. Andrew feels immense compassion and maybe sometimes that
can be a little draining. But I don't get the sense he feels that
with us now. Like this afternoon..."
"You don't have to share anything if it's private," C.J. assured when
the other woman's voice cut off.
"I only wanted to check with all of you about him."
"I know. But I think it'd be good to share. I'm just not
sure anyone particularly needs to see me go all weepy again," JenniAnn
confessed, smiling sheepishly.
"We've resigned ourselves to the fact that you're a sap for life,
JenniAnn," Rose teased.
The joke made JenniAnn less self-conscious and, with an appreciative
smile, she continued. "When we were walking back from Henry's,
Andrew was commenting about the flowers blooming soonish. And he
specifically mentioned the daffodils."
"Uh oh." Rose frowned.
"Why 'uh oh'?" Yva asked with some confusion. "I thought
you loved them."
"I do. But, as I told Rose during one of those first, teary phone
calls, they remind me of Mr. Dye now and the prospect of seeing fields
of them... thinking of who the world lost... I dunno." JenniAnn
shrugged, attempting to blink back tears but soon giving up. "So
I confessed that to Andrew and then begged him to tell me whether those
in Heaven can see the good we try to do in their memory. And he
talked about how God created us all to be together. And how His
love ensures there is no separation even in death... even when it seems
like there is. And he wasn't glowing when he spoke. I mean
not like we've seen him do with assignments. But he was..."
The woman shook her head, striving for words she couldn't find.
"More?" Rose offered.
"Yes!" JenniAnn cried. "I know that sounds kind of weird but it's
the only thing that works. Andrew was... more Andrew."
Lady Beth smiled. "Andrew mentioned something to me today, after
our interview. He said that one of the things that touched him
most was how often John expressed that he felt blessed to be able to
play an angel, to say those words: 'God loves you.' Andrew said
that he was humbled. Because sometimes he gets frustrated when
assignments won't accept the message or behave in ways that run counter
to it. But that he was going to focus more on the blessing of
simply being the one sent to say it. Maybe that's what you saw,
JenniAnn. Some renewed commitment and spirit from an already
committed and spirited angel."
JenniAnn sighed, nodding enthusiastically. "I think that's it
C.J. smiled from the monitor. "And now that angel is probably
getting to do exactly that right now."
The five all smiled, praying that was the case.
In a drab apartment in
Philadelphia, Andrew sat in a dimly lit living room. In the
recliner next to his sat a graying man, transfixed by the image on the
On the TV, a young man in fatigues stood in the rain. He began to
savagely attack his mustache then dissolved into sobs. "Just...
trying to get clean. Just wanted to get clean... didn't work," he
As the credits rolled a few moments later, tears slid down the viewer's
know that feeling," he confessed to his visitor, the first words he'd
spoken to Andrew that were neither gruff nor sarcastic.
"I know you do, Roger," Andrew responded gently, grateful to see a
crack in the thick wall his assignment had constructed around
himself. "And God knows it, too. He knows because He's
never been apart from you. He wasn't then and He's not now."
"How do you know?" Roger asked, his tone more pleading than demanding
Andrew smiled. "Because I was there, too. And I saw the
sacrifices of conscience that you made every day, Roger. I saw
the heartbreak you felt, surrounded by death. I saw the creeping
sense of isolation you experienced when the others, men as confused and
heartbroken as yourself, turned against you. But Someone never
turned away. I'm an angel, sent
by God to tell you that He loves you, Roger, and He always has and
Tears streamed down Roger's face as Andrew began to glow. "I... I
wasn't alone?" he asked, incredulous.
"Never," the angel vowed as he embraced the weeping man.
Long into the night, the two talked about all the things Roger had kept
inside himself for decades. To Andrew's delight, the man even
requested he return so they could talk more and watch more of the show
that had gotten through to the wounded man.
The next morning, Andrew and JenniAnn met beneath the willow
tree in his yard, each bringing their dogs with them. The two
furry friends ran off to play as soon as they glimpsed each other.
JenniAnn knew at once that Andrew's assignment the previous night had
been a success. He was grinning from ear to ear. She
immediately hugged him when she stepped beneath the
branches. "I take it by the absolutely delightful
expression on your face that Project Doc Hock worked?"
Andrew nodded enthusiastically. "I wish you'd seen Roger.
He'd isolated himself for so long that he didn't know how many others
felt exactly what he did. He'd tucked his memories and his
emotions into some place deep inside himself and hid away from anyone
who might uncover them. But to see them
brought to life, on screen, right there in his living room... It
helped him talk about everything he most
needed to. He even asked me back. I mean I would have come
back, anyway. He's my assignment and the Father wouldn't abandon
him. But to be asked back... that says a lot. He wants to
keep watching, too."
"That's wonderful, Andrew. And... truly touching. Another
person helped by John's work." JenniAnn smiled tenderly.
"And to think we only know a very small portion of people who
are." Andrew shook his head in amazement.
"But he knows the full extent now," the woman mused.
"He does, Laja. He really does."
They both sighed with happiness for the progress Andrew's assignment
had made and fondness for the actor who had helped him make it.
Then, exchanging smiles, they picked up their camera bags.
"So ya excited?" JenniAnn questioned, smiling up at the angel.
"About?" Andrew prodded.
"Later today Monica will be doing her first ever interview here!" the
The angel smiled. The Dyelanders were always so thrilled about
anything they thought might make him happy. "Oh that..."
His smile broadened. "Yes, I'm excited. And I'm also
excited to see what's in that basket. I smell blueberry
JenniAnn kept her hand on the lid. "Not until we get to
Tess'! And there are raspberry and apple cinnamon, too. She
said she was in a bit of a hurry so I thought I'd save her the time
making breakfast and then we can have it together. Although... I
suppose you could have a sample or two or three." She grinned and
held the basket
out to him.
"Thank you, Laja. Just one for now," Andrew responded, happily
selecting a muffin and
giving her the thumbs up sign.
"You're welcome. Just glad they didn't burn at all."
"It's delicious. But we better get going since Tess has to get
to her assignment."
"Can we come back here for a bit later, though? The tree's so
beautiful. And the vines are so thick, so soon in the
season. I think you must do something to it," JenniAnn
Andrew laughed as he stepped out and held the branches back for
her. "I'm an angel of death, Laja. That doesn't grant me
any powers over nature. If the tree blooms early, it's only
because the Father wants it to. But, sure, we'll come back."
"Good." JenniAnn turned to where the dogs were frolicking.
"Lulu, Fawn, c'mon! Let's go see Widget!" she called.
Andrew laughed again as the two dogs gleefully sprinted towards the
Tess was waiting at the shoreline
of Sonata Isle when Andrew rowed the boat to the dock. She warmly
hugged her Angel Boy and JenniAnn. "Well, good morning!
How are you babies?"
"Excellent," JenniAnn responded, lifting Fawn out of the boat as Andrew
grabbed the far more rotund Lulu. Once the two were on dry land
and noticed Widget, they once again tore away from their keepers to go
"Doing great, Tess," Andrew responded. "Yourself?"
"Doing good, baby, doing good. I'm very glad the Father gave me a
little time to spend with you both. I would have missed our
"And breakfast," JenniAnn added, holding the basket up.
"Tess, JenniAnn made us some delicious muffins."
"He knows cause he begged one from me earlier," JenniAnn kidded,
smiling up at Andrew who had plastered on his most innocent look.
Tess laughed. "Somehow it doesn't surprise me that Andrew got one
and I'm also thinking you were plenty happy to let him, JenniAnn.
Well, shall we go to the gazebo again?"
Andrew and JenniAnn both nodded. It was a beautiful site and
brought back pleasant memories of the year before.
Once they were sure the dogs were staying out of trouble, Andrew and
JenniAnn got the cameras in place and situated themselves on either
side of Tess. As they visited, they shared the muffins and some
tea but a glance at Andrew's pocket watch soon revealed that
time was fleeting.
"Ready, Tess?" Andrew checked before starting.
Tess brushed a strand of silver and black hair back into place and
smiled. "That I am, Mr. Halo."
Andrew smiled at the old nickname. "So, Tess, we do a lot of talking
about love of all different types
in our line of work. I'm curious about why you chose the theme of
'love over time?'"
"Because love is an ever changing thing, Andrew," she began. "As
angels, we tell
people of God's love for them every day and His love for us is a
constant thing. But there are other types of love in this world,
they evolve and change over a period of time. Sometimes it grows
and deeper while other times, unfortunately, just the opposite seems to
JenniAnn frowned, all too familiar with the phenomenon. However,
she didn't feel like dwelling on the unpleasantness and moved onto the
next question. "Tess, have you ever had an assignment that
involved love altering over time... in a good way... and could you tell
us a little about it?"
The long-time caseworker smiled as she nodded. "There was this
case I had just a few years ago. Two women, a mother and
her oldest daughter. As the mother grew older and into her
she and her daughter spent more and more time together. That love
had for each other evolved, it grew to deeper and different
the time the mother passed away at the age of ninety-years-old, she and
her daughter not only had a mother and daughter bond, but they were
like best friends and sisters. The love they shared for each
stronger than it had ever been before and it was a beautiful thing."
"That really is beautiful. Thanks, Tess. I hope my mom and
I turn out like that," JenniAnn responded.
Tess patted her hand. "I know you love your mama, baby, and I
have no doubt you could have that."
Andrew smiled at JenniAnn to encourage her then focused his attention
back on Tess. "That was a really great example of how love can
change, for good, for humans. But how about you, Tess?
Could you give us an example of a time in which *you* experienced how
love can alter over the years?"
"Oh, well that's an easy question, Angel Boy! As a supervisor,
I've trained and
kept an eye on a lot of different angels over the years. I care
of them, but I've grown closer to some than others. My love for
has grown over the years. They're not just part of my job.
my family. That's an altering love I am very thankful for."
She leaned over to hug Andrew and kiss his cheek. "You're
definitely one of the ones I've grown closer to, Andrew. I've
loved you from the first moment we came to know each other, baby.
But I've grown prouder of you and found so many more reasons to love
you in the many, many years... don't ask, JenniAnn... since."
JenniAnn smiled at the preemptive rebuke and looked on with absolute
delight as Tess fussed over Andrew, brushing his hair back into place
after she mussed it.
For his own part, Andrew was basking in the affection and warmth he
felt with Tess. "I love you, Tess."
"I love you, too, baby. And don't you ever forget it," Tess
Andrew grinned boyishly. "I won't, Tess."
JenniAnn was sorry to continue the interview, wanting to stay in that
perfectly adorable moment. However, she realized both angels were
looking at her expectantly. With a wistful sigh, she moved
on. "All right, that was lovely but now... question four."
She checked her note card and frowned. "Sometimes change scares
people. I would guess love changing
really could. But could you explain to us how sometimes that's a
really positive thing? Sorry, that's kinda redundant. And I
feel like I should just loop what we just recorded of you and Andrew
and put a big ol'
Exhibit A on it."
Tess smiled. "It's okay, baby. I think the examples I've
just given are great examples of that. A
mother and daughter's relationship growing closer, friends coming
together and forming an ever strong bond. Those are
But I've witnessed even more examples. Husbands
and wives are often more in love with each other after they've
grown old and after years of marriage than they were when they first
married. Love can run deeper than we usually ever expect it to."
"I definitely believe that," JenniAnn agreed. "Sometimes it's
almost like it sneaks up on you. All of a sudden you just realize
how much you love someone. And it can be overwhelming. But
it's a good feeling."
"That it is, baby. And I wish I could sit here all day and talk
to you two about it. But the Father has other ideas.
Although He is letting me spend Monday with all of you for which I am
very grateful." Tess lifted her eyes to the sky and smiled with
gratitude. "So, Andrew, what's on your mind for my last question?"
"I'm thinking that, even though love can change, there have to be some
constants. What do you think those would be?" the angel of death
"Well, I think the obvious one would be the love a parent has for their
child. We've seen examples of this many times. All children
grow up and
some end up doing just horrible things, and yet, if you ask their
mother or their father, they'll still tell you how very much they love
their child. They absolutely hate what the child's done, but that
doesn't change their love for them. No matter what age, a parent
always love their babies, no matter what happens."
"And so will God," Andrew added thoughtfully.
"That's right. The perfect Father. And now..." Tess
rose slowly from her seat. "I am off to try to get a church choir
to stop squabbling about politics and start singing!"
JenniAnn smiled, confident that Tess' demeanor was just the thing to
remedy the situation. "Thanks, Tess, for spending the little bit
of free time you had today with us."
"Any time, baby, any time. You and Andrew have a wonderful time
finishing your interviews." She hugged the woman then turned to
Andrew and embraced him tightly. "You keep smiling, Angel
Boy. It's been good to see you so happy."
Andrew beamed. "That's pretty easy when I'm surrounded by so many
friends. Take care, Tess. We'll see you for Valentine's
"That you will. Oh and those boxes on the porch are for your
collection. You can come get them later if now's not
convenient. I know you're off to see Monica soon." Tess
smiled, glad that her two Angel Babies had repaired their friendship.
"We have a little time in between so we'll take them now. Thanks,
Tess." Andrew hugged the supervisor again then took her arm and
her down the steps.
"Widget, c'mon," Tess called as she walked towards where the three dogs
Andrew was shocked when the dog obediently came running.
"I've only been working on that for over a decade," Tess
muttered. But her face lit up as she crouched down to scoop up
the little dog who snuggled against her neck. "Good bye, babies,"
she called. "We'll be seeing you
Monday." She smiled back at Andrew and JenniAnn once more then
began to fade away.
Andrew watched, smiling after his friend.
JenniAnn hopped down from the gazebo and approached the angel, hugging
his arm. "She's right, ya know. You have seemed
much happier in the past few months. Not that you were ever a
downer by any stretch of the imagination."
The angel continued to smile. "Glad to hear that."
"It's just... with everything else that's been going on, having you so
content and joyful... it's helped."
"You know, I've felt the same way myself about many of you. The
two of us... I don't think things have ever been easier or more honest
and comfortable between us. And Monica's come back. And now
things are better with Yva. And
there have been bright spots and I've had great moments with each of
in the recent months. I believe the Father often arranges things
in our lives so that when difficult to take news comes, we're at least
in the best possible place we can be, surrounded by the best possible
people to help us through. I think He's done that for us now."
JenniAnn smiled up at the clouds. "I think He has, too."
Comforted by the well-founded belief, the two packed up their
cameras, Tess' donations, and the dogs in order to return to Willowveil
and grab some lunch before trekking to Monica's home in Veritas.
They had been warned
to bring the Jolly Green with them...
JenniAnn's jaw dropped when she and
Andrew stepped into Monica's entryway after her lilting voice called
them inside. There were boxes everywhere and clothes strewn over
side tables, book cases, and chairs. Shoe boxes lined the walls.
Before either could comment, Monica entered. "I'm so sorry!
I meant to get here earlier so I could have everything boxed for
you. My assignment was supposed to end at 9:00 but just as I was
leaving I saw a precious wee girl crying and she'd lost her dog and, of
course, I had to help look for the poor thing."
"Of course," Andrew agreed when the caseworking angel paused to draw in
"It took us nearly two hours but we eventually found Buckles at a
bakery... begging treats, of course... and then I noticed the bakery
had double mocha scones so... since being adventurous and trying new
things is sometimes a good thing... I felt I ought to try one."
Andrew chuckled. "Purely for the sake of being adventurous.
Monica grinned, knowing she couldn't get anything past her old
friend. "So I only got here an hour
ago and I thought I had plenty of time but apparently..." She
brushed her auburn locks out of her eyes as she surveyed the
mess. "Not." She smiled sheepishly at her guests.
"But this... it's all meant to go?" JenniAnn asked, incredulous.
"Ah, yes. You see, last week I found myself staring at the mirror
in the department store I was working at and thinking that I didn't
much care for my clothes but they were stylish and I thought
supervisors should look stylish. Polished. Sophisticated."
"Uh huh..." Andrew prodded, wondering what she made of him in his faded
jeans and a gray and white sweater he knew he'd had since at least 1999.
Monica's ramble continued. "They're perfectly good clothes.
And I'm thankful to the Father for them since they're what I
wanted. But they're just not me. And so I'm going back to
my roots." She waved to the flowy floral skirt and lengthy,
pastel sweater she was wearing. "But all of this... Surely
it'll suit someone. And they'd be wonderful outfits for a first
interview, don't you think? Maybe Catherine's shelter could take
some for the ladies there when they look for a job?"
JenniAnn surveyed the stacks. There were plenty of sleek skirts,
high heels, tailored suits, and tawny blouses. All very
professional. "Definitely," she readily agreed. "Monica...
this is amazing and very generous."
Monica beamed. "I hope they bring confidence to whomever receives
them. I think it's wonderful what you're doing. Now... if
you'll give me a moment to finish moving out a few things in
the parlor, we can start! I'll come back to this later."
She wrinkled her nose at the mess.
"Monica, JenniAnn and I aren't in any hurry," Andrew assured.
"Why don't you just let us help you box up what you..." He
rounded the corner and stopped, surprised to see that there was far
more than "a few things" in the other room.
The caseworker-turned-supervisor blushed. "No hurry?" she checked.
JenniAnn giggled. "No hurry at all."
Monica handed both Andrew and JenniAnn boxes and their work began.
An hour and a half later, Andrew
stood at the back of the Jolly Green. He ran his hand through his
hair. With his other arm, he held the last box.
"Maybe if we turn that box there on its side..." JenniAnn
suggested. She made an attempt but the boxes were so tightly
packed that she was afraid of setting off an avalanche of boxes.
I'll just hold it on my lap on the drive back."
"You won't mind?"
"Not at all. It's for a good cause!"
"I can't believe she had so many clothes!" the angel of death exclaimed.
