Kurt, you are my new best friend!
I was grabbing the root joint in the outliner, but there was no group node parenting it. I have gotten it to work thanks to your description.
And Mike, thanks for your reply too.
I will be telling every Maya user who asks me about web resources to check out Simply Maya - I get more results from the guys in this community than the Alias Wavefront Official E-Support website.
Hope I can contribute more when I get more experienced.
And Mike, Ive checked out your tutorial site too - very helpful as well.