reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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my dad’s jowls. [d.r. thursday]

over-exposed and blurry. that’s how i prefer photographs of me these days.

this morning i opened facebook and there was one of those “you have a memory” pictures. it was from nine years ago when my girl graduated from college and she and i and one of my nieces were all in a pub gathered closely together. adding to my over-exposed and soft-focus-photo-capture-desires, this memory looked different – younger – than when i looked in the mirror shortly thereafter. hmm. the marks of time.

my sweet momma would look in the mirror and, in a singsong whiny voice whine, “i look like an old woman!” she was 93. i would gently remind her both that she was a woman of age and she was amazingly beautiful wearing that age. but as i look into the mirror each day, i’m wondering if she was as dismissive of my words as i am dismissive of david’s “you’re beautiful” compliments. we are so hard on ourselves. our grooves, impressions like the ones in the carpet at the old family home, are earned from the long haul, from all that we have encountered, from the sun in day and dreams at night.

the wear and tear – or lack thereof – on each of us belies the courage and tenacity beneath the surface. we keep on keeping on, adding a wrinkle here or a grey hair there. i thought i was getting used to the appearance of tiny evidences of middle-aging until one famous morning. it all had gone basically unnoticed until that one day when i looked in the mirror and WHAMMO! my dad’s jowls had appeared. what?!? i stared at myself. my dad’s jowls stared back. it was all i could see. what on earth had happened overnight??

i ran to the next room to get a photograph of my sweet poppo and, sure enough, there they were. a perfect match. i pulled up a recent photo of my dad’s sister, his only surviving sibling, and voila! there they were. i am in a perfect-harmony-trio of jowls. i looked for a picture of my sister. though i was hoping to, i didn’t really see any jowls. what’s up with that, dna? seems slightly unfair to me. ahh, indents and jowls. the marks of time.

i look sideways to the window as i write this. below the sill are a variety of lines in the wall, many of them. on summer nights, when the window was wide open and you could feel the breeze blowing and the sweet smell of mown grass drifted in, this was the window that babycat jumped into to sleep. his lumbering body stretched out on the sill, he would lay there throughout the night. in the morning, he would put his paw down in front of his body and drag it along the wall to carefully get down out of the window. the scratched lines remain. indented in the wall, i am not eager to remove them in these times of dearly missing our beloved cat.

one day, like the vacuum that will remove the ridged lines in the carpet in david’s parents’ living room, a little sanding and paint will remove these scratched lines. but their import won’t go away. the sofa that sat in the living room may no longer be there, but the times spent there will always be a part of that space. the scratches on the wall may be fixed, but the cat that graced our lives will always be a part of this space.

the jowls that are now on my face will remain, however, and i suspect become more pronounced, just like the wrinkles and the grey hairs. all that i have been – including the times when i didn’t care about over-exposure and blurred photos – will remain. all that i have experienced, just like you, makes its mark. and we will be lucky if we someday glance in a mirror at 93 and whine-like-we’re-45, “i look like an old woman!”

jowls or not.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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i struck gold. [k.s. friday]

once upon a time, a long long time ago in a faraway place, something happened. and then, there was A Rift, chasm-like and mysterious to those who followed. members of a family – my family – got hurt and angry and argued and dissed each other and cut off communication. no one really remembers the details but it must have been of gigantic proportion because decades have passed and relationships never regained their footing.

and then.

in the aftermath of breaking both my wrists last year, in the beginning of this global pandemic, in a time of upending change, i decided that life was too short for something i really could not remember, for something that had nothing to do with me, for something that represents tear-down instead of build-up. i started to research.

now, with google and all manners of social media, it doesn’t take a private investigator type to find people these days. it was not very hard.

and suddenly, my long-lost first cousins were there. in a tiny family tree, it is hugely significant to find first cousins, part of the constellation. sadly, two of them had passed, though there is open opportunity to be in touch with their families. and, miracle of miracles, the one remaining elder in the family from either side – my mom’s or my dad’s – in that age bracket and generation – my aunt – at almost-99-now – was alive and well. this woman who grew up with my father, who could tell me stories of my daddy when he was little-little, was still on this planet and i had had no idea.

i reached out.

just because i don’t remember, nor care, about The Great Rift didn’t mean that others felt the same way. so i was concerned and had some trepidation. but i was determined to try. for five decades i had lost the opportunity to know these people, my relatives. i had lost the chance to spend time with them, get to know them, laugh and cry with them, love them. i had lost over fifty years of relationship, over fifty years of connection. and that loss, something i’ve thought about on and off for these decades, was worth the risk. there’s way too much of that. loss.

they reached back.

and they didn’t just reach back. they reached back with joy. it was amazing to message and talk with cousin tony and cousin linda. it was thrilling to re-connect, my cousin tony laughing when i asked him to tell me everything, from every day, starting from 1970 or so.