"Hey, it's a lot more complicated to dress for us girls. Besides,
probly have tons of clothes, too, if people didn't, ya know... steal
some of them." JenniAnn grinned at him.
Andrew returned her smile. "True." He moved to the front of
the van and sat the box in the passenger seat. "So you ready for
"Sure. Let's head in."
Despite the angel's low-key response, JenniAnn knew he was
thrilled. This interview was yet another sign that his old friend
was truly back in his life and intended to remain there. The
subject Monica had chosen said as much.
When the two returned to the parlor, they found Monica tidying it
up. "There now, perfect," she declared as she set down a throw
pillow before turning to them. "So where would you like me to
"Wherever you're most comfortable, Monica, and then we'll situate
ourselves accordingly," JenniAnn responded.
Monica settled into an overstuffed floral print chair across from a
matching love seat which Andrew and JenniAnn claimed as soon as their
cameras were in order.
"Ready, Monica?" Andrew checked.
The Irish angel nodded eagerly.
"Great." The angel of death smiled at her and upon receiving a
nod from JenniAnn, began the interview. "Monica, you chose 'love
reconnected' for the theme of your first-ever Valentine's Dyeland
interview. Why that theme?"
"Because it's one I've considered very deeply over the past few years
and especially these last months. I also believe it's such a
hopeful theme. What's been lost can be found again.
Friendships can be repaired." She smiled tenderly at her
interviewer when she finished her response.
"I'm... I'm really glad they can," JenniAnn murmured, moved by the
sight of Andrew reaching across the coffee table and gently squeezing
his fellow angel's hand. She sighed contentedly, happy for them
both, then moved to the next question. "How do you know when it's
the right time to reconnect with someone you've lost touch with?"
"I think the truly right time is not to lose touch with them in the
first place. But sometimes... sometimes maybe we do need a little
time away to realize what a blessing... a true gift from the Father...
that we had and took for granted." Monica bowed her head.
"Some of us need more time to do that than we probably should."
"Monica... it's all right," Andrew assured, moved by the regretful
expression on the younger angel's face.
"Ah, Andrew, but it wasn't. You were there for me through so much
and when you needed a friend the most... after you were
homeless..." Tears flooded Monica's eyes.
Andrew crouched on the floor beside her chair and offered her a
handkerchief. "Monica, it's
okay. You're here now." He smiled brightly, hoping to cheer
"I'm sorry," JenniAnn whispered, wishing she'd asked something else,
Monica shook her head adamantly. "You shouldn't be,
JenniAnn. This is something I should talk about so I never make
the same mistake again." She returned Andrew's smile, gratefully
accepting the handkerchief from him. "Because I don't want to
away from my friend a second time."
As Monica hugged him, Andrew marveled at how right
everything seemed. Once released, he returned to his
beside JenniAnn. He abandoned the question he'd originally
planned, opting for one he knew was more important. The angel of death
refused to let his longtime friend carry the burden of their once
fractured friendship alone. "Monica, the
truth is it usually takes two people to damage a friendship... or any
relationship. With us... I know I made some mistakes. What
are some things everyone can do to ensure that their relationships stay
strong and close?"
"Well, I suppose..." Monica carefully considered how to answer
Andrew's question without hurting him. "As angels, it's our job
to deliver messages from the Father to His children. We
understand the power of words, of communication. But sometimes...
like everyone, we can lose sight of the importance of talking with our
friends. Or we may be afraid to hear what our friends say because
it might tell us that this person we look up to and admire... they have
doubts and heartbreaks, too. That can be frightening. And
I'm sure it's difficult for them, too." Without meaning to, she
found herself staring at Andrew.
The angel of death looked back at her with a tremulous smile. "It
is. But sometimes
the difficult things are the most important things to do."
Monica nodded. "I think that's the short version of my
answer. Sometimes friendships make for difficult work but it's
rewarding work. I know that now."
"Me too," Andrew agreed, brightening upon hearing her words.
"And he means it. He told me I'm stuck with him and I'm thinking
you are, too, Monica," JenniAnn teased.
Andrew chuckled, tilting his head toward JenniAnn as he smiled at
Monica. "One little lapse in eloquence and she won't let
me live it down."
"You did make yourself sound a wee bit like a punishment, Andrew,"
Monica pointed out, laughing as she did. "And I know you're not that,
"Yeah, well..." Andrew blushed, touched by Monica's words.
"I think we best give Andrew a break," JenniAnn concluded. "I
need him to finish this off with me tomorrow. So I spose I'll
give ya the next question, Monica. Obviously there can be many
rewards stemming from reconnecting with someone. What would you
say are the biggest ones?"
Monica contemplated her answer for a few moments. Her eyes lit up
and she turned to point to a photo of she and Andrew on St. Thomas
during the cruise the group had taken over the summer. "Well,
there's reclaiming a shared past. Remember how much Andrew and I
enjoyed watching those iguanas? And only he and Tess would ever
understand how they made me think of Fluffy. And then there are
the little things... the sound of your friend's laughter, the warmth of
their hugs. And often your old friends have made new friends in
the meantime and you get to become friends with them, too.
Without Andrew, I would never have met you, JenniAnn. Nor Yva or
Rose or Lady Beth. Not C.J. or any of the others."
"The circle," Andrew murmured, thinking back on his visit with Owen.
The two women looked curiously at their friend but as he continued to
smile to himself, they left him to his own thoughts for a few moments.
When he was ready, Andrew's smile fell on Monica. "That was a
great answer, Monica. Thanks. Now my last question is, in
your opinion, what's the best way to prevent drifting away from a
Monica peered intently at the angel of death. "As I said before,
communication is a
big part of it. But I also think it's important to never, ever
forget how much you love them and how much better you feel having them
as a friend. Because an eternity can be a very long time if
you're not stuck with anyone." She grinned mischeviously.
JenniAnn laughed, amused not only by Monica's remark but the delightful
sight of Andrew fully erupted in laughter. "Very, very good
response, Monica," she praised. It seemed to her that there were
few better ways to end an interview than with Andrew filled with joy
aware of just how loved he was.
Andrew suddenly stopped laughing, his head tilted to the side as he
stared at something across the room.
"What is it?" JenniAnn asked in alarm.
The angel of death pointed behind Monica who turned to find a
box that had gotten pushed beneath a table and was barely poking out
from beneath the cloth that covered it.
"Oh dear..." Monica frowned.
"It's all right, Monica." Andrew shrugged and went to retrieve
the box. "I'll go see if I
can somehow squeeze it into the van. I'll be right back."
Once he had left, JenniAnn busied herself packing up the cameras.
"Thank you for inviting me to do this." Monica set a hand on the
JenniAnn smiled at her. "Well, thanks for
letting us. Andrew clearly had a very good time."
"He's really happy here with all of you."
"Us," JenniAnn corrected. "All of us. You have a place
here, too, Monica."
"I know. And I've no intention of ever giving it up again.
I've been thinking, lately, of what you said to me that time in
how as a mortal, not knowing how much time you have..." The angel
abruptly stopped speaking, her
"Go on. It's okay, whatever you have to say," JenniAnn
encouraged. "Death can come quickly and... and
unexpectedly. Not talking about it won't change that. A
wise man once decried the fact that we don't talk about death much and,
thus, find it difficult to deal with grief. Let's not let his
death be reason to compound the problem."
Monica nodded, impressed with the woman's calm response and the words
she'd echoed. "Well, it was after you ended your phone call with
Andrew with 'Love you' and you explained that you never knew what life
might bring so you said what you could to him while you had time to say
it. I've realized that I need a little of that philosophy
myself. I can't take Andrew for granted simply because he and I
will never experience death. I am grateful for that lesson,
JenniAnn. And I am grateful to all of you for being there for my friend
when I couldn't bring myself to be. Because Andrew... he loves
you all so. Humans, I mean. And it
wasn't terribly often that love was returned. But here... here
he's surrounded by it. I'm sorry I was ever jealous of the
friendships all of you have with him, JenniAnn. I see now that
the Father saw fit to bless each of us with a true, gentle, loving
friend who has room in his heart for each of us."
JenniAnn nodded, too moved to speak between the import of Monica's
words and the image of Andrew as he came into view through the picture
window. The angel of death paused in the yard, tilted his head to
the heavens, and smiled, seeming to silently thank his Father for
JenniAnn rested her head on the box
in her lap and turned to look at the angel of death behind the
wheel. She smiled as he bopped his head to the song on the
radio. He'd kept it on a 60s station ever since noticing she drew
comfort from the era's music.
Andrew glanced over at his passenger, his face registering
concern. "Are you all right, Laja? Are you tired?
We've had a pretty hectic day so far."
The woman smiled dreamily. "Not tired. Just thinking."
"Do you realize how absolutely and completely loved you are by so many
The angel looked back out at the road. "I think..."
Andrew's voice cracked as he mused at how often the Dyelanders
touched him so deeply that he was left grasping for words that usually
came so easily. "I think," he tried again, "that you
all help me to realize it and accept it more and more every day.
And I'm really grateful for that. And I hope you all know that I
love you, too."
