"May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.

May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you."
~Irish Blessing

Okay!  So here are the answers!  Right below this is the complete list of episode titles used.  TBAA episodes are in blue and ToD in gray.  There were a total of 41.  Then I've also gone through the original newsletter and highlighted where they were in the story.  For those like "Angel of Death" that popped up multiple times, I only highlighted the first. ~Jenni

Episode Titles:
Fear Not!
Full Circle
Pandora's Box
Tour of Duty
Last Call
Angel of Death
Doc Hock
Something Blue
As It Is in Heaven
Secrets and Lies
At Risk
Forget Me Not
Voice of an Angel
The Word
Angel of Mercy
The Short Timer
The Pact
Sleeping Dogs
What Are Friends For?
Quality Time
On Edge
Cloud Nine
For What It's Worth
A Joyful Noise
I Am an Angel
Tough Love
I Do
The Invitation
True Confessions
Fool for Love
The Hero
The Hill
I Am What I Am
Under Siege
The Feather
The Journalist
Only Connect
Thanks for the Memories

Hi all,

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Well... close enough.  If I waited til March 17th, this'd be late.  As many of you may know, St. Patrick's Day doubles as Andrew's anniversary of first coming to Dyeland in 2000.  So I thought I'd write this story to celebrate that happy occasion.  (But fear not!  It's not one of those ream-long tomes.  ;-)  I'd actually written of that meeting before in JABB 159 but more from LJA's recollections.  This is more Andrew's view of the events as well as Tess' and Monica's with a sorta everyone coming full circle kinda vibe.  In addition, March 20th is Past Assignments Day when we remember Andrew's assignments.  So this story also kinda involves the assignment that became "Pandora's Box."

And there's more!!!

It's been forever since we've had a contest.  And I think we could all use a lil fun and games.  So this newsletter is one!  Within this page, I have embedded episode titles from Touched and Tour of Duty... including in this intro.  Whomever finds the most will get a prize.

First, the rules:
1.  The episode titles used are as listed on http://www.
touched.com and http://www.tourofdutyinfo.com.  Punctuation, spacing, and capitalization have been altered with some, however.  For example, let's say there'd been an episode entitled "Seeing Red."  I might, in the story, write "The man said, 'I'm having a hard time seeing.  Red, hand me those glasses, will ya?"  The fact that there's a period in between "seeing" and "red" is meaningless.  It would still count.

2.  Each title counts only once.  If one’s repeated, it doesn’t count each time.

3.  I did not restrict myself to only the titles of episodes John Dye appeared in.  They could be titles from any season during TBAA's 9 year run and ToD's 3 years.

4.  There is no bonus for being the first to respond so take your time.  However,
last call for your answers is March 19th at 7 PM Central to be eligible for a prize.  So I must have them in my inbox by then.

5.  In the event of a tie, each person in the running will be sent a tie-breaker.  Once we get it narrowed down to one winner, that winner gets the prize.

6.  Send your answers to jenni@onthisside.net.

7.  I cannot give any hints on the total number of titles in this in the interest of fairness.  If someone does have a question that I can answer, I will post the answer right here so everyone has equal access to it.

8.  Please check out http://www.contests.onthisside.net/contest.html for further information including prize options.

9.  Only JABB members are eligible.  So please don't forward this on to complete strangers who may then expect a prize.  Thanks!

Have fun and good luck!

God bless,

In the Fields of Gold

March 17, 2011

Andrew stood in front of his closet, looking for something to wear along with the jeans and plain white T-shirt he'd already chosen.  The angel was taking more care in selecting his clothing than he usually did.  Today was a big day.  Eleven years ago that afternoon, his life had changed forever.  In a matter of hours, the angel of death had gone from anger and horror to a bemused sort of wonder.  That fateful day had not only made possible several treasured friendships but served as a testament to the Father's perfect timing and care for His children, human and angel.
As he thought about the implications of March 17, 2000; Andrew continued to peruse his wardrobe.  Finally his hand settled on a green shirt he didn't recognize.  No doubt one of the girls had bought it for him and stuck it in there without his knowledge, he reasoned.  He pulled it from the closet then moved to the mirror, holding it in front of him.  The angel promptly burst out laughing and shook his head at his reflection.  The shirt was actually more of a tunic with flowers embroidered around a neckline which was pulled together by leather laces.