in the middle of a pandemic, it is impossible to have the chance to go and (re)meet them yet, but we have our sights set on it for whenever it is safe. a chance to hug my aunt helen will be a chance to hug my dad once again. a chance to laugh heartily with my cousins and their children will be a chance to touch the heart of budding relationships, to touch dna.

though we have been connected despite our disconnectedness, it is a celebration for me to re-connect the dots. at a time when really nothing is more important than relationships, it is not time to be circumspect about connection. we are related! my cousin linda wrote words of promise i hold dear, “i can’t wait for the day when we just pick up the phone and just call each other without having to think about it.” yes. and cousin tony’s words ring true for me, “let’s not lose this connection again.”

Great Rifts seem to be prevalent. especially in these times of divisiveness. as i think about all the tragedies of even just the last months, i wonder what could be so important, so utterly pivotal, that could destroy connection. there is no doubt. we could exist somewhat without others, without ties. but connectedness feeds us and our souls in ways that nothing else can.

my sweet momma used to remind me of the girl scout song, “make new friends but keep the old. one is silver and the other’s gold.”

connected.

grateful.

i struck gold.

*****

listen or download music from my little corner of iTUNES

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

CONNECTED from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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jen-napkins. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

 

napkin copy

these napkins make me think of jen.  it’s the reason we bought them.  at every single gathering with jen and brad, jen, who is an amazing creator of festivity, sets out fun napkins.  patterns and colors and images and phrases.  not the 300-1-ply-approx 6″ square-white-napkins-in-plastic-wrap kind of napkins, but napkins you choose that have some panache.  confident napkins.  napkins with personality.  napkins that celebrate.

i grew up with the other kind of napkins.  my sweet momma bought the 1-ply-approx-6″ kind of napkins all my growing-up years.  sometime in their retirement, beaky switched to vanity fair napkins, which are a bit more substantial and, in their substantiality, a bit fancier.  any sweetly patterned napkins were reserved for special occasions, parties, holidays.  because DNA is a powerful thing, our beaky passed all this down to me, and so, i haven’t yet reached the vanity-fair-napkin-stage.

we actually are cloth-napkin people.  because tight-budgeting runs through my veins, we seek out two cloth napkins as souvenirs when we travel, instead of chachkies.  we can tell you where all our cloth napkins are from and love to pick out which ones to use from the drawer in the dining room.

but there is something to these fun napkins that jen uses.  in the basement where we keep party supplies are several packets of fun, patterned, imaged napkins.  i’ve been saving them.  for company, for special occasions, for a celebration.

the other day i took out a handful and put them on the kitchen table.  the last couple of evenings, as we sit with a glass of wine, i have laid one at our spots.  this little napkin instantly makes me happier.  a simple napkin.  our moments of sharing a glass of wine at the kitchen table have become moments of celebration.

so, in this time of waiting and uncertainty, i have decided, even though it will require much pushing-back-against-that-nagging-stingy-voice-in-my-head, that we will use all those napkins.  i’ll go downstairs and get all the fun jen-napkins we have, no matter the season to which they are dedicated.  we’ll set them out and use them, making each time we are at the table together a celebration.

and i know my sweet momma, our beaky, will be smiling down at us.  “wowee!” she’ll say.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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voila! [merely-a-thought monday]

something wrong with me box copy

20 rolled his eyes at himself when he told us the story.  he was at the grocery store and was looking at dish soap.  he likes dawn dish soap; it gets the best ratings, he said.  as he is peering at the shelf of containers, he can see that way in the back is a container with just a bit more…the volume of the ones in the front seem lower than this particular one in the back.  so he reaches all the way in, moving aside other dawn bottles now rejected by him and pulls out the one where he can see the soap level just-a-little-bit-higher.  he notes that the plastic bottle is not squished or dented (for obviously that would cause a rise in level) and he triumphantly puts the chosen bottle in his cart.  voila!  “there must be something wrong with me,” he said.

as a person who grew up with soap socks and leftovers i couldn’t disagree more.  of COURSE you look for the highest level of soap in the bottle.  that’s a no-duh.  penny-pinching and making things last as long as possible were unspoken mantras for me; they still are.

my sweet momma kept a soap sock.  for those of you who have no clue what that is:  as a bar of soap gets smaller and smaller it becomes increasingly difficult to use.  never to waste anything, my momma would gather all of her tiny vestiges of soap bars and put them in a clean white sock (generally a sport sock…something a little thicker with a tooth like a washcloth.)  she would tie off the end and voila! there you have it – a washcloth with built-in soap!  a soap sock!

i have inherited this trait from my momma.  i will turn bottles upside down and squeeze the life out of them in order to finish all the product.  days after d has declared a shampoo bottle empty i am still encouraging shampoo out of its depths.  our refrigerator rarely has much extra in it – we buy for what we need and we use it up, even if it ends up as some weird concocted leftover.  growing up i didn’t need the “starving children in ….” speech.  i had dna.

so when 20 told us that he takes three pre-packaged 3 lb bags of potatoes over to the scale and weighs them i listened.  apparently, 3 lbs of potatoes can look like 2 3/4 or 3 1/2 or 4 1/4 lbs.  who knew?  you can bet i’ll be trying that.  more potatoes for the money!   voila!

