flaws are necessary for the whole.
It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks."
I'm just gonna level with ya'll
and admit that pretty much all I feel
like doing with these newsletters lately is writing cute "moment with
Andrew" stories in
which Andrew does or says something adorable or, even better, has heaps
of love and affection poured upon him. It could be worse... for a
while there all I wanted to write were stories in which Andrew curled
up on a couch with his blankie and cookies and milk and was fawned over
by adoring women... yay women's lib! Angsty beat poetry was also
seeming real tempting. If only I had a black turtle neck and a
With complete seriousness now,
in the wake of John Dye's passing, I
just really can't deal with any of the more dramatic stories that
inevitably involve Andrew suffering or sad. And top tens and such
just aren't coming real easy. I don't suspect this is a permanent
state. Just part of the grieving process/acclimating to our new
reality as a fan group for someone who has passed on. But for
right now that's where things stand. I hope it doesn't alienate a
buncha people as I know not everyone really cares about Dyeland.
I will try, in the text of the stories, to explain points that may not
be clear. But Andrew is Andrew and I hope, if people want to,
they can read these stories simply for him without having to worry
about some massive backstory with the other characters. As
always, ask questions if ya like.
I still believe that John left
behind so much to inspire us that JABB
can go on for a very long time. It'll just take a while to find
our footing. But with God's help, I know we will.
As I wait for that guidance...
you can read about Andrew's views on
his shorts. ;-)
A Shorts Story
"'Come, as thou cam’st a
thousand times, a messenger from radiant climes, and smile on thy
new world, and be as kind to others as to me!'" JenniAnn read as she
sat beneath the willow tree in Andrew's front yard.
foot away, the angel
himself was sprawled on the lawn. His head was inclined slightly
towards JenniAnn, evidence that he was listening. But his gaze
was trained on the beautifully blue sky and the sunlight as it peeked
through the tree's branches. One shoe was balanced on the toe of
other, the uppermost one swaying to birdsong or, perhaps, some tune
lodged in his head.
friend smiled to see
him so calm and content and continued her recitation. "'Or, as
thou never cam’st in sooth, come now, and let me dream it truth, and
part my hair, and kiss my brow, and say, My love why sufferest
thou?'" Usually deeply touched by Matthew Arnold's words,
JenniAnn was surprised to find herself giggling. The
juxtaposition of a very casual Andrew with the elegantly spoken angel
of the poem amused her.
Andrew sat up
and looked around. "Did I miss something?" he asked after finding
no source for JenniAnn's abrupt laughter.
head. "No. It was all in my head. It's only... well,
I was thinking about how you don't talk much like the angel in the
poem. I mean not now. Maybe you did once."
head, showily thinking back over his long history. "You know...
seems to me
I've utterest a few such things."
even used 'my love'
before," Andrew continued nonchalantly, tilting his chin up to look at
the branches but stealing a glance at the woman beside him.
looked at the
leaned nearer to
her, smiling devilishly. "Of course, you know her as Lulu."
swatted his arm. "Andrew! It's not exactly the same when
applied to your dog."
Andrew could defend himself, a breeze struck up. The hot wind
blew the willow's
branches about; reminding the two hidden beneath it what a sticky,
unseasonably warm day it was.
the wind had died down, JenniAnn noticed that Andrew had extended his
arm to shield her from the whipping willows. She
beamed at him and brushed some of his hair back into place.
"No problem. And thanks for that. I'd like to look
presentable when the other girls show up."
"Andrew, I've never seen you not look
presentable. But speaking
of our friends... I hope they didn't get blown about as they walked
here. Hey, what time
is it, anyway?"
pocket watch. "I'm sure they're fine. It's
only 5:14 and we told them we're leaving sometime between 5:00 and 5:30
which means they should be here soon. And then we'll head to
Adam's concert. You know, I'm really looking forward to
seeing him tackle a bunch of old folk songs."
too. And I'm
glad he has an assignment so suited to his interests. That must
help. *And* I'm even more glad he's in NYC so we can pay him
a visit. Which reminds me... Catherine said it's pretty hot
in New York, too," JenniAnn relayed, gazing up at the sun.
"I hope everyone comes dressed lightly. We wouldn't
want anyone passing out there!" She frowned at the idea, grateful
chosen a knee length broomstick skirt and baby tee for the
occurred to her then that Andrew seemed less seasonably attired.