JenniAnn sighed when he glanced back over at her and she noticed a tear
sliding past the corners of his gentle smile. "We do, Andrew,"
she promised. "All of us."
Andrew nodded, content and brimming with love for the friends God had
Andrew and JenniAnn had agreed to once again meet
beneath his willow tree before starting their final day of
interviews. Though they'd planned for 2:15, JenniAnn settled
against the trunk at 2:00. She well knew Andrew's preference for
At 2:13, JenniAnn heard approaching footsteps and a moment later Andrew
pushed through the branches.
"Sorry I'm late, Laja," he apologized. "My assignment ran a
little long and..." The angel of death shook his head.
JenniAnn hugged him. "You're not late. Just a lil less
early than usual. It's okay. But what about your
assignment? Were you at the same one since ya left last night?"
"A difficult one?"
"Domestic violence," he muttered. "I think I convinced the woman
to get help, to leave but... you just never know. Sometimes I get
back. Tonight will be a big test for her." He stared at his
hands, unable to fathom how
anyone could use their own for such cruelty.
"Oh, Andrew..." In a practiced, tender gesture, JenniAnn took his
hands in hers.
The angel continued to stare at his hands, now intertwined with his
friend's. "How do you know to do that?" he asked quietly.
"You do it a lot: hold my hands when I'm agitated. It's
good. I'm glad," Andrew stressed, not wanting JenniAnn to become
self-conscious and draw
away. "And at times like this it means more than a hug but...
I've never told you that. So how did you know?"
JenniAnn blushed. "At points... before we met... I'd watch Touched and I'd see 'Andrew'
fiddling with something when he was distressed or just staring down at
his hands. And I always wanted someone to just grab them and
still them and hold them in their own and soothe him. I'm not
sure if that was
actually a tic of John's or just something he latched onto to play,
well, you. But by the time we met, I guess I'd imagined doing it
so many times it was just second nature. I kinda spent a lot of
time watching him and thinking 'What would I do now were I there and
"Andrew" was upset?' Turns out it wasn't as useless a thing to
consider as some thought..."
Andrew swallowed a lump in his throat, mentally adding an item to his
list of ways his life had been made easier because of one man.
"As for your assignment," JenniAnn continued, "I know you did
your best. And I'm sure it did her good to spend a little time
with a gentle, loving man."
"I hope so." The angel drew in a deep breath then smiled at his
friend. "So... love and art. I feel like they'd both do me
a lot of good right now. Where we headed?"
JenniAnn studied his ever-expressive face and eyes, worried by the
abrupt redirection. "You're sure you're okay? Because we
can wait a bit. Rose
isn't expecting us til 5:00."
"Laja, I would like nothing more than to do this right now." He
gently squeezed her hands. "Please. I can't just sit around
and wait. I'm praying but beyond that, there's nothing I can do
about my assignment unless the Father calls me again tonight.
Until then... Laja, I want to think about something good."
The pleading tone in his voice settled the matter for his friend.
"Then it's off to the Roseate for us," she responded, smiling
warmly at him.
It was a short walk and soon the two were entering the lower level of
the theatre which housed Dyeland's modest art
"I wanted to take you to an actual art museum," JenniAnn
explained. "I know our lil space probly isn't so amazing when
you've been to MOMA, the Tate, the Ufizzi, the Louvre, and more."
"Laja, are you kidding? I love our art museum!" Andrew
enthused. "True, we don't have any universally recognized
masterpieces. But I walk
through here and I see the prints of DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Titian,
and I think of all the fun we had collecting them so Vincent could have
the experience of being in a museum. And then there's the artwork
people in Dyeland created. The works by street artists we've
picked up during our travels... All art museums have artwork,
Laja. But this one has the most memories for me. I love
this place." To prove his point, Andrew eagerly entered the
He and JenniAnn explored the rooms together, reliving all the memories
hanging on the walls.
"So which are the ones I'm going to be interviewing you about?" the
angel asked, spinning around to take in the entire gallery and trying
to guess which his friend had chosen.
"None of these. My display is in here."
Andrew's eye brows arched as JenniAnn took his hand and pulled him into
a room he was sure was empty.
"Sibyll said I could use this as our very own little gallery for the
interview," she explained.
Andrew took in the sparse, all black room. It held only five
covered easels and their two cameras.
"This may be a lil difficult to shoot," JenniAnn realized. "But
maybe after we're done, we can just zoom into the pieces individually
but otherwise just do wide shots?"
"Sure," Andrew agreed, eager to go with anything that got the interview
started quickly. He was looking forward to seeing what five
pieces, out of eons of human-made art, JenniAnn had chosen to show
him. When both cameras were in place, the angel joined JenniAnn
at the first easel.
"Ready?" she asked.
"Very," he responded.
JenniAnn pulled the sheet off and admired the
Waterhouse print she'd revealed. "In
all fairness, what I took about love from this was actually more
related to the Tennyson poem. But since you're interviewing me
about art and not poetry, this'll do."
"The Lady of Shalott," Andrew
recognized. "You have a print in
your room. It's also where you got the name Willowveil from,
"Good memory. Yep. First line, third stanza."
"So what does it tell you about love?" the angel asked feeling a bit
apprehensive as he studied the girl in the boat. Occasional
English professor that he was, Andrew
knew the poem: girl falls in love with boy, boy is not interested, girl
dies via possible suicide.
The woman tilted her headed and studied the forlorn lady. "It
reminds me of how my thoughts on love have changed, actually. I
used to think this painting and the entire Lady of Shalott theme was
the most romantic thing ever. She fell madly in love with
Lancelot and when she couldn't have him... well, she died. I
don't think it was so much a suicide as just... passively fading
away. And, in my mind, that was romantic: believing
whole-heartedly that there was only one person for you. But
Andrew looked at JenniAnn hopefully.
"Now I've seen too much grief to find that stance defensible. The
Lady was isolated but, in the real world, most of us are not.
Even if it sometimes seems that way. We're all connected and a
death can deeply impact us all. Life is important. Even
when it's painful and angsty. I mean she could have focused all
her love for Lancelot into her art. Or turned it outward,
reaching out to others. She could have shown the world that true,
agapic love that asks for nothing in return exists still. But she
didn't. So now the painting reminds me of how *not* to be in
love. If, God forbid, I could never see you again...
I'd still want to live for you and the memories of what we'd once
shared... tell your story, not die for you."
Andrew let out a deep breath he hadn't realized he'd been
holding. Whatever self-destructive force JenniAnn's love for him
had once unleashed in herself, it was apparently conquered. "I am
so glad to hear you say that," he confessed, hugging her.
JenniAnn beamed at him. "Poor love. I've really put you
through the emotional ringer these past 11 years!"
Andrew shrugged and shot her a good-natured smile. "I'll get over
it. In a few millennia. With lots of counseling."
Laughing and rolling her eyes, JenniAnn waved him over to a second
easel. "This one is
far happier." She removed the cloth. "The Artist and
Her Daughter by Marie Louise Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun."
Andrew smiled at the happy painter and her little one. "So
what does this one say to you about love?"
"I just adore how happy both mother and daughter look. You can
tell they love each other very much. It reminds me of being
little when love was very simple. Affection always came
easy. I mean look at the lil girl's hand at her mother's
neck." JenniAnn's own hand hovered over the child's.
"It's so sweet. I sometimes miss the days of thinking my mom
could make everything bad not so bad at all. And when I look
at this, well, it gives me hope that someday I'll be able to give my
one that sort of assurance... even if only for a little while."
The angel squeezed her shoulder. "I believe you will, Laja.
And I, for one, am going to have a great time watching you as a
mom. And I'm counting on babysitting. You know, giving them
lots of candy right before bed. Jumping on the couches...
Football in the house."
JenniAnn laughed. "I'd like to think you're joking but something
tells me you're not."
Andrew shrugged, a mischievous smile lighting up his face.
"Well, let's move on before you have any more time to further your
diabolical plans. So..." JenniAnn turned to the third
easel. "Behold, Gustav Klimt's The
The angel's face lit up. "I knew you'd pick this one. You
have it on a dress. I remember because you wore it last year when
interviewed Vincent, Catherine, Father, and Owen."
"Good man! Actually remembering what a girl wore. Quite
"Well... it's not every day you see someone running around in Klimt."
JenniAnn laughed. "I spose not. I really do love the
painting. To be honest, I mostly like the colors. But also
how love is depicted. Golden and warm. And... well,
clingy. They're lost in each other. It may not be my
particular brand of romantic love, being so physically passionate and
without those aspects of love... yours truly would not exist and, much
worse, the entire
human race would long since have died out. And you, my friend,
would just have to find some other species to feed you red velvet cake
and keep you calm on Halloween."
"And that would make me very, very sad. Although I'd miss the
company and the hugs much more than cake," Andrew insisted.
JenniAnn paused to hug him. "I know." She smiled up at the
angel then turned back to the painting. "Anyhow, I wanted to for
sure get this one in here cause I think people should know that even if
a person has chosen... or was born with... a celibate life style, it
doesn't mean they can't appreciate the value of romantic love. I
mean Monica goes nutty over weddings. And I know you still value
it even though you don't feel it or want it."
