|"If you do the very
best you can,
the future will
take care of itself."
I've been in a contemplative mood. Thus, I thought I'd do a
bit different type of newsletter. (I realize, of course,
that these days a lot of the newsletters are "a bit
different.") I was blessed to, in a sense, grow up with
John. My mom has informed me that she watched Jack's Place and Tour of Duty. Given that I
often watched TV with her, there's a good chance that somewhere in
my brain are memories of watching John on screen when I was a
child. There's even a chance I saw his stint on Young and the Restless.
That show I actually do recall watching as a lil girl though I
definitely don't remember "Jason." (For which my mom is no
doubt glad... Who wants to explain out of wedlock babies to
a toddler???) Still... it's interesting to ponder if clear
back to when I was two years old, John was there in the
background. What I *do* know is that I watched his first
appearance on Touched on
January 6th, 1996. By third season, I was deep into a crush
that would last til the present day. But even with John as
an ever-present influence in my adult life, I've found that how I
relate to his work is constantly changing. That's a huge
comfort to me. After John passed away, I felt so many things
and was sad on so many levels. I just couldn't believe that
I'd never see him in anything new again. But now I know
that's not entirely true. So long as I'm alive and watching
his work, I will come to each viewing with eyes made new by
experience and the passage of time. Already it's
happening. So to celebrate that, I wrote this top ten
list. It's not really comical. Well, at least not in
its entirety. But as I near the thirty year mark and as we
anticipate TBAA's Season 5 on DVD, it seemed like a good time to
do this. If anyone would like to add on, please contact me
and I'll get your words up here on the page. Thanks!
Top Ten "New Eyes" Experiences with
10. Ahem... I
totally understand a lot more of the dialogue in Making the Grade.
;-) Thank you, parents, for letting me watch it even if
maybe I shouldn't have been...
9. I still *love* those TBAA episodes that
feature high drama for Andrew. If I could only retain
the memory of a few TV show scenes, John's "prayer on the
stairs" scene from "The Journalist" would be among them.
However, as I've gotten older I've found myself turning more
and more to TBAA simply for a sense of peace. I'm drawn
to episodes like "Here I Am" and "Restoration" in which Andrew
calmly and quietly counsels his assignments. I still
look to TBAA for entertainment but now I turn to it almost as
a sanctuary. For around 45 minutes, I can slip into an
art gallery or a crabby filmmaker's living room and all will
be well because Andrew is there.
8. I'm gonna admit it... I re-watched The Perfect Weapon
recently and nearly started crying over some of the scenes
between the two brothers. Oh boy... So clearly my
new eyes are sappier and more emotional than the old
ones. God help me if I ever start crying over Campus Man.
7. And... I cried over Sioux City. So... The
conclusion I'm coming to is that as more time goes by, my
experience of John's work deepens. And I think my
ability to focus on his films outside of simply "John is in
this and so I'm going to watch it!" has increased. True,
I may never be a big fan of karate movies. But I
genuinely like Sioux
City. Who knew? One thing that didn't
change about my perception of that film... I still think John
looks like fake Jesus. :-)
6. I have loved Mother, Mother since I first saw it back
when I was around sixteen. However, watching it again
for the first time in years this past spring made me
appreciate it anew. First, I am now Jeff's age. As
I make tentative plans for my thirtieth birthday, it's with
the assumption that in all likelihood, there will be a thirty
first and a thirty second. What must it be like to plan
one's birthday at my age and suspect it will be the
last? It really shook me to watch John play this dying
man who looked like someone I would have went to school
with... hung out with... and (let's be honest) probably fallen
in love with despite the obvious no-go-ness of that. I
don't have an incurable disease but watching the movie enfold
and thinking of our beloved John, it really made me realize
that none of us are promised a next birthday. So make
the most of every day and every sunset.
5. Given I don't recall those early viewings of Tour of Duty, my first
real exposure to the show didn't come until I was into my
twenties. So it's not like I've had any drastic life
changes between when I first saw the show and now.
Still... it is a different experience to rewatch episodes
now. I think I'm more cognizant these days that the
legacies of Vietnam are still with us. I'm also more apt
to read about the struggles facing returning soldiers today
and so often I find myself realizing that it matches up with Tour so much. While
it *is* a period piece, it seems so much less so to me now.