His green T-shirt was appropriate enough but JenniAnn couldn't imagine
being stuck in jeans on such a day. It reminded her of something
she and the other girls sometimes discussed...
came out of her
reverie upon hearing Andrew's utterance. "Uh oh, what?" she asked
angel of death
shrugged. "I don't know. But I know that look of
yours. It's what I like to call the 'Judging the Appropriateness
of Asking Andrew a Question' look. So, out with it," he prompted
with his most big brotherly of smiles.
smiled. She supposed it was to be expected that after over eleven
years of friendship, Andrew would develop an uncanny knowledge of her
thoughts. And he was in such a good, playful mood... It was
clearly the time to ask.
come you hardly ever
wear shorts?" she blurted out. "I mean in the whole time I've
known you, I think I've seen you in them twice. No. Once
and a half. Once you actually had shorts on. One day during
the cruise. The girls and I about fainted it was such a shock."
blushed at once but said nothing.
other time was when
Asher ran off that day and fell and scraped up his arm and you
found him and tore off the bottom half of one of your pants legs to
bandage the wound," JenniAnn continued.
material was softer
than my shirt's fabric," the Tunnel boy's rescuer explained.
remember. And I
thought you were all sorts of lovely for thinking of such a
thing." JenniAnn looked dreamily at him but quickly sobered and
focused on her question. "So do you just not like em? I
understand if you don't. Just curious is all."
have nothing against shorts. Besides, I don't think I've seen you
in shorts even once in eleven years, Laja."
"Yes, but I wear skirts. I spose you could, too, if ya
wanted. We could get ya kilts! You'd look... Scottishy."
Andrew's left eye brow arched. "Scottishy?"
"Yes, adorably Scottishy." JenniAnn giggled.
"I dunno..." Andrew shook his head.
"All right, all right. I
understand your not running around in a kilt however... shorts would
"I know," the angel agreed before wrinkling his nose. "I just...
well, I don't think I look
very good in them."
peered at him, incredulous. "Andrew, trust me. You look
I may not have
seen you in shorts much but I've seen you in your swim trunks many a
time. We all have. And, trust me, no one has ever reacted
in horror or astonishment."
again. He well knew *that* was the truth. Still... it
wasn't the same. "But in those cases
I spent most of the time underwater so you couldn't see..." His
voice drifted off.
woman looked tenderly
at her beloved friend. Andrew often utilized his self-deprecating
humor. It was a semi-regular occurrence for him to make some
joking comment about his shortness relative to the uber-tall Adam or
downplay the allure of his hair. But JenniAnn had never thought
he was actually bothered about his looks at all. She certainly
couldn't see any reason he should be. In her mind, he was one of
the two most handsome men she'd ever laid eyes on. The
conversation was definitely headed in a far lessing amusing direction
than she had imagined and JenniAnn wished she'd never brought the
shorts issue up.
angel glanced over at
the silent girl beside him. For all his empathy and concern,
Andrew couldn't quite tell what JenniAnn was thinking at that moment
but sensed she was fretting over his feelings. Well he knew she
and the other
girls often did. He hugged her.
think you're pretty
nearly perfect," she murmured.
don't know about that but thank you." Sensing it was the
only way to put his friend at ease and keep her from going into
overdrive trying to fix whatever she thought troubled him, Andrew began
to roll the right leg of his jeans up to just below his knee.
"There," he said, waving to his calf.
don't see it?"
see skin and
hair. And, let's be honest, yours truly is no great expert on the
male form but I think I know enough to know that's a perfectly normal
shaped leg for a guy."
head. "Not the shape, Laja. I mean the scar."
traced a crooked line from his ankle bone to an inch beneath his knee.
her sunglasses and looked again. There beside Andrew's
finger she finally made out a thin white line that couldn't have been
much thicker than a thread. She blinked then looked up at the
angel. "Andrew, I know us girls may seem a lil... let's say
over-attentive. However... you honestly think we'd pick up on
something like that!?! It's... it's minuscule! If my
eyesight were any poorer, I doubt I could have seen it!"
angel looked at her,
Trust me, we
could care less about that tiny, lil thing you're calling a
moment the words left
JenniAnn's mouth, she realized they weren't true at all. She did
care. Immensely. Why did Andrew have a scar? What had
happened to him? Had it been at all recent? Had it
hurt? Could he be hurt again? Where the heck were the
knowing what else to
do, JenniAnn hugged the angel. "What happened? Poor
love..." she cooed.
double-take. The foolish choice that had brought about the scar
was still so clear in his mind. It only then occurred to him that poor
JenniAnn might think he'd suffered some sort of cruelty. He could
practically hear "immortal, not invincible" ringing through her head as
she clung to him.
"Laja, please don't be sad," Andrew implored. He returned her hug
and smiled down at her. "It's not what you're thinking.
I... well... You know how sometimes my pride gets the better of
angel gave a slight
smile in response to her always charitable view of him. "Well,
when I was younger... let's just say the pride issues were a little
chuckled at her
eager, earnest expression. "A few centuries. I was still a
caseworker and I had an assignment named Obadiah. The
name means 'servant of Yahweh' but, trust me, Obadiah didn't see
himself as servant to anybody," the angel related.
slightly. Andrew was glaring out into the yard. It was a
look she'd long thought would break her heart if ever turned upon
her. But it never was.
was wealthy... but not
his own hands and work," Andrew continued. "His father had doted
on him all through his life. *He* was a good, kind man. But
he didn't see how giving his son all he wanted would keep him from
maturing, from developing compassion and respect for others.
