i know you have never experienced this. nope. never.
mars-venus. saturn-pluto. smack-dab in the middle.
SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com
suddenly it’s all different. suddenly, walking past other people’s tiny children makes you wistful. suddenly, in what seems like a very few split-seconds, your own formerly-tiny children are all grown-up. and the nest is empty. what’s next, you wonder. possibly a parakeet?
SMACK-DAB ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com
the family photo changes through the years. i read the other day that it was a friend’s 39th wedding anniversary and noted that it would have also been mine. but things change and times change and the family photo changes. i am grateful for the years before and i am grateful for the years now. both. either way, both family photos have similarities. one would show a middle-aged couple, empty-nesters, looking to get to know each other again. the other shows a middle-aged couple, empty-nesters, getting to know each other in the first place. a common thread – that getting-to-know-each-other – it is all fodder for much laughter, many foibles, much self-deprecation, many questions, few answers, and a lot of punting on the journey through aging smack-dab in the middle of life.
it became obvious to us that our roadtrip together, the-second-time-around-roadtrip, was a source of humor and a reason for lightheartedness. there is simply no other way to look at it. this is not the stuff of princess and prince, nor the stuff of harlequin romance novels, where the boy-who-inherited-the-kingdom finds the bereft-girl-quietly-sitting-in-the-shadows. it is not the stuff of ease nor the stuff of perfectly-smooth-trails. but it is the stuff of happily-every-after, just like so many other stories smack-dab in the middle of middle age as couples navigate through change and challenge, glee and sadness. we are just like everyone else. and our story is your story, with a few different details.
and so we thought it might be fun to celebrate being smack-dab in the middle, to raise up the questions of being there and the elation of being there, to poke fun at the confusion of revisiting the beginning of romance – so many years ago – or the actual beginning of romance – just a few years ago or, maybe, right now. to look at each other through fresh eyes, a fresh horizon. to notice, to hear, to see, to intuit each other. to dance in the too-empty and too-neat kitchen. to make noise in the too-quiet house. to make plans and dream dreams, even ones that are different than we imagined.
ours is a story of second chances. but so is the story of my friend and her husband of 39 years. and the story of the dear young man who used to be in my choir class in the 80s, now married to his husband for years. all of us have second chances each day. to sit across the table and gaze back at eyes we have known for ages, eyes we are in the middle of knowing, eyes we are just beginning to know. to laugh together and lift each other from wistful moments. to understand and hold each other with compassion our guide. to listen and discern what we each are saying, what we each need. to step into futures of unknown voyages. we live smack-dab in the middle of the middle, holding hands, loving each other in old and new ways. and cherishing every photograph along the way.
smack-dab. in the middle. a new cartoon.
SMACK-DAB ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com
dogdog and babycat have an interesting relationship. seemingly-by-dog/cat-definition partisan, they cross the aisle everyday to beg together when they are looking for a morsel from our breakfast, stand together when looking for dinner, lay together on the rug when conked out at the end of the day. they have figured it out and i know that they love each other, despite their differences and the personalities they have as well as the traits we have assigned them by speaking for them judging by the looks on their faces.
dogga stares out the front door window and wonders. the cat not so much; he stares but doesn’t seem to really wonder. but they share the front-door-rug and we provide the conversation and thoughts. we have many one panel cartoons of the two of them at the door.
the thing i would point to, in all of the cartoons we have drawn about these two supposed-foes, is that they get along. they respect each other’s toys, food bowls, spaces on the bed. they may think a rude thought here or there, but they don’t voice it aloud. they don’t name-call or lie to each other. with the exception of babycat’s black chair, they don’t destroy things, they don’t shred the garbage, spewing that which is trash all about. they take turns at their shared water bowl. they are empathic creatures, loving and tuned in to things around them and the real state of affairs in the house. they are quietly candid and honest, albeit b-cat a tad bit sarcastic. they are loyal to the bigger picture, their home. they accept each other. without exception, without pretense, without anger or contentiousness. they embrace living together, right here, right now.
i wish that were true for people.
AT THE DOOR ©️ 2017 david robinson & kerri sherwood
i just asked david if he would illustrate a children’s book i wrote a long, long (did i mention long?) time ago. naturally, he said yes, because, uhh, what else is he going to say? so maybe one of these days you’ll see my snowflake-is-as-raindrop-does story in book form. in the meanwhile, i’ll tell you the story…hopefully succinctly.
once upon a time (because all great stories start like that) there was a little raindrop. after it had fallen out of the sky with a gajillion other raindrops it had a choice. whether to drop-and-roll quickly down the street and be transported through evaporation back up into the sky to reform and do it all over again or – and yes, i am definitely personifying this raindrop – it could choose to roll over to a small plant or tree or blade of grass that needed sustenance. the raindrop believed (had been taught by others?) that this sacrifice would end its journey…there would be no more going-up-into-the-sky-coming-down-as-a-raindrop-all-over-again if it made this choice. but the little raindrop rolled over to a little flower anyway, curled up beside its stem and sighed. what it didn’t realize would happen was this – that it still evaporated. it still went back up into the sky. it still reformed. but this time it was chosen to reform into a beautiful, unique snowflake, an honor bestowed only on those raindrops who had made a difference, who had yielded to a different choice.
so you’re thinking, ok, what does this have to do with snowflakes and snowmen? well, we just never know how our choices will impact our possibility or how we might be surprised by something different than what we perceive to be our intended possibility. you have to admit, being a snowflake in a snowman with a scarf and goofy hat that makes people smile and children dance would seem way more satisfying than being a snowflake in a dirty pile of snow in a parking lot. we learn to go with the flow. sometimes the unanswered prayers -loss of the UNlimited possibilities- turn out to be the best.
a snowflake with possibilities ©️ 2016 david robinson
wednesday nights in the trinity choir room are pretty funny. is that because it’s wednesday? is that because it’s easy to have fun singing or strumming the ukulele with a wholebunchapeople or playing handbells while talking about everythingunderthesun? maybe it’s a little of everything. wednesdays are like that. we need the fun, the laughs, the rolling-of-eyes to get through the rest of the week.
FLAWED cartoon is also like that. you may laugh. you may groan. you may roll your eyes. but any way you look at them, they are good wednesday fare.
FLAWED cartoon was another run at syndication (which, by the way, is compared to winning the lottery, according to a friend of ours whose fun strip THE BRILLIANT MIND OF EDISON LEE runs daily and who said he felt like he had won the lottery.) david and our dear friend 20 created this cartoon and i have handled all the technical blahblah of it. we cackle every time we jot down a new idea. ohmygosh, isn’t “cackle” a great word?!?
the wiener dog sled makes me laugh aloud. we are pretty devoted life-below-zero fans and have great respect for andy and jessie on that show, both of whom run dogsleds. john and michele next door have three wiener dogs and i just can’t imagine them pulling ANY sled. and, although i don’t remember her well, i spent my babyhood years with a dachshund named shayne, who tells stories through my momma’s books of the same name. wiener dogs rock, but as sled dogs?
wiener dog sled ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood
for a year we worked on syndicating our cartoon chicken marsala. our chicken strip was sweet and funny and was met with enthusiasm by a couple of syndicates, but ultimately, was not syndicated. however, chicken marsala lived on with us, in our lives. full of goodness and “radical kindness” (as pTom says), he’s this little guy who is a part of us. so we decided if not chicken strips, then how about chicken nuggets!
LOVE NEEDS NO WORDS is the first chicken nugget we share with you. i could say a lot about the caption of this nugget, but LOVE NEEDS NO WORDS really needs no words.
welcome to our melange. welcome to our studio. see you tomorrow.
love needs no words ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood