"Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly."
~~Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Hi all,

I've decided to try something different this summer.  Because I'm so behind on both the web site and Dyeland stories, not to mention projects completely unrelated to JABB, something's gotta give.  Therefore, I've decided to go on a hiatus with the newsletter until, probably, September.  That doesn't mean there won't be any newsletters.  In fact, I still intend to send something every other Sunday.  What it does mean is that the contents of those newsletters will consist of pre-written material like excerpts from the original Dyeland finale as contained here, scans of Andrew's scrapbook, one or two tangentially related papers I wrote in college, and so on.  The exception will, I hope, be the JABB anniversary newsletter in July.  I'd like to write something fresh for that.  I hope you get something out of what I dig up but, if not, know I'll return to the usual format in September.  Also, please feel free to reach out.  Just because I'm taking a break from writing for the newsletter doesn't mean I won't still be online.  If anything, I might be on the computer even more than usual because I'd really like to get stories caught up.

Anyway, I'm hoping this helps with me keeping up and I also hope each of you is able to take a break from something this summer and enjoy!

God bless,

Another Return to the Dyeland Finale That Wasn't...
(continued from JABB 485 and JABB 514)


Monica finished off her coffee and smiled tearfully at Obadiah.  “The day I met him Tess sang that song.  The day I said good bye to him she sang it.  The Dyelanders… they met him in that field.  And we all said good bye to him in that field.  I guess the Celts were right.” 

Obadiah handed her a tissue.  “But you still heard from him?”

“Oh yes!  Weekly emails.  Gloria even printed them off for those of us that were a little less computer savvy.  And photos.  We watched the wee one grow.  But still… Andrew wasn’t there to celebrate Adam’s promotion.  Nor for Gloria’s 20th birthday.  And we weren’t there for Abby’s first word.  Dada.”  Monica beamed at that.  “But I know in my heart this was the path God meant for him.  And I know one day I’ll go Home, world-weary but knowing that I’ve done God’s will, and I’ll hear that chuckle I’ve missed so and he’ll be back with us.  For Abby’s sake I hope that day is a long way off.”

Obadiah smiled appreciatively.  “Thank you, Monica, for sharing.”

“You’re most welcome.  Can I go then?”

Obadiah nodded and Monica stood up to leave.  But like JenniAnn she hesitated and turned back.

“The Father told Tess, Gloria, Adam, and me that in time each of us would play a part in this assignment of Andrew’s.  You wouldn’t happen to know when my time will come do you?” she inquired hopefully.

Obadiah shook his head.  “I’m very sorry but no I don’t.  But if He said it, you know it will happen.”

“Yes, that I do,” Monica assented and then left.

Obadiah cleared away the empty coffee cup and stirrer and napkins.  By the time he looked up, his next interviewee had arrived.

“You must be Jess… O’Neill O’Neill?” Obadiah extended his hand and raised an eye brow. 

Jess smiled.  “That’s me!”  She shook his hand warmly.  “I generally just use one O’Neill, though.  O’Neill was my name before I married my husband, Jack O’Neill.  Coincidence, I guess.  Like the angels said ‘a coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.’”

Obadiah nodded sagely.  “Very true.  Jess, I appreciate your coming to see me.  As you probably know, I am conducting your friend Andrew’s evaluation.”

“Give him an A!” Jess interjected with a grin.

Obadiah smiled but wondered if all the Dyelanders were so effervescent.  It was somewhat unnerving to him.  “I’ll do what I can.  I’m trying to evaluate Andrew’s work since he took his most recent position as deep cover angel.  Have you had much of an opportunity to see him during this period?”

“Every few years at least.  Since Abby was very small.  He’s a wonderful father,” Jess answered.  “Very wonderful,” she stressed.

“Could you give me an example of why you say this?”

“Definitely!  Let’s see…  Okay, well I’ll tell you about the first time I saw he and Abby together for a length of time.  It was July 2019.  I’d been working at a national park in Minnesota.  The one where I met Jack.  Andrew decided he wanted to take Abby on her first vacation.  And since we’d always enjoyed fishing together and he’d promised me he’d teach Abby how to fish, he chose to come visit the park and teach her there.  I was ecstatic…”  Jess’ eyes grew dreamy as she told her story.


July 12, 2019

Abby sat in the backseat doodling in a coloring book as Andrew drove the quaint roads among the trees.  He was relieved she’d been such a good sport about the long car ride.  Especially since it was the first time he’d taken her any where further than their neighboring cities.  The angel was excited to see Jess again.  And to meet this Jack she talked so much about in her emails.  He smiled to realize how much had changed since he’d first met the Dyelanders.  JenniAnn and Elliot had two children, Avi would turn four only days before his Abby.  Then they’d had his second namesake, Annie Dru who was then two and a half.  Then there was Jarrod’s growing brood of Pagana, Paul, Alana, and yet another namesake, Andrew.  The latter was not even five months.  Miss Miriam and Neil had William James whom Andrew had known when he was small.  Three years ago he’d been joined by a little brother, John Mark.  But most unbelievable of all, for Andrew, was his own Abby.  It seemed only yesterday he’d held her as they’d left Dyeland and made their home in Detroit.  Now she was coloring and singing “You Are My Sunshine” quietly to herself.  She looked up then and smiled a chocolaty smile left over from the brownie she’d had earlier.

