out there ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood
my sweet momma used to quip, “make new friends, but keep the old. one is silver and the other’s gold.” i believe it came from her girl scout leadership days. a song, those are wise lyrics.
OLD FRIENDS appears in two versions on my first album RELEASED FROM THE HEART. as track 3, OLD FRIENDS is a longer composition, a wide passionate spectrum of emotion. as track 13, OLD FRIENDS REVISITED is shorter, quieter, more reflective, even wistful.
about my very oldest friends i feel both ways. i am passionate about remembering (always remembering) my long island friendships, susan and marc and crunch and joe-z, especially. times spent growing, talking, arguing, debating, adventuring, laughing, camping, driving, beaching, traveling, listening to music, frisbee-ing, making apple pies, biking, boating, scuba-diving, fishing, living life. i look back in my mind’s eye wistfully and am filled with love for them.
about my old friends and my new friends i feel both ways. i am passionate about how they stand in it with me. they each know who they are reading this. they will recognize themselves when i thank them for times spent together. for the times they supported me when i needed it, for the times they supported me when i didn’t need it. for the times they have listened and talked when i needed it, for the times they have listened and talked when i didn’t need it. for adventures, laughter, good food, coffee and wine. for playing music, scouring around for fun stuff to do, antiquing, dancing, pontoon-boating, playing games, potlucking, sharing opinions and challenging assumptions, giving and receiving words of wisdom, and the telling of our stories. so much life; i know it would be impossible to do without them and i am filled with love for them.
we are fortunate, we human beings. we are aware of our friends, the ever-giving gift of friendship. remembering. always remembering.
and we know the value of silver and gold.
OLD FRIENDS from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood
the sun set on another day on island. and the moon rose. who knew?
four years ago, when david walked down the aisle to this song, who knew? who knew what would come, what adventures would appear, what challenges would rear up, what tiny moments would tear up in our eyes, what heartaches would befall us? who knew? who knew what chaos would reign our world, what gentle calm would envelop us, what times with family would look like, what times without loved ones would feel like? who knew?
four years ago, when david walked down the aisle to this song, we were decades younger, starting out all over again, baby-stepping into an unknown, beguiling, mysterious future. who knew? who knew the times of decisions, of direction-choosing, of sacrifice, of abundance? who knew the dances we would dance, the cries we would cry, the pages of life filled with, well…life? who knew?
there we stood, last night, on the back porch, white happy lights glowing on the railing, watching the moon rise over our little bay, high in the sky, gigantic, tiny hog island in the distance. we wondered aloud, in wonder, about the wonderment of it all. who knew?
and now…….looking forward…..outward….onward….with great love….
AND NOW ©️ 2015 kerri sherwood
for starters, i was raised by beaky and pa. my sweet momma and poppo grew up in the time of the depression, born in 1921 and 1920, respectively. so my propensity to turn the shampoo bottle upside down and squeeze the last ever-lovin’ drop out of it – till there are no more molecules left in the bottle – is something i come by honestly. my momma may not have been the inventor of the soap sock or the wait-and-save-this-new-thing-for-something-special but she had it all down pat.
and so, it seems to run true that i do not easily replace stuff with brand-spanking-new stuff. our stove/oven is over 40 years old; it still works and why fill up the landfill with yet another stove/oven? i know that a new stove/oven would probably grace our little kitchen with more flare, but then the whole kitchen would have to be re-done around the new appliance.
among other clothing items i can carbon-date, i have, in my closet and drawers, clothing that was my girl’s or my boy’s – sport sweats or t-shirts, jeans or even shorts – not only do those connect me to memories with them, but, sheesh, why not? i have shoes from waaaaay back, not hoarding…really. the last time i bought a pair of shoes – other than my infamous old navy flipflops – was a few years ago, the black suede boots with fringe were on clearance and i couldn’t resist. i have worn the heck out of them.
and that brings me to little-baby-scion. a 2006 model, this little toastermobile is scrappy. equipped with few amenities, there is far less equipment to break on this little vehicle. (i turn to knock on wood as i write this.) this scion has been a rock – taking me/us cross-country to see my sweet momma when she was struggling, to see our girl in the high mountains, our boy on the east coast. it drove babycat home from florida, dogdog home from the other side of wisconsin and was our luxury vehicle of choice on our honeymoon. it kept me safe driving cartons of cds to concerts and wholesale shows. it has withstood ferry rides to and from the island. through rain, sleet, snow and ice it has prevailed. every time we get in, especially on a long-drive-day, we root, “you go, little baby scion!”
and so the other day i asked d to take a picture as it landed on this mileage. no real reason, just gratitude for something that has been lasting and lasting. i have no real drive (no pun intended) to have a new lavish car nor is it necessarily in the budget at the moment to replace something that doesn’t need replacing. little-baby-scion rocks and packs like a u-haul. and is now joined by big red, our 1998 ford F150 pick-up. we celebrate both of them, inanimate, yes, i know. but still…
today i just want to say – way to go, toyota! way to make a vehicle that is dependable and trustworthy. it’s a sturdy little car, full of sisu.
and, the best part, around some design table at some point in the early 2000’s, i can picture some 20-something saying, “hey! let’s put blue lights under the dashboard. we can do away with map lights and light people’s feet.” yes! the real merits of our sweet scion.
keep goin’, little-baby-scion!
we sat, broken down, during commuter hour, just north of milwaukee, in the fast lane of I-94. big red had stalled and would not start.