"Oh, Laja and Rose, clearly you'd been watching just a little too much Doc Hock the day you bought this," he mused, glancing at a photograph of his friends then back into the mirror.  "Maybe for Halloween...  Our your birthdays."  Still chuckling, Andrew returned the shirt to the closet and continued his hunt.

The angel's gaze finally settled on a rather worn, blue button-down shirt.  It was the shirt he'd been wearing that first day with the Dyelanders.  Andrew never paid much attention to his clothes but JenniAnn did.  Thus, every time she saw the shirt, she reminded him of its significance.  Though wearing something blue as opposed to green on St. Patrick's Day didn't strike the angel of death as very festive, it still seemed appropriate.  As Andrew put the shirt on, he let his mind wander back to that all-important day in the Fields of Gold.

March 17, 2000


Andrew drank in the fresh air and the beauty of the woods surrounding him.  He was grateful that the Father had heard his prayer and brought him to such a stunning, calming place.  It was exactly what he needed.  "Almost as beautiful as it is in Heaven," he murmured appreciatively.
Then the angel of death's thoughts turned to his current assignment which, after several days' work, had come to a head the afternoon before.  Feeling wearied, he lay down on the grass and closed his eyes.  He thanked the Father again that he and Sarah's family had swiftly reached the apartment where her abductor was keeping her.  But the fact that she'd come so close to being seriously harmed...  That left the angel feeling nauseated and angry.  Andrew couldn't fathom hurting a child.  It was unthinkable and made him want to lash out... and he had.  He blushed when he remembered how he'd grabbed the baseball bat from Dean and smashed his computer to pieces.  It hadn't been planned.  The anger had simply overwhelmed him.

Andrew's ire wasn't only directed at Dean.  The truth was the case had hardly been the angel's first experience with the dark side of the Internet with all its secrets and lies.  The misuse of it had put many innocents at risk.  Sadly, Sarah's ordeal had been far from Andrew's worst cyber crime case.  With others there hadn't been a frantic race and rescue.  He hadn't been able to save every child.  Not every "Dean" was promptly arrested.  Not every predator's computer wound up in useless pieces.

Andrew considered it an honor t
o be chosen to care for and accompany humans as they transitioned from one life to the next.  But sometimes he ached with the wish to arrive only a few minutes earlier so he could intervene.  He would never change his role unless the Father asked him to, of course.  But to be able to protect humans, to help them face life... 

The angel of death shook his head, chastising himself.  He felt guilty for wallowing in what he saw as self-pity.  He
cherished the moments he could protect his assignments and he clung to the memory of them when other assignments troubled and pained him.  And with Sarah he'd been given a chance to help save a life.  He knew he should focus on that.  Whatever other assignments involved, Sarah was safe.

 "Thank You, Father," he prayed, meaning it with all his heart, soul, and spirit.  He sat up and moved to his feet, praising the Father as he admired the myriad daffodils, wild roses, and forget-me-nots and the birds flying so gracefully through the clouds. 
Suddenly, the near-silence was pierced by a woman's lyrical voice.  She had the voice of an angel and, appropriately enough given the date, she was singing a song of Irish persuasion.  It wasn't one Andrew recognized yet he felt drawn to it.  He wished that Monica and Tess were with him to enjoy it.  The angel of death walked in the direction the voice seemed to be coming from.  As he grew nearer, the words became clearer.  He thought he heard his own name.  But then there were many humans named Andrew and surely the song was about one of them.  Nonetheless, it was a beautiful song and the angel continued to listen.

“Andrew’s hair’s more golden than the Irish sun
His heart is gracious, befitting an angelic one.
His bonny voice speaks words forever true
As he tells of God’s enduring love for you.”

Andrew had to admit to himself that the verse seemed to rule out a human Andrew as the subject...  "Father?  Is that... *is* she singing about me?" he called out, blushing as he did.  He didn't so much receive an outright answer as feel a nudge towards the voice.  The thought crossed his mind that, perhaps, Monica was playing angel of mercy and having it sung as some sort of joke or mood-booster.  Curious and compelled, the shocked and curious man kept walking through the trees.