4. "Manhunt" was never a TBAA episode that really got to
me. I mean I liked it plenty. But I never felt
much attached to it. Forget that now! I'll admit
that after John died I went through an anger at God
phase. I'm sorry for that but there I was with a crush
on the same guy for over half my life and every time I
considered moving on, it always seemed like God pushed me
right back. And then I never even got to meet
John? Never got to say a single word to him? What
kind of sick, celestial joke was that? But even though
we never met, John had a massive impact on me... just as the
single night Zoe spent with Billy left a huge imprint on her
life. When the episode ends and we see Zoe meet up with
the lady Billy used to visit, I no longer simply see it as a
nice ending to a nice episode. It's a blueprint now for
how to go on in the face of loss: help others, just as John
did and continues to do.
3. My most recent viewing of TBAA's finale made
me far more emotional than I anticipated. I fully
expected to bawl over seeing Andrew fade away. And I
did. But gone was the old "Monica let him go!!!
How could she!?" Re-watching it at 29, I
understood. Monica let Andrew walk away because she had
to. God's plan was calling her one way and leading him
another way. And they both had to follow. Growing
up means sometimes doing exactly what it breaks your heart to
do. And sometimes it means walking away from someone you
2. When John would stand up for his beliefs in
interviews or with projects like Journey to a Hate-free
Millennium, I always respected him and admired
him. But that has vastly increased as my own brushes
with the difficult people in this world have. When
John spoke out against those miscreants from that unholy
church in Kansas, I loved him all the more. Now that
they've come to my hometown and I've stood across the street
from their disgusting signs... what John said means even
more. I know if I ever do that again, his voice will be
one that will echo through my mind as I allow all the positive
and loving influences to drown the freaks out.
1. I have a greater appreciation now for all the
encouraging, faith-filled words John delivered as
Andrew. Let me make it clear that I do NOT believe John
himself believed every word he ever uttered while in
character. Clearly he couldn't since some of his
characters contradict others. (Not a whole lot of common
views shared by Andrew and Manion, for example!) But we
know that John was a man of faith. And it's easy to tell
people that God loves them, that good will triumph, and that
God will never leave them. But I don't think there's a
believer out there who hasn't had a crisis of faith or a time
when they were angry at God. John must have experienced
those times, too. His life wasn't completely void of
loss. Yet he could still utter lines like "I want you to
know there's nothing... nothing to be afraid of. On one side,
there's life. And on the other...there's life, too," and
"Never forget, when you have lost your faith, when God is no
longer real to you--go back. Go back to the last place you saw
Him. He will be waiting for you there." I realize now
that their real power didn't stem from the fact that an angel
was saying them. They were delivered by a man playing an
angel, a man who could only live by faith. One of us.
And so it goes...
And for a little
fun... This is something that was a staple with JABB
in the early days but seems like we haven't done it in a
while. So without further adieu...
You Might Be a John Dye Fan
~ When you
have to buy men's clothing for a gift, you find yourself
imagining what John would look like in it as opposed to
what the fellow who is actually getting the item would
look like in it.
When you hear someone say "Doc," your mind goes more
quickly to a hippie from Tennessee than it does to a
dwarf or a medical professional.
~ You can't
remember the date you got your job, bought your house,
or purchased your first car but, by golly, you know the
date you first became aware of John! And you
always celebrate the anniversary.
~ You've ever
suffered through a heat wave with your windows open as
opposed to your AC running... not because the AC is
broken or you're trying to be environmentally aware but
because the AC and closed windows block out the sounds
of the doves who live nearby and remind you of TBAA.
~ You have ever been sorely tempted to buy a bar stool
and paint "This seat reserved for Andrew, the Angel" on
it. That would actually be kinda cute and kitschy,
right? Right? Anyone with me on this?
~ You own two boxed sets of Murder, She Wrote even though you
don't really care for the show. "Coincidentally"
the sets are for seasons 5 and 11...
~ Your DVD collection is broken into the following
categories: Comedies, Dramas, Romance, John Dye.
~ You're here. :-)
This newsletter is
dedicated to John's ongoing presence in our lives. I
firmly believe he is alive and beyond well on the other
side. But he lives on, too, here on this side in the
hearts of the many, many people he touched. And I am
very, very grateful for that.
(Photo Credits: The first and third
photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and
owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water
Productions. The second is from Sioux City and
owned by Cabin Fever Entertainment and Facet Films Inc.
The final photo is from Murder,
She Wrote and owned by Universal
Studios. They are not being used to seek profit.)