Obadiah felt that he deserved the best of everything and should be
recognized as the best at everything. He used people to further
his own interests. And he had no problem making it known when he
thought anyone else was less than the best."
"You know, Obadiah was a lot like him. Except not French and not
animated. The Father had sent me to help Obadiah see
how his actions and fault-finding were hurting his father and
those around him. I was there as his younger siblings'
tutor. One evening when he headed out with some friends, he
invited me along. I hadn't been able to spend much time with
him. After all, I was 'in his employ' as he was a little too
fond of pointing out."
eyes. "If he only knew whose servant and son you actually
were... So did Obadiah..." She warily eyed the scar.
Or at least where she thought it was, unable to see it without Andrew's
Obadiah and his friends spent most of their time drinking. After
a while, they started making up different dares for each other.
They got to be pretty reckless and, thankfully, most of the guys had
the good sense to start turning them down. But Obadiah was
merciless. Calling them cowards and worse. To goad them, he
said a few
choice things about some of their sisters who he had taken advantage
of." The angel scowled.
set a hand over
his, knowing mistreatment of women always grieved Andrew.
angel squeezed her
hand and continued his tale. "I'd stayed pretty quiet that whole
night. Just observing. Trying to find a way to get through
to Obadiah. But that... well, that was the last straw for
me. I wanted to put Obadiah in his place. It was right then
that one of
the men dared someone, any of us, to jump from the roof of one stable
to another that was just over 20 feet away. Obadiah, not willing
to give it a try himself, shouted that there was a chance for his
cowardly friends to prove themselves as men. No one took him up
on it except..."
Andrew. "Tell me you didn't!"
crimson. "I thought if I did then maybe it'd humble
Obadiah. Or maybe it would be a quick way to get him to actually
respect me enough to listen to me."
know, Laja, I know,"
the angel insisted, raking his hand through his hair. "And I
wouldn't do it now. Between you and Tess and the other girls... I
wouldn't dare." Andrew grinned at her.
JenniAnn folded her arms over her chest and glowered in a manner that
seemed eerily Tess-like to Andrew.
"Like I said... younger, prouder," he reminded, meekly.
herself. "So go on. What happened?"
interested in a fallen twig and began twirling it.
"Well, I climbed on top of the first stable."
Andrew cast a sidelong glance at his friend. He didn't like
woman clenched fists
of grass in her anxiousness.
I landed on the
looked at Andrew,
her head tilted. "You mean you actually did it? But I
thought that was how you..." She indicated his leg.
exactly. Once I
could tell Obadiah was surprised I'd done it. And
impressed. With that respect won, I thought maybe he'd give me a
chance. But then the expression on his face changed and
he said I'd probably learned such a talent escaping from my
previous employers after seducing the ladies of the house." The
angel of death shook his head, blushing. "I was frustrated,
Even with my stunt, I still hadn't gotten through. And I was
feeling angry about the slight against my character... my
so... I opened my mouth to yell at Obadiah and I stomped
my foot and... I lost my balance. I guess I scraped against
something on the way down because I landed on some hay with a big ol'
cut on my lower leg." Andrew frowned and traced the scar.
"You can imagine how much that did *not* improve my standing in
it hurt?" JenniAnn
reassuringly, still blushing. "I think my pride was hurt much
more than my leg. And I was too stunned to feel much physical
"Poor, lovely Andrew."
like foolish, proud
Andrew," the angel insisted, grimacing.
maybe that wasn't the best way to react. But I can understand why
you did. That does NOT mean I want to be hearing from anyone that
you've tried that sorta tactic again. And, remember, us girls
know Ronald should we need to check records... But, yeah, I
do understand. So... did you ever get through to Obadiah?"
expression cleared and he nodded. "Obadiah had a little
sister. She had inherited something of his daredevil
spirit. The day after the roof incident, she was
balancing on a bridge over a river and fell in. It was a heavy
current. She was swept under. I was nearby, tutoring her
younger brother, and saw. I went in after her. Got her
out. For all his faults, Obadiah loved that little girl.