“Almost there, Daddy?”

“Just a few more minutes, kiddo,” he answered. 

“Then we go fishing?”

Andrew chuckled.  “May be not right away but I promise you sometime today we’ll fish.  But remember what I said about…”

“Throw em back!  Throw em back!” she chanted excitedly.

“Right.  Because we don’t want to be wasteful and, besides, we fish for the sake of fishing,” Andrew explained.

“But we eat fish at home.”

Andrew hid his smile.  Three year olds were way too good at seeing holes in adults’ reasoning.  “Well, yes.  It’s okay to eat fish.  It’s just often when you catch fish they aren’t even big enough to actually eat.  Or you may catch more than you could eat with out getting a tummy ache.”  He fought off a vision of Adam laughing and teasing him for talking about “tummies.” 

“Okay.  Can we name the fishies?” Abby asked.

“You bet.”  Andrew made one final turn then and stopped the car a few yards from a cabin.  He got out then helped Abby from her carseat and to her feet.  They began walking further up the drive, Abby stopping occasionally to examine an interesting pebble or flower. 

The cabin door flew open then.  Andrew looked up to see Jess smiling widely at him.  She flew at him with her arms open.  He stretched out his arms and moved towards her, into a huge hug.

“Andrew!  I’m so, so glad to see you again!” Jess cried.  “And… Abby…”  Jess looked with disbelief at the little girl.  She’d been sent photographs but not actually seen Abby since the day Andrew had left Dyeland.  She stepped away, knelt, and held her hand out to Abby.  “Hi Abby, my name is Jess.  I knew you when you were a baby.  Your daddy tells me a lot about you.  All good things.”  Jess smiled at her.

Abby looked up at her dad then back at Jess.  Shyly, she took her hand and held it.  “Thank you.  You live here?” Abby looked around at the lake and cabin and clear sky and trees in awe.

“Yeah.  Pretty lucky.  And I’m just so glad you and your dad could come visit me,” Jess answered.  “You know, sometimes there are bunnies in that garden over there.”  Jess pointed to a vegetable garden a few yards away.

Abby grinned and was immediately at ease.  “Can I go look?” 

Andrew nodded.  “Just stay where I can see you, Abby-Angel.”  Abby trotted off then.

“She’s adorable, Andrew!  Cute nickname, by the way.  Abby-Angel.”

“Thanks and the nickname just came naturally.  She’s a sweet kid.  Jess, thanks again for inviting us.  This… it is truly beautiful here.  I’ve missed the outdoors.  I love Detroit and the people there but… I do miss this.”  Like Abby, he eyed all the surroundings. 

“It’s my pleasure to have you both here.  So you don’t get to fish much?”

Andrew shook his head.  “I keep telling myself that when Abby’s in school I’ll make some time.  Michigan has a lot of great spots.  So how are things here?  Will I be meeting Jack?” Andrew asked with sly smile.

Jess blushed.  “He’s supposed to be here for dinner.”

“Very good.  It’ll give me practice for when Abby starts bringing boys around.”  Andrew looked at his daughter then and took a deep breath.  “I’m really glad that’s a long way off,” he added with a relieved smile.

“It’ll come quicker than you think,” Jess answered.

Andrew sighed.  “I know…” 

Abby came running back to them then.  “Can we fish now?” she asked Jess.

“Well, you don’t waste any time, do you?” Jess laughed good-naturedly.  “I’m always ready for fishing.  As long as your dad says it’s okay.”

Andrew bit his lip.  “Well… I don’t know…”  He winked at Jess.

“Please Daddy!  I wanna learn!” Abby danced around anxiously. 

“Okay, let’s get our rods out of the car!” 

Abby screeched excitedly and then dashed to the car with Andrew and Jess following her.  Jess smiled at the tiny, pink pole Andrew handed to the little girl.  Then he withdrew the same one he’d used in Dyeland.  It brought back a lot of memories for them both.  They smiled and then walked to the lake. 

Jess watched as Andrew patiently taught his daughter how to fish.  It was the first time she’d really seen this fatherly side of her friend and she found it suited him perfectly.  After an hour or so, Abby began to yawn.  It seemed as if she’d very soon be asleep. 

“I think it’s naptime, baby girl,” Andrew announced.  “We’ll fish more tomorrow.”