d called to me on the walkie-talkies i always insist we have with us when we are driving separate vehicles. i was car lengths ahead and had moved from the fast lane back into the right lane in sudden stopped traffic when he said, “k.dot! i’m broken down!” i took the next exit, drove back north on the highway, took the exit after i saw him sitting in the fast lane, cars backing up in stopped traffic. i eventually made my way to be right behind him. sitting in the fast lane of the interstate with angry commuters approaching and trying to resume their 75mph to no avail is not my idea of a fun time. the police officer soon got there, and it was a great relief when he pulled behind us with his lights on, effectually calming things down and blocking us from oncoming traffic.
and there we sat, broken down in spirit as well as mechanically. we looked like the beverly hillbillies and i would have drawn the comparison aloud, but i fear that the police officer was too young to understand the reference. big red and little baby scion were both full of stuff, for we were moving off-island and back home. dogdog and babycat were in the scion with me, none too pleased with the sounds of traffic.
while waiting for the tow truck, d, with no success, occasionally tried to start big red. and i, of course, while relaxing, stationary, in the fast lane of the thruway, texted jen, mistakenly panic-dialed my girl and wendy when i was trying to reach roadside assistance and googled reasons why an F150 would turn over but wouldn’t start after a sudden stop. i, channeling my sweet poppo, decided it was the fuel filter or something to do with that, not that i could do anything about it. i just liked trying to figure it out. and i had nothing but time on my hands. big red hadn’t had a lot of gas in it on island and we had just filled the tank a couple hours before this happened. my guess (truly just a guess!) was that when big red stopped suddenly, sediment that had collected in the gas tank temporarily blocked the fuel filter. sounded plausible to me, dogdog and babycat, both of whom had great investment in my figuring it out.
about 45 minutes into the wait for the tow truck, big red decided to give up the game and started.
the very-nice police officer got us off the highway and we all stopped in a parking lot to chat about our fun time together.
we googled back roads home and while we were slowly driving these back roads, d crackled over the walkie-talkie to me, “well, i wish that our good angels would make something good happen.” i answered, “maybe they just did.”
angels are indeed all around us. it is possible, of course, that there was a reason not to be on the highway at that particular time. maybe there was a reason we needed to pause in our trip. perhaps there was a reason we should drive the back roads home. surely, there was something.
we pulled into our driveway safely about two hours later.
i don’t purport to understand this watercolor WRESTLING WITH AN ANGEL. i, instead of wrestling with angels, will express a gratitude for all the ways we remained safe in an event that could have had many difficult turns.
thank you, our good angels.
©️ 2019 david robinson
in the last few days, both of us have heard the deeply sad news that someone in our lives – each a unique voice of great wisdom – has passed. it’s bracing. we are here and then we are not.
in all the difficult moments we have had these past months, both on-island and off-island, these past few days once again remind us of what is actually important.
it’s not the work challenges or politics. it’s not the worry over details and relationship snags. it’s not competition or one-upping someone else, nor is it about power-struggles and issues of control. it’s not about being undervalued or serving those who do not appreciate you, nor is it about the tippy-top of the ladder where lower rungs are no longer visible to you. it’s not what you don’t have or what you wish you had.
instead, it’s what you do have.
it’s the simplest of moments. when you look over and dogdog and babycat are butt-to-butt snuggling. or you are sitting next to your beloved, writing or reading together. or your grown children call to chat a bit, out of the blue. you spend time together. you do good work and stand in it. or you take a walk, in fresh air, under a sunlit sky or in a night full of stars. you savor a hot cup of coffee or raise a glass of wine in a toast with friends. you embrace or hold hands with someone you love. the simplest.
with gratitude to a man, alan walker, who encouraged me to love both the piano and open-faced peanut butter sandwiches. and my thanks to a man i never met, quinn, who, in innumerable conversations in his study, brought many moments of wisdom and perspective to david. you both remain reminders of what is really important.
there is something about firsts. a novelty. and it was no different the first night – a week or so ago – when we lit the wood burning stove in our littlehouse. the first fire of fall. excited, we watched as the fire got hotter and the bigger pieces of wood started to catch. as it all started to be aflame, the chill, that a grey misty fog, an angry lake and a stormy day had created, left the littlehouse. we sank into the new warmth of the living room, our feet up and grins of satisfied appreciation on our faces, staring into the dancing fire, grateful for its presence. at home we have a fireplace inside, and a chiminea on our patio, but no wood burning stove. it’s a novelty for us.
how many times will it be before getting wood for the stove and starting the fire will not be as gleeful? how many times before we don’t just sit with our feet up and stare into those flames? how many times before we take it for granted, this divine little maker of fire and warmth? how many times before the novelty wears off?
i once read a card i found quoting marcel proust, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes.”
because the novelty does wear off. in all arenas, i suppose. not just in how you see others, but also in how others see you. suddenly it is forgotten what IT was like before you (whether IT is a home, a relationship, a community, a work environment). instead, the novelty has faded and so has the ‘before’. suddenly, you – in any of those places – are just a bean counter, a placeholder, and the novelty of you, for we are all novel, is no longer a matter of interest or value. instead, all becomes black and white, the relationship of you to those places – a home, a relationship, a community or a work environment. i wonder what we are all missing with our under-appreciative eyes. i wonder what they are all missing with their under-appreciative eyes. the novelty is gone. and you have thus become dispensable, all for the lack of new eyes. wow. ouch.
we need take stock of what is around us and how it all works together. before it is gone. we need remember that -in every arena- we should appreciate each other – as if it was the first fire of the season.
the second time we lit the stove, we weren’t quite as gleeful when the flame caught. and the stove heated up the room a little too much, making