After a few moments, Andrew exited the woods and found himself at the edge of a field.  It was populated by a group of about twenty people, including the songstress.  The divine nudge continued, pushing him to join them.  Blushing as the gushing song continued, the angel approached.
March 17, 2011

And that was how it all began.  At first, the Dyelanders had questioned him.  They had been all too eager to believe he was who he said he was but they were also rightly cautious.  Only Princess JenniAnn... now simply Laja... had believed him instantly.  What Andrew hadn't known then and what she hadn't been ready to admit was that she had known he existed since seeing him when she was four.  For thirteen years she had waited for him to find her.  He finally had... just when he had most needed to feel protective and when she and her friends were most in need of a guide during the tumultuous transition to adulthood.  The Father's perfect timing at work!  Those He'd brought together had become a family.
There had, of course, been the short timers who resided in Dyeland only for a brief spell.  Andrew took a few moments to remember them fondly and pray for them.  But for eleven years JenniAnn had stayed true to the pact of friendship she'd made with him.  Then, as years passed, Yva, C.J., Lady Beth, and Rose joined them.  The Tunnel dwellers.  The Los Angeles crowd.  Assorted family members.  Willy and his people.  Nigel.  Aunt Josephine.  All blessings.  For the first time in his long life, the angel of death found himself regularly surrounded by humans who loved him with all their hearts.  And, through them, the Father had given him exactly what he had wished for.  He had helped them through life, he had protected them.  And they had returned the favor countless times.  When the more difficult assignments came, Andrew knew he only had to return to Dyeland and a hug, a kind word, a listening ear, or a token of affection would be waiting for him.

Gazing upwards, Andrew smiled and thanked the Father for his friends... all of them.  Because now he was truly blessed to have not only the Dyelanders but Monica and Tess back, too. 
Still smiling, Andrew consulted his pocket watch.  It was thirty minutes until the anniversary party was set to begin.  The angel grabbed a bag of memory books he'd created for his friends.  Then he whistled for the sleeping dogs, Fawn and Lulu, who were curled up on his bed and they set off to meet up with his friends.


While Andrew was making his way to the Fields of Gold, the Dyelanders and others of his friends were already gathered there preparing a surprise for him.  Though they typically only gave each other small, homemade gifts to commemorate the day; this year would be different.  Many of those close to Andrew had leaned heavily on him for support during the new year and they wanted to show him how grateful they were.  Thus, they had opted to pool their resources and get him a very special present... but first he'd have to find it.

Rose stuck a scrap of paper into a tree hole long abandoned by the owl who had once resided there.  "Got it!"

JenniAnn smiled at her.  "Thanks, Rose.  I just couldn't reach it.  Sometimes it's not so great being short.  And I couldn't exactly call Andrew for help this time like I usually do!"

"What are friends for?" Rose replied with a smile.  "And you're right.  You definitely couldn't call Andrew!  It's not much fun setting up your own scavenger hunt.  How long do you think it's going to take for him to get through this?"

The older woman shrugged.  "Dunno.  But even if it takes all day, I'll enjoy watching him!  I can just feel that today's gonna be awesome.  All of us together.  And Monica and Tess, too.  He'll be thrilled.  By the present, of course, but probly even more so just having quality time with all of us."

"I know!  That's so Andrew.  But, speaking of Monica and Tess, do you ever wonder what it was like for them eleven years ago?  I mean Andrew just showing up and saying 'Oh, by the way, I met some girls in another world.'"

JenniAnn laughed.  "Well, I think he mighta been a lil more circumspect about it.  But, yeah, I have thought about it and I can't say I really know.  I mean he eventually brought em here and they weren't, like, totally shocked.  So he musta told em at some point prior to that.  Maybe... could we ask Tess, ya think?"

"She seemed perfectly willing to answer our questions about Andrew's 'infancy' back in Iowa.  Why not?"  Rose tilted her head towards where Tess and Monica were helping Yva lay out some miniature pots of gold filled with chocolate coins and rainbow-colored candies that Willy had supplied.

"Are you done hiding the clues, babies?" Tess inquired when Rose and JenniAnn reached her.  "I think it's really sweet what you've got planned for our Angel Boy."

"He deserves it," Yva opined, her eyes lighting up as she imagined the angel's reaction. 

"That he does," JenniAnn agreed.  "I think Adam and Henry are still hiding their clues, Tess. 
But, yeah, Rose and I are finished with ours.  So we came over here cause..."  She looked at her younger friend.

