"If you do the very best you can,
the future will take care of itself."
~~George Mitchell

Hi all,

So 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!

God bless,

Top Ten "New Eyes" Experiences with John's Work

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 love. 

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 If...

~ 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.


JABB 356

(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.)