"Laughter is an instant vacation."  ~~Milton Berle

Hi all,

October 10th is Adam's observed birthday.  So here's a tribute to our favorite snarky but sweet AOD in the form of a ficlet.

God bless,

Little Pumpkin

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Adam quietly flipped through a magazine as he sat in the living room of Kylie's and Clay's house.  At twenty two weeks pregnant, Kylie had found herself feeling exhausted even after a restful weekend.  With a busy day ahead at the Romano Family Farm, the angel of death had agreed to remain at the house while Clay went to work.  Though he was concerned about the expectant mother, it was not an unpleasant way for Adam to pass his birthday.  For the first couple of hours, he and Kylie had sat on the couch and watched The Notebook.  They'd just barely started Practical Magic when the expectant mother had dozed off, her head resting on her friend's shoulder.

It was now three hours later and Adam smiled at Kylie.  She looked peaceful with her arms protectively wrapped around her belly.  As he found himself doing more and more often, the angel of death reflected on the last few years.  Dyeland was once again brimming with life.  New people had settled there and the Tunnel dwellers were increasingly seeing it as an extension of their own world.  Adam never had to worry about leaving his home or turkeys.  There was always a Friend, Helper or Tunnel teen willing to housesit or care for his feathered friends.  And the humans weren't the only ones who were multiplying.  Reuel, Michael, Azrael, Zaila, Freya, and others popped in far more often than they had in the past.  The Dyelanders no longer even attached much significance to their visits.  Far more often than not, they were merely there to enjoy the beauty of the place or share in a cup of tea and a chat. 

And the little ones...  Adam could remember when Shelby was often the lone child present at their get-togethers.  Now it was a regular thing to step into Willowveil Castle and be immediately met by the sound of giggles or a child shrieking giddily as they played with one of the numerous pets.  When Kylie's baby was born, she would immediately be welcomed by Belle, Liam, Shelby, Manny, Jacob, Aiyla, Omar, Joy, Ian, tiny little Aurora Al-Mitra, and all the other children.

Adam was pleased for his old friends who had, like him, found contentment.  For the most part, Andrew's and JenniAnn's angst-ridden tête-à-têtes had been replaced by gentle kidding about the former's subpar housekeeping and the latter inadvertently teaching Belle the phrase "frickety frick frick" or "ickety ick ick" as she put it.  Meanwhile, Monica was more content than Adam had ever known her to be.  She had found a perfect balance of quality time with Arthur and Liam, her work at the food truck, and the occasional caseworking shift.  Tess was not as often a part of their group adventures but she was a regular presence in Dyeland, doting on the children and offering counsel to the adults as needed.

Of course, with all the sweetness there must also be some bitterness.  Shortly after their wedding, Rose and Max had temporarily relocated to Germany where the latter was interning at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.  It was an amazing opportunity and everyone had been excited for the couple.  Still, Christmas, when they were due to return, sometimes seemed a long way off.  It was obvious to Adam that his fellow angel of death missed his only son and that JenniAnn would never grow accustomed to having one of their kids so far away.  However, the Skype and FaceTime chats revealed a happy couple who were enjoying their overseas adventure even if they were a little homesick.

All of the other Friends remained near each other and between their Bible studies and activities at St. Genesius', they were in near-constant contact.  Joshua, Maryam, Yosef, and John made occasional appearances, bringing joy and peace at each appearance.

Yes, life was good.  Adam felt incredibly grateful to have so many places to go after a difficult assignment and so many friends and family members to seek solace in.  And, soon, he would have one more... a niece if Kylie's intuition was correct.

As if she sensed the angel's thoughts returning to her, Kylie began to awaken.  She blinked a couple of times, confused about why she wasn't in her and Clay's bedroom.  Then she smiled and nuzzled Adam's shoulder.

"Thank you.  You're a very nice pillow although I'm sorry I trapped you for..."  She glanced at the clock.  "Three hours!" 

"Nonsense.  It gave me some much needed time to reflect on all I have to be grateful for," Adam assured. 

"Aww.  Well, I'm glad then but I've got to get going on your cake!"

Kylie pushed herself off the couch and ambled towards the kitchen.

"Kylie, please don't worry about it.  Zeke and Diana already offered to run by Adrian's before my party and..."

After preheating the oven, Kylie turned to Adam and squeezed his hands.

"That's very nice of them but I want to bake your cake."

"All right... but you have to let me help."

"I suppose," Kylie agreed.  "But only because I want your company, not to put you to work on your birthday."

"Gotcha.  But a little work won't hurt me so... what can I do?"

For the next few minutes, Kylie directed Adam on where to find bowls and the mixer.  With the former on a high shelf and the later in a drawer just above the floor, the angel of death was in much better shape to crouch and stretch than Kylie was.  Soon, Adam found himself beating eggs while Kylie measured out various ingredients.

Suddenly, the woman froze and let out a little gasp.


Concerned, Adam hurried to her side.

"Kylie, what is it?  Are you okay?"

It was a few moments before Kylie answered.  She only prodded her stomach silently, seemingly lost in her own little world.  Finally, she smiled and nodded.

"Yes.  The baby is just kicking really hard.  Let's sit down for a little bit."


Adam escorted his friend to a kitchen chair then pulled one up beside her.

"Can I get you anything?  Some water?  Something to eat?  You are due for..."

Adam was cut off when Kylie abruptly took his hand and pushed it against her belly.

Suddenly, the angel's eyes went wide.

"That... that's her?" he implored.

Kylie smiled and nodded then shifted Adam's hand slightly.

Adam felt another jab at his hand.  Strong and quick. 

"Well, hi... hi there, little pumpkin," he greeted with misty eyes.

"I like that.  Little pumpkin."  Kylie smiled again then closed her eyes, feeling her baby kick and moving Adam's hand accordingly.

Gradually, the kicks lessened then stilled entirely.

"I think she's sleeping now," Kylie announced.  "I've noticed she sometimes gets really restless before she crashes completely."

"Sleep well, pumpkin," the angel of death cooed.  He patted the bulge then met Kylie's eyes.  "Thank... thank you for that.  It... amazing."  Adam sucked in a deep breath, trying to regain his composure.

Kylie hugged him tightly.

"I was hoping she might give you that as a birthday present.  Clay started feeling her about a week ago but she just hasn't been very active when we've been together but today... it's like your little pumpkin wanted to wish her Uncle Adam a happy birthday."

Adam patted Kylie's back and kissed her cheek.

"It's a present I'll treasure forever.  Thank you to her... and you."

"You're very welcome.  Thank you for being here when I needed you... like you always are.  Now... back to your cake."

Adam helped Kylie to her feet and the two hugged once more as the little pumpkin slept contently in her mother's womb.

The End

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye and Charles Rocket for giving us such beautiful images of psychopomps.  I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and learning anew about how so many cultures and belief systems have such scary death-figures!  But not us!

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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.)