Andrew nodded adamantly after chuckling at JenniAnn's
all-too-fitting description of Monica. "Sure do. Romantic
love is a great, beautiful thing. It's God-given. I've
loved being able to see some great couples fall in love and stay in
love. It's inspiring. Think about the couples in our own
lives. Yva and Sir Sven, Vincent and Catherine, Mick and Beth,
their love and dedication to each other is heart-warming to see.
And they can teach us all so much about things like commitment,
compromise, devotion. Those aren't qualities only necessary to
"Don't I know it. Cause I see em an awful lot in you."
Andrew blushed. "Thanks, Laja."
"Only telling the truth," was her demure response.
"So anything else on The Kiss?"
"Naw, I think that'll do it. And now I have to get the fourth
piece of art outta my purse."
Andrew's eye brows arched as JenniAnn dug through her bag, one of the
few aspects of her life that defied her organization and his
comprehension, and withdrew a folded
piece of paper which she placed on the easel. It was an ink
drawing, old-fashioned. The subject was a distraught young woman,
slouched in her chair with her head on the
top of her vanity. Above the piece of furniture hung a round
mirror. Instead of a reflection, it depicted a masculine angel
peering down at her and looking as if he was trying to speak to her.
JenniAnn stood beside the real-life angel, studying the image with
found it once in a book of angel clip-art in a chapter on 19th century
graphic art. Uncredited. I've
scoured the Internet for it, hoping to find the artist, but never
did. My guess is some person without renown drew it. But I
don't care if it's not famous. I love it. I like to think
that the two know each other, love each other even. In their own
ways. And she's sad because sometimes her angel needs to be away."
"But he's never really away," Andrew interjected, his voice soft and
assuring. He knew that when JenniAnn looked at the drawing, she
didn't see two unknown subjects but themselves. "And he
hopes she always remembers that. And he
also hopes she knows that even when he's not physically with her... and
her unpictured friends... he's still thinking of them and loving them."
"She does know. They all do. Sometimes it's just
hard." JenniAnn bowed her head for a moment before smiling at
Andrew. "But worth it."
"Good." Andrew beamed.
"Tis. And... it's also good that you don't have wings like he
does. None of your flannel shirts would fit. And our hands
would get all
feathery when we hugged you."
Andrew burst out laughing. "You know, those are two things I just
don't think about. But you're completely right, Laja. So
you have for your final piece of art depicting love?"
"Well... for this last one I'm not entirely sure the artist intended to
show love. But I do feel it when I see it." The woman
pulled the last sheet away.
"Monet's The Artist's Garden at
Giverny," Andrew recognized.
"Yep. Originally I picked it cause I was going to say that it
reminded me of that first day we met you in the Fields of Gold.
And how that was the beginning of the greatest adventure in love in my
life. And that... it's still true. But I've found myself
looking at it a lot lately. In a different way. It
reminds me of what I think Heaven looks like. On Friday, after
you left for the evening, I found myself staring at it. And I
imagined all the people I've
cared about who have gone Home gathered in a place like that."
Andrew noticed immediately as tears welled in JenniAnn's eyes. He
knew better than to say anything. She was speaking of a sacred
moment and he dared not interrupt. Silently, he wrapped his arm
around her shoulders.
"And they were happy and so alive, Andrew." JenniAnn smiled up at
him through her tears. "And I suddenly had this vision of some
petals and leaves falling from the trees. And as they fell around
the people, they laughed and their faces... the biggest, truest smiles
I've ever seen! And I realized they experienced them as a
sorta... caress from God and from those of us still here. They
could feel love in the way I can feel heat or the breeze.
Tangible and comforting and bliss-inducing. It gave me peace
because I realized that you were right. That love... love is what
binds us together.
Not just 'til death do us part.' But forever. And I
realized that I could, in my heart, leave them there in that wonderful,
gorgeous place and go on in this place... still loving them, still
feeling their love."
Andrew had no response. None was needed. His friend's words
were the only way to end the segment and he didn't trust
his own voice in any case.
So he left the cameras rolling for a few minutes as he and JenniAnn
stared at the print, remembering and willing their love to those on
the other side.
JenniAnn was quiet as
Andrew drove down a dirt road bordering the Fields of Gold on the way
to Nadezhda. But the angel knew she'd speak soon.
She always did when they came that way.
"There!" JenniAnn cried, pointing out the window to a nondescript spot
in the Fields. "There's where we first really met."
Andrew smiled. "It'll be eleven years on St. Patrick's Day."
"I wish all the others that were with us that day were still here in
Dyeland. But I'm also glad that so many people have come
since. Yva and C.J. and Lady Beth and Rose. My
cousins. Your friends. Eli. Mick, Beth, Josef, and
Logan. Willy. Nigel. And now Monica's come
"My hair's come back..." the angel added with a grin.
JenniAnn giggled. "I liked your short haircut, too. But,
yes, your long hair's comeback was much applauded."
"Thank you for your support of my hair experimentation," Andrew
teased. "Hey, do you remember how thrilled you were when Rose
"Yes! We hadn't had a new human come for well over a year.
We were getting overrun with angels!" JenniAnn glanced over at
the angel, grinning and happy to see him smiling, too. "And it
was good to not be the baby of the group any more. But mostly...
I was glad to have a new friend." She looked wistfully at the
field as they glided by. "Sometimes it all seems like
yesterday. I've been thinking a lot about one of my favorite
quotes lately. It's from Chaim Potok's The Chosen. 'As you
grow older you will discover that the most important things that will
happen to you will often come as a result of silly things.' It is
silly in a way, isn't it? I'm only here because my teenage self
turned on a TV show and developed a crush. And yet... so much
that's important to me is here: all of you."
The angel nodded sagely. "I've been thinking about that a lot
myself: how almost every connection, every friendship here somehow
circles back to Touched and
what John did there. Even the ones that began before 1996... they
wouldn't be the same without him. You made that pretty clear
JenniAnn smiled, marveling at it all. "It's appropriate that the
timing of these interviews worked out the way it did. We never
intended it but the last two interviews for this year revolve around
what art teaches us about love, how it impacts how we experience
love. Paintings and drawings for me, movies for Rose.
Because, really, that's what this entire eleven years has been about."
"How the love one actor brought to a role gave life to a loving, caring
community of friends," Andrew summarized, his voice strong and full of
admiration and gratitude.
"And we'll love him forever for that and so much more," JenniAnn
"We will," the angel agreed. He smiled encouragingly at his
friend before parking the van and setting off to conclude their
Andrew and JenniAnn were barely out of the boat before Rose came
running towards them.
"Woo hoo! You're here! And just in time. We just
finished taking the cookies out of the oven," she greeted, hugging each
"Cookies?" Andrew asked as his face lit up.
"Yes. Several different kinds. Mostly to donate but we made
plenty for everyone here, too. We even decided to try something
new. Something you, Amish Boy, I think will especially like,"
JenniAnn giggled. "Way to build up the suspense, Rose.
Sounds awesome. So how are you and your aunt?"
"Great! Now that it's not so bitterly cold, my aunt's having an
easier time getting around. And everything... it's just
happier. It's good to know warm weather and flowers and green
trees are right around the corner," the younger woman answered as she
led her friends into the house. "How about you two? You
just finished your interview right, JenniAnn?"
"Uh huh. It was... pretty moving. The interviewer was
stellar." JenniAnn cast a sly smile at Andrew.
Andrew wrinkled his noise showily. "I thought he was dressed
very unprofessionally. Who conducts an interview wearing jeans
and a well-worn beige sweater?"
"Cool people," Rose responded without missing a beat, causing the angel
"I can't even be self-deprecating any more without you two making me
blush!" Andrew complained as he chuckled and smiled at Rose.
"Are you two picking on Andrew again?" Josephine called from the door
Andrew grinned and nodded vigorously.
Josephine laughed. "Well, then come on in, Andrew. I'll
protect you. And I'm sure my niece has already told you that we
have some cookies to share."
Andrew hugged the elderly woman. "She has. Although your
company would have been reason enough to come, Josephine."
"Such a sweetheart," she replied, patting his cheek. "Now, come
on. The weather's definitely improving but it's still a bit
chilly and you've been on the water. Let's get you warmed
up." She tugged Andrew's sleeve and the two girls followed him
JenniAnn inhaled deeply as she took off her coat. "I can't tell
what kinda cookies ya both made but they definitely smell yummy."
"C'mon!" Rose called, waving them into the kitchen.
Once clustered into the small but cozy room, Andrew and JenniAnn noted
several tins of cookies cooling. Several more remained on cooling
racks. The angel of death immediately noticed some bright red
cookies with pale frosting.
"Are those what I think they are?" he asked.
Rose picked one up and handed it to him then retrieved another for
JenniAnn. "Why don't you try one and see?"
Andrew dutifully obeyed, savoring each bite. "Definitely red
velvet and really delicious red velvet at that. It's
amazing." He hugged both bakers. "Thanks for sharing.