Abby didn’t protest at all as Andrew picked her up.  Jess led them to the little guest cabin behind hers.  Andrew tucked Abby into bed and then he and Jess sat in the main room and caught up on the past four years.  She spoke about Jack and her love of her new home and job.  Andrew told all about Abby’s early years and his own job at a shelter in Detroit until Abby woke up, raring to start another adventure.


The next day, Jess and Jack led Andrew and Abby on a nature walk.  Andrew had met the young man the previous night at dinner.  The angel definitely approved of him as Jess had known he would.  So it was a friendly group that hiked through the trails, Andrew sometimes carrying Abby on his shoulders.

“Abby, look!  Butterflies!” Jess excitedly pointed to a kaleidoscope of the brightly colored insects. 

“Oooh…” the little girl marveled at them.  “Pretty.” 

“And look, here’s a caterpillar.  This is what those butterflies look like first,” Jack held a fuzzy, creeping caterpillar up to where Abby sat perched on her dad’s shoulders.

Abby wrinkled her nose.  “Really?”

Andrew chuckled.  “Yes, really.  Hard to believe, huh?”

“God can be kinda goofy,” she remarked.

The three adults couldn’t keep from laughing.  “Yes, He does have quite a sense of humor, sometimes.”  Andrew answered as soon as he’d recovered his voice.

“Can I get down, please?”

“Sure thing.”  Andrew lifted her off his shoulders and set her on the ground.  “You just stay with us, don’t run ahead.”


They continued on at a leisurely pace, everyone pointing out various things of interest. 

Jack suddenly stopped and held his arm out.  “Wait, don’t…”

But it was too late.  Abby had all ready seen what he’d tried to keep her from.

“Abby, stay here!” Andrew reached for her but she took a few steps ahead of him.  He dashed to her and, stooping, put his arms around her.

“Why isn’t the fox moving, Daddy?”

Andrew held his daughter tighter.  “It’s dead, sweetheart.”

Abby began to cry into his shoulder.  Andrew kissed her hair. 

“Why do things have to die?” the little bleating voice asked.

In that moment, Andrew thought of every assignment he’d ever had.  He heard their question now in his own child’s voice.  “Abby, God loves all of His creations.  And he has a special purpose for each of them.  And when that purpose has been fulfilled… He rewards them by welcoming them Home.  To Heaven.  And even though it hurts us when people or animals are taken from us… we have to remember that one day we’ll be with them again.  And that where they are they never have to worry or feel bad or be hurt again.”

“Like my real mommy and daddy?”

Jess held in a sob and Jack put his arm around her.  They turned away to give father and daughter some privacy.

Andrew’s eyes were filled with tears.  He cupped Abby’s face in his hands.  “Yes, Abby.  They’re in Heaven with God and they love you so much.  And they’re always with you and they are so very proud of the little girl you are.  And I’m just so glad they chose me to take care of you.  Because I love, too, baby girl.  So very much.”

“I… I don’t want you to die, Daddy,” Abby sobbed and hugged him tightly.

“I know, Abby.  I hope I’m with you for a long, long time.” 

“Me too.”

There were a few moments of silence then.  Jess and Jack turned back to their friends.  “What don’t we head back and have some ice cream, okay Abby?” Jess suggested.

Abby brushed at her tears and nodded.  Then taking Andrew’s hand, she followed Jess back to the cabins while Jack stayed behind to tend to the fox.

“That was beautiful.  You handled that really well, Andrew,” Jess whispered.

Andrew gave a weary smile.  “It’s what I felt.”  Then he scooped Abby up into his arms for a hug.


Jess was quiet for a moment.  Obadiah sat patiently.  He was realizing how hard it was for these people to speak about the past. 

“I told you he was a wonderful father,” Jess finally said, wiping at some tears.  “And that was just the biggest of many examples I could give you from that weekend.  He… he just handled her question, one of the biggest question we as humans have really, with such love and grace and care.  I mean he was always like that but this was so personal.  I can only hope Jack and I handled it so well when our own Danny asked us the same thing years later.”

“Thank you, Jess, for that.  It really does help me a lot.  And I’m sure you did just fine,” Obadiah answered with some awkwardness.  He suddenly wished he wasn’t so out of practice in dealing with humans.  Usually only angels participated in these but this was a special case.  “I’ll let you get back to your family now.”

Jess nodded and stood up.  “I know you’re going to hear a lot more stories like mine.  We all love Andrew.”

“I’m sure I will,” Obadiah responded. 

With a final wave, Jess was gone.

Obadiah knew he had a bit of time before his next interview arrived.  He wouldn’t have admitted it but he was actually getting sucked into this angel’s life.  Looking around to make sure no one had arrived early, he pulled a file from his briefcase and began reading.


To be continued... unfortunately.  ;-)  Seriously, I wrote 72 pages of this.  And this is the look I imagine "real" Dyeland Andrew giving me over it:

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for giving me so many lovely summer memories of binging TBAA during my breaks.  I miss those lazy summer days!

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JABB 519

(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.)