"We have a question for you, Tess.  And you, too, Monica," Rose continued.  "JenniAnn and I were just talking about when Andrew first came here.  He was still working with you and we just wondered... how did he tell you about Dyeland?"

"Of course, maybe he didn't right away.  I mean it was probly a lil embarrassing.  Most of us who were there at the time were goofy teenagers."  JenniAnn blushed.  She had a suspicion she'd been the goofiest.

Tess folded her arms and looked sternly at the woman.  "You know better than that, JenniAnn.  Andrew was never embarrassed by any of you.  He may have been a little surprised but he could never be ashamed of his friends, not even new ones and not even goofy teenaged ones.  As it happened, he told us the very next day.  I still remember it very well."

Monica nodded.  "We were wrapping up an assignment.  It had been a nerve-wracking one for us all but I think Andrew was especially on edge.  We'd agreed to meet.  Spend some time together.  Tess and I hoped to cheer him up a bit.  But then when Andrew showed up... we sensed something had changed for him."

"In a good way, I hope," Yva commented.  Though she hadn't yet come to Dyeland in 2000, she didn't want to think Andrew had been in any way stressed by the goings on there from so early on.

Tess beamed.  "A very good way.  Angel Boy was on cloud nine."  Then, with a smile, she began to tell her story.

March 18, 2000

Monica and Tess sat at a picnic table, waiting for Andrew.  They looked nervously at each other.

Monica was first to break the silence.  "It's not as if it was completely uncalled for, Tess.  I mean he didn't hurt anyone.  Or even any evidence.  For what it's worth, all of that was safe on the hard drive."

"I know, baby.  But the whole computer smashing thing... it's not exactly standard-issue Angel Boy."  Tess frowned then looked around the park, hoping to glimpse the angel of death.  Though it was still early, even for the ever-punctual Andrew, she was growing nervous.  With a resigned sigh, she looked back at Monica.  "I'm not angry at him and neither is the Father.  Andrew didn't do anything wrong.  But I am concerned."

The caseworker nodded, her aspect grave.  Tess was right.  She'd briefly seen Andrew after the police had finished questioning him about how he'd come upon Dean.  He hadn't seemed at all himself.  But Monica was confident that whatever was most troubling him, he would shake it off.  Andrew always did.

"Here he comes," Tess announced in a hushed tone when she saw her Angel Boy approaching.  Her eyes grew wide in pleasant surprise when she realized he was humming.  She hadn't expected such a joyful noise from her troubled friend.

"Ah, that sounds Irish!" Monica whispered.  "He must be happy.  Maybe he had a very pleasant St. Patrick's Day assignment."

"Maybe..." Tess continued to marvel at Andrew's vastly improved mood.  Even when he stopped humming upon drawing near them, the angel kept smiling.

"Monica, Tess," Andrew greeted, leaning down to hug each of them.  "Beautiful day, isn't it?"  He smiled up at the sun. 

"It sure is," Tess agreed.  "How are you, Angel Boy?"  She patted his hand once he'd slid onto the bench across from her and Monica.

Andrew smiled sheepishly.  He recognized the impromptu meeting for what it was.  He knew his behavior at Dean's apartment had alarmed and worried his friends.  "I'm doing much better, Tess.  Thank you.  And how about yourself?"

"Real good, baby, real good.  And real glad to hear you are, too.  Monica and I, we were, well..." Tess glanced at Monica, silently beseeching back-up.

The caseworker looked intently at the Andrew.  "We were just a wee bit concerned that maybe you weren't quite at peace with what happened with Sarah."

Andrew frowned.  "Well, I can't say I really am.  Not completely.  Because I know she's only one of many children who will find themselves in that position.  And some... some won't be found in time."  He bowed his head and rubbed his neck, momentarily overcome by his memories. 

"Andrew..." Tess cooed, moving from her side of the table to sit next to Andrew and wrap her arms around him.

"I'm okay, Tess.  I mean... it's hard, you know.  But something..."  A smile returned to Andrew's face.  "Something happened yesterday.  And I think... well, I think it could be something really great.  I'm still not sure what to make of it but..."  He shook his head, grinning.

Monica and Tess looked at each other, both making it clear they had no idea what their friend was talking about.

"Well, what is it?" Tess prompted.