Which just proves that everyone, even the people we struggle with, have
grace in them."
was such an Andrew thing to say, always looking for the good in people
and celebrating it when he found it. "So after that he was more
willing to listen to you?"
should have trusted that the Father had the assignment planned out
and would give me my 'in' with Obadiah. I shouldn't have
pushed ahead with my own scheme and gotten angry when it didn't
work." Andrew bowed his head, feeling humbled all over
again. "So that's how I got the scar and why I don't like wearing
I'm sure the Father knows you learned your lesson. And,
really, the scar's not noticeable. I think you only see it cause
ya feel badly about how it happened. Although..." JenniAnn
bit her lip, trying to puzzle something out.
it is kinda
odd. I mean the scar on your hand from when..."
put his arm around
the woman's shoulders when her lower lip began to tremble as she
recalled the wound he'd received while homeless a year and half
before. "Laja, I had a very good nurse to tend to that cut," he
her. "So no scar."
continued. "That cut wasn't my fault. This one was.
So maybe it's still there as a reminder to me about that pride of mine."
entirely liking that idea. Andrew was so very nearly perfect and
she sometimes worried he was too hard on himself for the few flaws he
did have, flaws that just made him all the more dear. But arguing
with him was unlikely to help so she tried
a different tack. "Well, if that is the case, then you're only
one of many of us bearing physical traces of our pride and such."
The woman rolled her sleeve up over her shoulder. "Remember last
week when I was up so late planning your Promotion Day party
and you kept telling me I needed to go to bed but I kept insisting
I was fine and would know when I needed to head to bed?"
remember that and I remember many, many other scenes that were a lot
I know. You do
a much better job of taking care of me than I do of myself. And I
should have listened to you cause I guess my perception was off and I
rammed myself into a door jamb and this happened." JenniAnn
turned to reveal a green welt.
really do need to start getting more sleep. Or maybe I just need
to install some padding at Willowveil," he teased.
refocusing on her efforts. "Then, more permanently, there's
this." JenniAnn held her hands in front of Andrew and wriggled
her fingers. Those on her right hand were noticeably
slower. "Broke my right arm when I insisted I was a trapeze
artist. They haven't been normal since. And..."
are you two doing?"
angel and woman looked
up to see Rose standing between some parted branches, studying
them. Yva was just behind her.
look like two five
year olds comparing owies," Yva pointed out.
"Nope, just a twenty eight year old and a... whatever he is comparing
Rose and Yva both looked at their friends in alarm.
"None serious, I hope," Rose said with concern.
Andrew yanked his pant leg back into place, stood, and hugged them
both. "Not at all. Although we established that JenniAnn
to start sleeping more."
"And that he needs to stay off stable rooftops," JenniAnn muttered.
"What?!" Yva questioned.
Andrew chuckled. "I'll tell you during the ride to the
concert. So where are Lady Beth and C.J.?"
"Lady Beth's meeting us there," Rose answered. "She went to the
Phoenix to help with some healthy meal planning lessons.
Catherine was going to drop her off when she's through."
"And, unfortunately," Yva continued, "C.J. couldn't get away from her
classes. She said to ask you if you could record the concert,
"I'm sorry C.J. won't be with us but, sure, I'll do my best to get it
recorded." Andrew nodded eagerly, his eyes lighting up at the
prospect of using his new toy. "I'll go run and get my
Just before he darted away, the angel paused by JenniAnn. "You
really can't see it?"
JenniAnn set a hand on his shoulder. She knew he wasn't asking
out of vanity, only residual embarrassment. "No, Andrew.
And even if I could, I wouldn't think any less of you. Nor would
the others, I'm sure."
Andrew patted her hand, smiled, and ran off.
"He really does appreciate that camera," Yva mused, pleased at the
"Sure does. We did good," Rose added before turning to
"So what was really going on when we showed up? And what did you
not see that Andrew thought you did?"
JenniAnn shook her head and smiled. "Not saying. Trust me,
it'll be much more amusing and adorable coming from Andrew. A lil
glimpse into his wild and crazy days, you might say."
Yva laughed. "I can't wait to hear about it. I hope he
doesn't take too long getting that camera of his ready."
For a couple of minutes the three women shared amusing anecdotes about
Andrew breaking in his new camera. Then the sound of his front
door closing alerted them to his pending return. They stepped out
from beneath the tree and stared at the approaching figure.
Andrew was still wearing the green T-shirt but the jeans had been
replaced by khaki shorts.
"You ladies ready?" he asked, amused by their dismayed expressions.
All three nodded silently.
"Y-you changed," JenniAnn squeaked out.
Andrew smiled at her. "I've done some reconsidering."
JenniAnn beamed at him.
Andrew squeezed her hand then his loving gaze travelled to Rose and
Yva. He knew that even when he told them the story of the rooftop
and the scar, they would react just as JenniAnn had. With some
shock but, most of all, acceptance of who he was and who he had once
been. They had successfully taught him not too be too hard on
"You ready?" he checked again.
"For a story from you and a concert from Adam? You bet!" Yva
readily agreed, as eager as Rose to learn the reason behind Andrew's
change of clothes.
The four walked together to the waiting mini-van then set off for an
evening filled with what truly leaves the deepest and most permanent of
marks on us all: love
(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.)