Means a lot."
"We're not done!" Josephine insisted, touched as she often was by how
much the smallest things meant to Andrew. "Help yourselves.
And, so long as you have time, we can go sit in the parlor and snack as
"We definitely have time," Andrew assured, always eager to spend time
visiting with his friends.
For the next hour, the four chatted until it was time for Josephine to
leave for a sewing class she was teaching with Tess.
"Thanks for all you've been doing, Andrew," the old woman whispered as
he helped her into her coat as they stood near the front door.
"You've been there for the girls an
awful lot this month, I know."
Andrew hugged her. "You've all been there for me so many times
before. And I feel like... no, I know that I belong here."
Josephine beamed at him. "Thatta boy." She grabbed a tin
and handed it to him. "Red velvet cookies for later. Take
"Thank you, Josephine, you too."
When a polite knock sounded at the door, Josephine opened it to reveal
"Hello, Josephine! Ready for our adventure? And
Andrew! I hoped you would be here, Angel Boy. Happy
she greeted warmly, entering just long enough to embrace him.
"You too, Tess. Headed to a sewing class, I hear."
Tess nodded. "At the same church I was at yesterday. I'll
get them settled yet. With Josephine to help."
"I've known you long enough to know not to doubt you on that,
Tess!" Andrew smiled confidently at her. "But we'll still
see you tomorrow,
"Wouldn't miss it for the world," the elder angel vowed, hugging him
Josephine clasped his hand. "Tell
Rose I'll be back by 9:00. You three have a good
"Same to you, Josephine. Have fun with your thimbles and threads
things, both of you," Andrew called as they made their way to Tess'
smiled after them as they drove off then re-entered the house.
Returning to the parlor, Andrew found Rose and JenniAnn had already set
up the cameras and were seated in the appropriate positions. He
smiled. "I take it you're ready to get going?"
Rose nodded excitedly. "I was kind of hoping we could get through
this a little quickly and then actually watch a movie. I mean, if
you're not too busy with editing or assignments."
Andrew turned away for a moment, not wanting his friends to see the
worry on his face as he thought about his past... and tentatively
future... assignment, Olivia. Once he'd regained his composure,
he smiled affectionately at the younger of his two friends.
"I hope we can make it work.
And I guess that's my cue to get going." He flipped on the
cameras then took a seat beside JenniAnn. "So, Rose, what's the
first movie somehow related to love that you
remember seeing?" he asked.
Rose laughed. "Well, I'm trying to decide whether to tell you
this. You're gonna laugh
"Try me," Andrew responded. "I've seen more than my share of
embarrassing movies. Even been in one. I was an alien once,
His interviewee laughed. "That puts it in perspective,
thanks. The movie would probably be Robin Hood. You know,
the cartoon by
Disney with the fox and rabbits and all the animals?"
"Aww!" JenniAnn cooed, remembering her own Disney-centric childhood.
"I still love that
movie," Rose admitted. She tilted her head and stared at Andrew.
"Something wrong?" he checked.
"I was just thinking that you'd make a very good Robin Hood,
Andrew. Green is your color, after all."
The angel of death wrinkled his nose. "Tights are itchy. I
did my time with them back during the Renaissance. Never again."
This revelation sent both of the women into a fit of laughter.
Andrew blushed. "I suppose I should thank the Father that there
were no cameras back then so Eli can't sneak photos to you."
"No, but there may be some paintings around. Sketches.
Maybe even a tapestry," JenniAnn teased.
"You do realize I have your mother's number on speed dial and I think
she'd be more than happy to let me borrow your baby book," Andrew
threatened, smiling sweetly.
Rose laughed even more when JenniAnn folded her arms across her
chest. "I think he's got you, JenniAnn."
JenniAnn sighed dramatically. "Well then... I shall just move
onto the next question and not dignify my blackmailing co-interviewer
with a response."
JenniAnn proceeded, her face betraying her amusement and relief at
Andrew's happy demeanor after the morning he'd had. "So..."
She smiled brightly at Rose. "What's the most romantic movie
“The Notebook, hands
down," the younger woman replied, needing no time to consider her
answer. "I love
that movie! It's one of my
favorites. It makes me cry every time. I can watch that
movie any time.
And, plus, I love Noah's hat."
"Suddenly my last birthday present makes a lot of sense," Andrew mused,
looking mischeviously at Rose.
She smiled at him. "Hey, it's a good look."
"And it is a good movie," JenniAnn agreed. "Although not so much
for Andrew's shirts which tend to get eye shadow and such on the
shoulders during viewing of that movie, thanks to weepy friends."
"Poor Andrew. How many times have you gotten 'watered' since you
came to Dyeland?"
The angel of death shrugged and smiled good-naturedly. "I don't
mind. Maybe it'll make me grow. I think I'd like to be as
tall as Adam."
"Aww, you're perfect just as ya are, Andrew," JenniAnn assured, hugging
Rose nodded in fierce agreement and moved to hug him herself.
"Thanks." Andrew beamed at them both,
touched though not surprised by their assurances. The Dyelanders
were always quick to lay to rest any little self-doubt or detrimental
thought he had about himself. Not to mention their unfailing
support when he simply needed some cheering, as he did right
then. Their friendship had taught him so
much and so, with ease, he came up with his follow-up question.
"Rose, what would you say is the best lesson you've ever
learned about love from a film?"
"I've learned a lot of things and I don't know that I can pin it down
any one movie. But I'd say that you should fight for it," she
insisted. "It doesn't
matter what kind of love it is. If you love somebody, if they
something to you, then don't let them go. Strengthen your
with them and let your love grow. Love is a wonderful thing, no
what kind it is. If you love somebody, then that's a special
you should take care of it."
Andrew looked proudly at her, the youngest of the Dyelanders.
"Well said, Rose. That sounds a lot like something the Father
might have us say to an assignment."
"It really is a beautiful message," JenniAnn agreed
whole-heartedly. "Our little group is filled with evidence for
it. Unfortunately... well, not all movies teach such lovely
lessons. So... are there any movies that just make ya cringe
what they seem to be saying about love?
"I'm sure there are some, but I can't really think of one off
Probably cause I don't watch it."
"Wise move," Andrew interjected.
Rose smiled at him. "Wait. Does Twilight count? Yeah,
that counts. But I can't really say much about it because I
really seen all of it."
"That's more than I have. I've never seen any of it. All I
know is that a girl loves a vampire and the vampire is sparkly at
times." JenniAnn shrugged disinterestedly. "Call me crazy
but I think glowing is so much more of an attractive trait than
"Yep. A vast improvement," Rose readily assented, eying the angel
of death with a bemused expression on her face.
Andrew, who had taken a sip of the tea Josephine had given him earlier,
struggled to swallow upon hearing the pointed remark. "You
two..." he squeaked out.
"Well, it is!" JenniAnn cried.
Rose laughed. "Andrew, I'm going to have to agree with
JenniAnn. You're far more attractive than Edward. I'm
definitely Team Andrew."
"Ditto," her friend echoed.
Blushing, Andrew replaced his mug on the coffee table and shook his
head. "Do you two plan these exchanges?"
"Nope, just comes naturally." Rose smiled beatifically at him.
The angel of death chuckled. "Well... I think it's about time we
wrap this interview up before you permanently turn me red. So my
final question for you, Rose, is... if you could pick any movie to
watch with your friends... hint, hint... for Valentine's what movie
would you pick and why?"
"Aww, how about Robin Hood?"
she suggested. "We all know that one of the greatest love
songs of all time is the theme song from that movie. Or maybe
of a romantic comedy. Something funny, because then we could all
and laugh together."
JenniAnn smiled tenderly at her friend. "I think that sounds like
a perfect thing to do right now. Cause being together and
relaxing and having a good time sounds really
"It does," Andrew agreed. He paused to glance at his pocket
watch. Olivia's husband wasn't due back for another two
hours. He sent another silent prayer to the Father then turned to
Rose. "Well, so are we watching animated
foxes fall in love or hilarious dating hijinks ensue?"
"Animated foxes falling in love," Rose decided. She ran to get
the movie and the three settled in to enjoy her childhood favorite and
each other's company.
At points during the film, Andrew glanced at his pocket watch; mentally
converting the time to match Olivia's time zone. He prayed that
the call would not come then thanked the Father for the two friends on
either side of him, keeping him company as he waited.
The woman paced in her bedroom,
occasionally glancing at the empty suitcase on the bed. She
replayed the church worker's words from earlier: "We can get you
help. We can get you out of here. I know a shelter, a good
shelter. I can take you there right now. You deserve better
than this, Olivia. God wants a better love for you. This...
it's not love." She'd blushed when he'd gently touched her
bruised chin. It was the only tender touch she'd felt from a man
since her husband had begun hitting her only days after their wedding
the prior year.
But the man didn't understand. He didn't know. He wasn't a
poor woman with minimal education and no job prospects. She
couldn't support herself. And how was he to know she deserved
better? He didn't know the mistakes she'd made in her life!