"Yesterday I was thinking over everything that happened with Sarah and Dean.  And I began to wish that more often I could... well, that I could stop my assignments from being hurt.  I am an angel of death. 
And you both know I'm happy about that.  It's an honor.  And I love serving the Father and helping humans in that way but sometimes..."  Andrew subtly shook his head.  "Sometimes I just want to protect them.  But what I did in Dean's apartment... it's the exception, not the rule.  Often all I can do is take them Home."

"Baby, that's no small thing," Tess stressed.

Andrew nodded.  "I know, Tess, I know.  But I want to help my assignments to face life.  That's why I'm so grateful the Father is letting me do some caseworking again.  But even with that blessing... sometimes it's still really hard.  And He... He knows that.  I always knew He had to know.  But yesterday..." 

Tess tilted her head and studied Andrew as he gazed up at the sky, smiling lovingly as he thought of the Father.  She could sense that something momentous had happened to him. 
A promotion, maybe?  Her heart sank as she thought of Andrew possibly moving on and not working with her and Monica any longer.  She began to wish she hadn't so often unleashed her tough love on him but instead held him close.  She wanted desperately to know what was going on but also knew it was not the time to rush her longtime friend.  Blessedly, she was not left to wait long.

"The Father sent me to the woods.  To walk, to think, to pray.  They were woods I'd been in before.  He brings me there sometimes when things are difficult to bear," the angel of death continued.

Monica tried to hide her surprise.  She'd never imagined that Andrew often struggled to the point of needing to be whisked away to a forest retreat.  She caught him looking at her with concern and forced a smile.  "Go on, Andrew."

"Every other time I've been there, I never ran into anyone else.  But this time... I heard a song.  And..."  The angel of death's cheeks became pink.  He opted not to explain that the ballad was actually about him.  "And I followed the voice into a clearing.  There were about twenty people there.  And they all knew me."

Monica and Tess exchanged alarmed glances.  Was it possible Andrew's former assignments had somehow met up and congregated?  If yes, why?

"Not me really.  From the TV show," Andrew elaborated, sensing his friends' confusion.  He smiled slyly.  "We'll have to see if I live up to that portrayal.  I hope I do because... they invited me back.  I thought maybe they were just being polite but this morning the invitation for their viewing of tomorrow night's episode of Touched by an Angel... something called 'True Confessions' apparently... showed up at the cyber cafe.  I'm not sure how... but it did.  And then the Father said I'm supposed to go, to spend time with them.  He said I'd be spending a fair amount of time there, actually.  With them."

Tess wasn't at all sure what to make of Andrew's story although she was relieved it didn't seem to involve him ceasing to work cases with her and Monica.  Nonetheless, it was certainly the strangest assignment she'd ever heard of.  "Are they all sick with something, baby?" she asked gently.  She recalled how beautifully Andrew had handled their assignment at the camp for HIV positive girls and wondered if this one was similar.

Andrew shook his head.  "No, Tess.  The Father said they weren't assignments.  Just that I was supposed to be there for them.  Make friends with them."

As the angel of death zoned out, recalling the previous day, Monica and Tess again exchanged silent glances.  This was certainly unexpected and, beyond that, unheard of.  An angel of death sent only to befriend a bunch of humans?  Monica was opening her mouth to question Andrew, thinking surely he'd misunderstood, when he began to muse quietly.

"They knew who I was," he marveled, folding his hands and resting his chin on them.  "They knew what I was.  An angel of death.  And they weren't afraid.  They didn't want me to leave.  They asked me to come back."

Again Monica and Tess looked at each other, agreeing without speaking.  Whatever had happened to their friend, it obviously meant a lot to him.  Questions could wait.

March 17, 2011

"Aww!" the three women exclaimed in unison as Monica and Tess finished their story.

"What's Andrew gone and done now?" Adam asked as he approached with Henry at his side.

"Are we that predictable?" Yva teased.

"You bet," Henry responded for his friend. 

JenniAnn shrugged.  "What can I say?  I'm a fool for lovely and beloved Andrew.  And I think I'm entitled to be sappy on our anniversary."

Adam chuckled.  "That you are.  So what was that 'awwing' about, anyway?"

"Tess and Monica were telling us about how Andrew told them about his coming to Dyeland," Rose explained.  "So how he'd tell you two?"

Adam tilted his head.  "Let's see... I think he came up to me after an assignment and said 'Hey buddy, I met some girls in another world.'"  He grinned devilishly.