“there must be something wrong with me,” 20 said.  nah.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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ks friday

jacketrfthjpeg copywith the advent of ancestry kits and accessible dna testing, we are a society of people with more desire to learn about our individual heritage.  for christmas, The Girl and The Boy each got a dna testing kit from their father.  i’m excited to hear the results of these.  it’s fascinating to me to find out what our roots are; despite some specificity flaws and rounding up (or down) of genetic heredity in the testing and reporting kits i have read about, it is still interesting to know just a little bit more about where we come from.

my sweet momma and poppo traveled to salt lake city to work on the genealogy of our family.  they spent hours in the library there, researching.  they would have loved the idea of simply submitting dna to find out a broad spectrum of heredity, of lineage, but i suspect they still would have traveled to work on this the old-fashioned way, looking for names of family and how the branches of the tree spread out.

without doubt you have seen the commercials for these tests.  my favorites are the ones where people find that they were either mistaken about their ethnic heritage or they found that there were some surprises.  the best part is that – and i know it’s a commercial, but hey, i’m gullible – they embrace learning about this new part of their identity they had no idea existed.  they embrace something different.   they want to celebrate ethnicities they knew nothing about.  why not celebrate these whether or not it is a part of our heritage?  maybe we can make the legacy we pass down one of inclusion and acceptance and a curiosity to learn and welcome others, whether or not their dna matches ours.

 

to download LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART track 12 – on iTunes

to download LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART track 12 – on CDBaby.com

to purchase the physical CD RELEASED FROM THE HEART

and if you’d like to browse KS DESIGNS on SOCIETY6.com:

LEGGINGS

THROW PILLOWS

WALL ART

TOTE BAGS, CARDS, HOME DECOR

 

KS FRIDAY (KERRI SHERWOOD FRIDAY) – ON OUR SITE

to read DAVID’S thoughts on this KS FRIDAY

LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

 

 


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ks friday #2

jackettpotjjpeg copyone of the first things i told david when we spoke was that “i don’t do nutshells.”  he had asked me a question and framed it with, “in a nutshell….?”  i laughed.  it is not in my dna to do nutshells.  none of my family is good at nutshells.  my big brother always told a long long story, filled with minute details.  he was brilliant and it was always truly fascinating to listen to him.  my poppo was the same way, when you got him started.  my sweet momma, well, she was a practiced tangent-story-queen.  and my sister?  suffice it to say she is much like me in story-telling.  😉

i love a good story.  i WANT to hear the details.  i WANT to see ALL the pictures, not just a few.  i WANT to know what-happened-next.  it’s the same way i will tell a story, winding all the peripheral stuff right into the very crux of the point, as if it all mattered and carried the same weight, which, of course, isn’t always true.  there have been people in my life who have said, “get to the point!”  (which i have to say is not a fun thing to be told; it deflates the storyballoon inside one’s heart and makes you lose track of what it was you were trying to say in the first place.)

i blame growing up on long island as well as dna.  people tawwwwwk there.  they will go on and on.  and interrupt each other.  and go on and on.  it’s great fun following a conversation that way – you are never bored. perhaps a little blurry on the story-point-edges, but never bored.

it’s a long story is the first piece on the album this part of the journey.  it starts off with a lift and has a cello line i wish i had the ability to perform.  the amazingly “fine” ken produced an album for me that has withstood time.  originally recorded in 1998 on a CFIIIS, this is still my best-selling original instrumental album.  we were in the studio for long hours, sometimes as long as 23 hours at a time.  but we were moved by our studio musicians and their performances on each track and it was easy to summon the energy for this emotional album.

i felt that it’s a long story could be an apt first instrumental piece on ks friday in the melange.  with my first album released in 1995 it’s already been a long story.  as i continue to define and re-define, i’m hoping that same long story continues.  thank you for listening and listening and listening…no nutshells here.

IT’S A LONG STORY from the album THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY (track 1) iTunes

KS FRIDAY

www.kerrisherwood.com – buy the album

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

check out DAVID’S thoughts on IT’S A LONG STORY

IT’S A LONG STORY from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 2000 kerri sherwood