Defeated, Olivia plopped onto the bed and turned on the TV. She
clicked past the block of sports channels and stopped at the first
decent thing she saw. It looked to be a period piece.
1930s. Soft jazz was playing. Two men, one unseen, were at
a bar. A glamorous, though embittered seeming, African American
woman stepped into the club. Olivia smiled. She recognized
it. She had watched Touched by
an Angel religiously during her high school years.
The woman watched, enthralled, as the TV angel approached the
distraught Billie Holiday. A quiet gasp escaped her lips as he
tenderly raised the singer's bowed head. She instantly thought of
the church worker. He'd even looked considerably like the fellow
in the fedora. It struck her then that they had the same name:
Olivia was transfixed, moved by the compassion so evident on the
actor's face as he delivered his lines to "Billie." A tear slid
down Olivia's cheek as he spoke: "If they're gonna call you lady, they
oughtta treat you like one."
The viewer found herself nodding. If it was true for Ms. Holiday,
it was true for her. She deserved better, just like first the man
and then the angel had said. She sprang up from the bed and
grabbed the phone, fishing out the card the man... Andrew.. had given
her. When a woman answered, the words came spilling out.
"I... I need to leave my husband. Tonight. He... he beat me
last night and I'm afraid tonight..." Olivia began to sob but
quickly regained control of herself, knowing she had to remain calm
long enough to make her escape. "He gets off work in two hours
and I don't have a car but I need to leave and... a man named Andrew
said if I called this number then someone could help. C-can
someone come get me?"
"Of course," a soothing female voice responded. "Could I get your
"Olivia. Olivia Hanson."
"Olivia, my name is Catherine Wells and I'm going to send someone over
to pick you up right now, okay? Now, if I could just get your
Olivia was surprised at the calmness she felt as she relayed the
information to the woman on the phone, packing as she did. The
peace stayed with her when there was a knock at her door and another
woman named Cira helped her load her two bags into her car.
As she was driven away from the scene of so many unhappy memories and
towards freedom, Olivia slunk back against the car seat and whispered a
prayer of thanksgiving for the gentle church worker and the TV angel.
The two documentarians had left
Rose's home after sharing dinner with her, helped to deliver some goods
to the men's shelter in New York, and stopped at the Phoenix to drop
off Monica's donations. It was there that the last of Andrew's
concern fell away when, as he'd unloaded the van, he'd felt someone tap
his shoulder and turned to see Olivia, smiling tearfully but proudly at
The memory of her hug and the amazing story of who had, at last, pushed
her to leave her abuser continued to warm the angel's heart as he and
JenniAnn returned to Willowveil and focused on
editing their film. After midnight, they finished watching the
entire documentary. The check
for rough cuts and technical problems hadn't turned up anything.
flowed perfectly. As always, it was a beautiful, funny,
moving testament to the love between friends and family.
There was only one more thing to do.
JenniAnn stared at the candle near the window as Andrew dragged the
last segment into place on the video software.
"You ready?" he checked, reaching for her hand.
Wearied and both sad and inspired, the woman nodded then rested her
head on the angel's shoulder as the final scene and the familiar music
Their inspiration, their muse, and their teacher smiled from the
screen. He lobbed snowballs and walked down the aisle. He
hid beneath a blanket and fell, suit and all, into a pool... causing
the two viewers to laugh. He meditated and got into a bar
fight. He celebrated his birthday and embraced his estranged
mother. He ran to wounded men, sang "Jingle Bells," and held a
frightened orphan; drawing a ragged sigh from the woman who was quickly
embraced by the angel. And then they watched, smiling, as he
danced with an umbrella, played the piano as history was made in a jazz
club, and, surrounded by light and smiling, took his assignment by the
hand and went Home. As the video faded to black, the words of the
beloved song echoed in the otherwise quiet room.
"When you walk from this place
and you gotta go to meet Him,
it's time to meet Him, face to face.
Take my hand and I will walk with you.
Oh, oh, walk with you
till the clouds fade away.
I tell you I'll walk with you,
each and every day.
Oh, yes, I'll walk with you."
next morning arrived far more quickly than JenniAnn would have
liked. She fumbled around her kitchen, dazed as she started the
coffee. She cursed herself for not going to bed earlier as Andrew
so wisely advised. Just as she was sitting down with her cup of
coffee, the phone rang.
"Good morning and happy Valentine's Day!" a chipper voice greeted.
JenniAnn smiled, feeling more energized simply by hearing his
"Good morning and happy Valentine's to you, too, Andrew. What's
"Have you been outside yet?"
"Well, no. I'm not even dressed. Still in my pajamas and
"Doesn't matter. I've seen your pajamas. They have my name
and my nicknames on them. Cat's outta the bag, Laja. You
gotta come outside."
"My hair's a mess."
"You've seen me in dreadlocks. And also with little girls'
barrettes in my hair."
Giggling, JenniAnn relented. "Fine, I'm coming out." She
flipped the phone shut then grabbed a second cup of coffee though it
like Andrew needed it. Once she had her boots tied, she shuffled
out the front door and froze on the door step. It was warm.
Not some middling temperature they'd all agreed to
consider warm because it was at least above freezing. But truly
warm. And the sun
blazed in the bluest sky JenniAnn had seen in weeks.
"Isn't it beautiful?"
She turned to see Andrew seated on the porch swing.
"Gorgeous," she agreed, joining him and handing him his cup of coffee.
"Thanks. So aren't you glad you came outside?" the angel asked
with a grin.
JenniAnn smiled at him then out to the yard. "Yes. If this
keeps up, everything will be green again very soon."
"I know it still looks like winter but since it doesn't feel like it...
how would you feel about relocating the party at the Cafe to the Fields
of Gold? We could go for a nature walk. It'd do the kids
good after all that snow New York got."
"I think it'd do a certain AOD good, too."
Andrew smiled. "It would. And maybe a certain other person
seated on this porch. We could bring a big sheet and tie it to a
couple of trees and show the documentary on that. I can carry the
projector. And we'll do picnic lunches."
JenniAnn drew in a deep breath and closed her eyes, imagining it truly
was Spring and the difficult winter was behind them. "Sure," she
agreed. "I'll call everyone in Asteri and the Sibling
Cities. You take Selini and Ilios. I really can't imagine
anyone will object."
Andrew hugged her. "Thanks, Laja."
"Thanks for thinking of the idea. It really will be nice to spend
the day outside, in a place that means so much. And you're right
about the kids. They've been stir crazy so..." JenniAnn
raised her mug. "To a wonderful Valentine's nature walk and
The angel of death clinked his mug against hers and a flurry of
telephone calls ensued.
By noon, the Dyelanders and their
friends were nearly through the woods and to the Fields of Gold.
"Look," Rose whispered, pointing a few paces ahead.
"Aww," JenniAnn cooed.
Yva smiled. "That's really adorable."
The three continued to watch as Andrew led the group.
A few of the Tunnel children were directly behind him, making a game of
following exactly in his footsteps with their tiny shoe prints nestled
in the larger ones left by his boots. Naturally, Rose stopped to
take a photo of the prints.
"I can see it!" a small voice shrieked.
"Just hold on," Andrew warned. "No running. We don't want
anyone to slip in the mud and get hurt. You can run once we get
the the Fields and there's some padding."
Soon enough, the entire group was congregated in the Fields of
Gold. As the children ran around, shrieking with delight, the
adults more calmly set lunch out on the picnic tables. They
waited for a while, understanding the children's need to exert some
energy and soak in the sun. Many even joined them in their games
of tag and Hide-and-Go-Seek. But soon the kids were complaining
of hunger and so the picnic lunch began.
After the meal had ended and the dishes were cleared away and put back
into the baskets, Andrew and JenniAnn stood in front of their gathered
"Andrew and I just wanted to thank all of you for being a part of
this," JenniAnn began. "Whether you were interviewed or not, you
were all part of the precious memories that we attempted to capture in
this year's little film. We're thankful for the friendship and
love we experience with all of you and see amongst all of you and this
year... this year that's been so, so important." She became weepy
and looked to Andrew for help.
The angel hugged her and smiled out at the group. "I've been
thinking a lot... and I think we all have... about why we're
here. And about what a difference a single person can make, even
to those they've never met. The message 'God loves you' is a
powerful one. And it doesn't surprise me that admiration for a
man who spoke those words not just on a TV show but with his life
brought so many of you together. JenniAnn and I would like to
dedicate this year's documentary to John and to the God he loved and
Father. Thank you and happy Valentine's day."
With that, the two sat back down amongst their friends and the film
began. They all watched as their interviews played out.
was footage, too, of the cruise many of them had taken which had
breathed new life into their friendships: Andrew and Adam with
their Bahamanian dreadlocks, Tess fussing over Andrew's "tattoo,"
members of the group all taking turns on the dance floor. The
Tunnel children's theatrical performances were featured, drawing proud
smiles from the little players who were pleased to be included.