Rose burst out laughing.  "You were listening when JenniAnn and I were talking earlier, weren't you?"

Henry chuckled.  "Not deliberately.  But we passed nearby when we were hiding one of the clues."  He checked his pocket watch.  "So where is the hero of the hour?  It's almost 2:55.  Didn't you tell him 3:00?"

Before anyone could respond, Andrew came into view, traipsing down the hill with Fawn and Lulu trotting after him.

JenniAnn watched as the angel drew closer and closer to the spot where they'd first spoken to each other.

Rose noticed her friend growing antsy.  "You want to run to the spot and meet him, don't you?"

The blonde woman nodded, blushing.  "I am what I am... and I am a sap."

"Run, sap, run," Rose teasingly prodded, gently pushing JenniAnn.

Needing no further encouragement, JenniAnn set off running. 

The Tunnel children quickly noted the reason for their teacher's crazed behavior and also sprinted towards the angel of death.

Rose and Yva looked at each other.

"Might as well!" the latter declared, jetting off with Rose.

C.J. and Lady Beth, who had been visiting with Vincent and Catherine, soon realized what was going on and followed.

"Well, I don't think this need be a solely human activity," Monica mused, smiling playfully at the three other angels standing near her.  A moment later they, too, were making their way across the field in haste.

The commotion distracted Andrew from the dogs' antics.  He looked up, noticed he was under siege, and began to laugh.  Then he set down his bag of gifts, braced himself, and held open his arms.

With her head start, JenniAnn reached him first.  "Happy anniversary, Andrew!" she cried, settling into his waiting hug.  "It's the same shirt..." she recognized dreamily.

Andrew smiled knowingly from ear to ear.  "It is.  And happy anniversary to you, too, Laja.  Am I late?" he asked, noticing that virtually all of their mutual friends were either in the field or darting towards them.

JenniAnn shook her head.  "No... we told you a later time cause... we have a surprise for you and we needed to prepare."

Andrew looked suspiciously at her.  "Laja, I hope you all didn't go overbo..."  Before he could finish his thought, the angel saw that the throng was very near.  He grinned.  "Feeling steady on your feet?"

The woman nodded, giddily staring up at him.  "Uh huh."

"Good because we're about to get stampeded."

A moment later they had several urchins vying for hugs and shouting well wishes which were echoed by the adults who quickly came up behind them.  In no time at all, Andrew was swept up in a seemingly endless series of hugs and loving, appreciative words.

The party hadn't even officially started but Andrew already knew it would be the best anniversary yet.


After everyone had settled down, Yva ceremoniously presented Andrew with the first clue of his scavenger hunt.  Within an hour, he had made his way through their entire set of hints save the final one...

"The feathered ones will seek home in a nest, under rocks are where scaly ones rest," Andrew read aloud.  "All God's creatures have their own special place, go to the fish's and you'll finish this race."  He looked doubtfully at his friends, his nose wrinkled.  "You want me to go jump in the lake?"

Lady Beth laughed.  "Well, if you want to... sure.  But it might still be a little chilly.  Something tells me you won't have to, though.  Just go look."

Genuinely excited by the prospect of discovering the surprise his friends had spent so much time and energy on, Andrew sprinted over to the lake with the others following.  In no time at all, he noticed a box of green and gold sitting at the center of the fishing dock.  The chatter amongst the group died down and they all looked expectantly at him.

"Well, open it!" C.J. encouraged. 

The angel of death sat down on the dock and tore the wrapping paper away.  He slid the top off the box and stared in wonder at the contents.  Andrew's voice was quiet when he finally spoke, only those nearest hearing him.  "This... it's... wow... it's really... too much."  He dragged his hand through his hair.  "I just... I made little memory books."

Rose, Yva, JenniAnn, C.J., and Lady Beth moved to join their friend on the dock.

JenniAnn shook her head and knelt beside the angel.  "No, Andrew, this gift's not too much at all.  It's something we could do for you and wanted to do for you.  Because we love you and you've always done whatever you could to show us you love us.  Like with the memory books.  Andrew, you pasted and wrote and painted love onto every single page."

Don't sell yourself short, Amish Boy.  We love them.  They're just as good as our gift.  They're both about making and sharing memories.  Andrew, we like to see you happy and excited," Rose added.  "And you always do seem both when you're off playing the journalist with JenniAnn at Valentine's."

"So why make it an only once a year and whenever it's appropriate for an assignment thing?" Yva queried.  "Now you have your very own camera that you can take with you whenever you want."

C.J. nodded.  "We knew you'd never take the community ones because you're always so concerned someone might need it while you're gone.  Now you won't have to worry about that."

The five women could all tell Andrew was still wary.  He was examining the camera and admiring the features so they knew he was pleased, only overwhelmed by the extravagance of it.

A thought crossed Lady Beth's mind.  "It's a little bit of a selfish gift, I'm afraid."

Andrew looked up at her in surprise.  He'd worked often enough in the retail and technology fields to know the camera had cost a small fortune and, even divided several ways, had no doubt entailed some sacrifice and extra work.

"I mean it does function as a web cam," Lady Beth pointed out.  "So... maybe you're gone on an assignment for a few weeks..."

"Days," Rose corrected.

"Hours," JenniAnn revised.

Yva laughed.  "You're going to turn the poor guy's life into a reality TV show at that rate."

C.J. grimaced.  "Terrible idea.  But Lady Beth has a point, Andrew.  This camera is a way for us to stay in touch.  I mean even if we're only connected by a couple of web cams and the Internet... that's better than nothing."

Andrew couldn't tell if they'd purchased the gift because of the reason C.J. and Lady Beth had just stated or if they were only trying to reassure him.  But whether they'd bought it for him as a means to see him even when he was a world away or because they simply wanted to bring him joy, the camera and mostly the love behind it meant a great deal to him.  "Thank you, I love it.  And I love all of you," he affirmed, pulling them into a group hug.

Then Andrew carefully packed the camera back into the box and stepped off the dock where many more hugs awaited him.


As the afternoon progressed, Andrew took his camera from the box.  He made the rounds of the party; getting footage of happy couples dancing, the children playing Hide-and-Go-Seek and Charades, Monica teaching Irish step-dancing, and Tess, Yva, and Adam leading a festive sing-a-long.  He loved knowing that he was capturing such blissful moments for future enjoyment and recollection.  Filming also forced him to stay in the moment, focused only on his friends and his Father's creation.  He was truly happy behind the camera, just as his friends had surmised.

Then came a sunset dinner after which the group all gathered together around a bonfire as Vincent read Irish fairy stories.  When the storyteller took a brief break, JenniAnn approached the angel of death and handed him a mug of cocoa before taking a seat beside him. 

"Thank you, Laja."

"You're welcome.  How's the tripod working?"

Andrew glanced over at his camera, perfectly steady, and then smiled back at his friend.  "Really great.  You all thought of everything."

"People were pretty adamant about that particular 'extra.'  We wanted to ensure that at least sometimes your arms would be free for hugging, dancing, holding small children.  That sorta thing." 
JenniAnn grinned when she saw some red creep into the angel's face.  "So did you have a good anniversary, Andrew?"

"The best, Laja.  I still can't believe what you all did..."  He looked in disbelief at the camera.  "Tess tells me Monica gave up the occasional mocha to be able to pitch in!  And I know that's only one example of what you all did."

JenniAnn shrugged.  "Like I said, you deserve it and more, Andrew.  Everyone wanted to do something for you."  She smiled and surveyed the many people surrounding them.  Moved, she squeezed his hand.  "Of the group that were here that first day eleven years ago, you and I are the only ones still around a lot.  That used to make me sad.  And I still miss the others.  But look... we have an awfully great group right now, don't we?"

Andrew nodded.  "We really do."  He noticed Monica and Tess chatting animatedly with the children and thought back to that day in the park when he'd first shared his news with them.  Andrew could recall the excitement and joy he'd felt in the beginning.  But he had not been able to imagine then just how much his time in Dyeland would come to mean to him.  He had made so many friends and, due in part to their influence, enjoyed reunions with some old ones.  The angel smiled and hugged his friend.  "
I feel very, very blessed.  Thanks for the memories."

Returning the hug, JenniAnn wistfully replied, "Thanks for being here."

"Always," Andrew promised her.  Then he looked to the stars and thanked the Father for all the joy, peace, understanding, and love each of the people gathered in the Fields of Gold had brought to him.  Though it had only been eleven years since he had come there, Andrew knew that the blessings they had brought to him would be with him for all eternity.

The End
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(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.)