Several in the crowd relived the fun of helping to fix up a women's
counseling center in Iowa along with the sense of camaraderie and
absolute love they'd felt as they supported Andrew during that most
difficult case. Halloween turned into Thanksgiving and then to
Christmas when the entire group had joined together to celebrate and to
look forward to a future together. Their impromptu get-together
at Willy's offered the most current views of the bulk of the group
together. And, of course, there was the footage Eli had shot of
the adorably hopscotch-challenged angel who blushed but smiled
good-naturedly as it was shown. The last segment of the
Dyelanders had been recorded the evening before and showed Andrew and
some helpers readying the Jolly Green for a trip to New York for the
first deliveries of the items they had collected. And then,
because he had
inspired them to reach out in such a way, the video transitioned to
their tribute to John Dye... the one who had brought the loving
After the video had ended, the group remained in the Fields of Gold for
some time to catch up and enjoy each other's companionship.
Andrew and JenniAnn were making plans with Mick to pick up some items
for delivery to California when they heard a whooping noise and turned
to see Shelby running to them.
The little girl tugged at Andrew's shirt. "I saw flowers!" she
cried, excitedly pointing to where the forest began. "Come see!"
The two adults were skeptical. One warm day was hardly enough
get flowers to bloom. However, they didn't want to upset the
little girl so they each took one of the hands she offered and allowed
themselves to be led.
"Aren't they pretty?" Shelby asked as she pointed to a spot beneath a
"Oh God..." JenniAnn whispered as she began to shake and feel
dizzy. She reached out for a nearby tree to steady herself.
"Laja..." Andrew approached and set a hand on her shoulder.
Surprised and a little frightened by her teacher's brimming eyes and
unsteadiness, Shelby ran off.
"G-go tell her it's okay, Andrew. Please," JenniAnn
requested. "I'm fine." She didn't take her eyes off the
After some hesitation, the angel left. He hugged and assured the
little girl her teacher was fine and that she'd done nothing wrong then
returned to JenniAnn. Andrew brought Lady Beth, Yva, and Rose
with him. The three women wondered what had come over
their stricken friend. Then they saw. Recalling their
earlier conversation with JenniAnn, they
stared unblinking at the cluster of three daffodils.
"Those... they shouldn't be blooming yet," Yva finally got out.
"Nothing else is," Rose added, shaking her head in disbelief.
They turned to Andrew, hoping for an explanation. They were
surprised to see that, though there were tears in his eyes, he was
smiling. He reached for JenniAnn's hand.
"Laja, when we talked about the daffodils, what you said... about them
symbolizing unrequitedness... I didn't think it was wrong. But it
seemed... incomplete somehow. So last night, after you went to
bed and the video was finished, I went into the library at Willowveil
and looked at your book about flower meanings. And it turns out
the unrequited association is only a small part of what the daffodil
stands for. It also means regard, new beginnings, rebirth,
and..." The angel drew in a deep breath and for a moment peered
at the heavens. His gaze then rested tenderly upon each of his
friends. "The last meaning listed was 'eternal life.'"
The women turned from their friend to again stare at the bright yellow
flowers, each of the three utterly perfect.
Andrew pulled them all into a hug. "It's like he said: 'On one
side there is life. And on the other... there's life, too,'" he
quoted. "The Father sent you these flowers. They're His
valentine to you, His beloved children... and His reminder that John
and all those we love do live forever, eternally with Him and eternally
loved by Him."
The shock fell away from the women's faces and was replaced by peaceful
happiness as they looked upon the symbols of hope and life sprouting
from the barren ground of winter. When they looked up to offer
thanks, still huddled together, they saw a dove flying far above
them. It was yet another reminder of the man who had brought them
together, of the message he strove so passionately to impart: God loves
you and death is not the end but the beginning of forever. They
were messages they would carry with them through out their lives,
perpetuating the endless circle of compassionate love that he had
until it was time to, like him, finally see the truth behind the words
and live forever with the One he had served so beautifully.
Author's note: On Wednesday,
January 12th, still in shock and
incredibly sad, I walked into my office and stared at what was sitting
on the front desk. Each week we get a new flower arrangement for
the main lobby. For weeks, the arrangement had featured wintery
flowers of bold reds and evergreen. There was nothing "springy"
or light about them. Until the 12th when there were three
For at least the past few years, I have incorporated some daffodil
symbolism in the stories for the reasons JenniAnn explains. So it
probably comes as no surprise that when I saw them that morning, they
made me think of John Dye without whom we would never have had
Andrew. It's possible, of course, that the flowers chosen were
simply the whim of a florist across town. But I like to think, as
Andrew says, that the idea came from God and that they were "His
reminder that John and all those we love do live forever, eternally
with Him and eternally loved by Him." Whatever force brought
those flowers that day just when I most needed to see them, whether
human or divine, I do believe that. Mr. Dye now lives
eternally with God in His love.
God bless you all,
Tour of Duty
"Happy Together" by the Turtles, composed by Alan Gordon and Garry
"I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March, composed by Frank Pourcel,
Paul Mauriat, Norman Gimbel
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship
of the Ring
"Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" by Ada R. Habershon and Charles H.
Gabriel, reworked by A. P. Carter
"The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
The Lady of Shalott by John
The Artist and Her Daughter by
Marie Louise Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun.
Gustav Klimt's The Kiss
Monet's The Artist's Garden at
Chaim Potok's The Chosen
Disney's Robin Hood
Once Upon a Christmas
Twice Upon a Christmas
Best of the Best
"Walk with You" by Della Reese & The Verity All-Stars, composed by
Marc Lichtman and Martha Williamson
Note: JenniAnn's reference to
John Dye's quote about death and grieving comes from the book Touched by an Angel: Stories from
the Hit Television Series! In it, he wrote: "Actually, I
like the role [of Andrew] because death isn't something we talk about
much in America. As a nation, we find it difficult to mourn or
grieve, labeling tears a sign of weakness. Because of that,
Andrew is a rather loud character, helping us face something we would
Like LJA, I've found that listening to "hippie music" has really helped
me during this time. So this year I don't so much have a
soundtrack as the songs that held me together enough to write this
story. Some directly tie in, others don't.
- "Bookends" by Simon & Garfunkel- Seemed like an
appropriate opening cantation.
- "The Times They Are a Changin'" by Keb' Mo'- This may be my
favorite "hippie song" but this version is actually my favorite and it
seemed appropriate to include the "Angel of Music" here.
- "Let It Rain" by Eric Clapton- Just really like it.
And it moves from a sad place to a far more uplifting one.
- "Happy Together" by the Turtles- This song just made me
happy. And I could imagine LJA redirecting it to Andrew.
- "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March- Another from the
"just makes me happy" files.
- "Get Together" by the Youngbloods- Love this song. And
it fit in so well with the spirit of going out and doing good things
- "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles- It's a romantic
song. But given all the non-romantic hand-holding that happens in
this story... I'm including it.
- "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum- Whenever I started
feeling really upset, I played this and sang along... really
loudly. It helped.
- "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan- The verses don't
whole lotta relevance but I feel like knocking on heaven's door is
pretty much what parts of this story were trying to do.
- "Woodstock" by Joni Mitchell- Love this song. It has a
dreamy quality to it that makes it hard to get too depressed.
Just wistful which is pretty much my reigning emotion these days.
- "Turn! Turn! Turn!" by the Byrds- It's long reminded me of
JD not just cause of its being Vietnam era but also cause of Andrew in
"Crisis of Faith." It played on the radio the first time I really
ventured outside of the comfort of home and office after his
death. I was touched and encouraged.
- "The Sounds of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel- A sad one
but a good one. Reminds me of Doc's disillusionment. In
case you can't tell, I'm kinda hung up on Doc. We never got
closure with him, either.
- "Chimes of Freedom" by the Byrds- Totally makes me think of
Doc and, thus, fits well for the Andrew and Roger scene.
- "Blowin' in the Wind" by Joan Baez- Needed a female voice
and just like this song. Reminds me of Doc.
- "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield- Another
favorite of mine from the era.
- "Let's Live for Today" by the Grass Roots- This is what I
imagined Andrew bopping along to in the car. Cause it does make
ya bop and it's a fun mental image given the ah... sensual nature of
the verses. :-)
- "Carry On" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young- The first
couple minutes just grabbed me and seemed so apropos. I can
imagine that part, before all the lover stuff, being played over a
montage of the Dyelanders collecting their donations and then Andrew
doling them out.
- "Beautiful City" from Godspell- Godspell makes me
happy. And this song fits well with the whole doing good theme.
- "All I Know" by Art Garfunkel- I've had this song stuck in
my head at random points since January 11th. Cause I honestly
didn't know what to do with JABB without John. All my plans
really did seem to have fallen through. But as the song goes
"When the singer's gone, let the song go on. It's a fine line
between the darkness and the dawn. They say in the darkest night,
there's a light beyond."
- "Walk with You"- That added verse really gets me
- "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles- If this were filmed,
I'd play this after they find the daffodils. Because things will
get better. John would want it to.
- "Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" by the 5th Dimension-
It's just been stuck in my head. Good thing I like it!
Maybe for the end credits. Let the sunshine in...
(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.)