reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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blue, red, yellow, blue. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we were on the mountain past the junction where the blue trail met red, in the middle of the red trail, heading to yellow. it was considered “moderate” but i wondered what temperature it was outside when someone deemed it “moderate”. because at 90 degrees and humid, it wasn’t feelin’ too moderate.

the day before we had climbed to see a waterfall and then took the trail up from there. up, up and away it went and with north-carolina-mountain-summerish temperatures, we were lucky to find a cool stream at some elevation. david climbed down and dipped the bandana, which i wrapped around my neck. that helped. we got to a spot where it was purely a scramble up boulders and decided to turn around. frozen shoulder and high heat aside, it wasn’t as inviting as advertised. we hiked back down.

back on red, with a branch-ala-trekking-stick in hand, i tried to decide which way to go. back would mean a trail i already had climbed – and i knew there was a lot of up on the way back as well. forward would be a lot longer, but would also mean completing the trail.

to be clear, we were not flip-flopping it here. we had full-on hiking boots on our feet and carried small backpacks with water and snacks and our alltrails app, a wonder of science and technology. thankfully, we had the bandana and there was a stream punctuating our hike.

i’m pretty stubborn most days. if we are walking around town – our own or this mountain town we are currently in – we love to wear flip-flops. we actually haaave hiked in flip-flops, though i wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. standing on the red, even with my boots, i wasn’t sure which way to go. i was overheated and my knee was screeching a little at me. i drank some water and grabbed my stick.

we kept going.

the hike was about six and a half miles, which doesn’t sound too bad, except for the stats said we had also climbed 47 floors. mind you, those are not like the twelve levels of steps in the parking garage after the ej concert. these floors are indicative of elevation and don’t mention roots and rocks and clay and loose pebbles. and humidity. did i mention it was hot?

it’s usually roots that get me. i mustn’t pick up my feet. i don’t know. what i do know is that david – always the genteel and solicitous husband – reaches out his hand or places his shoulder at arm’s reach. he steadies me so i don’t bounce off the side of the mountain or land – never-too-gracefully – in the middle of the dirt trail. he offered to turn around, reassuring me it didn’t matter which way we finished.

sometimes he talks about my shoe choices. but on the side of the mountain, sopping cool bandana around my neck, more than halfway there, he was only encouraging. our conversation about shoes was only about finding new hikers that will take us to yet more adventures. maybe something even more sensible, even more sensitive to our foot-knee-back-hip-shoulder – full-body – needs.

the red trail met up with yellow. i was grateful. mostly, though, i was really happy when yellow met back up with blue. yeeeeeha!

we made it. the whole hike.

and then we sat on the front porch in bare feet sipping a good red watching the traffic go by.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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juicy fruit gum and frank. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

the lyrics are going through my head. “stretch your coffee break! top it off with juicy fruit gum!” i can hear the jingle. over and over.

there is only sooo much you can stretch a coffee break. a few minutes is merely that – a few minutes. kinda like there is only so far you can stretch a $dollah. i mean, one $dollah does not go as far as it used to. stating the obvious. just saying. anyone shopping at the grocery store or filling their vehicle with gas can tell you that. not to mention house sales, rents, deferred maintenance items and – the big one – healthcare. the mighty $dollah just doesn’t stretch.

so, for two artists, in carefully planning how to execute a retirement, there is much to finagle, much to calculate, much to belabor, much to bemoan. and then – like the rogue waves they are – stuff gets in the way. and the aggressive efforts at The Plan get undermined, waylaid, jolted.

we will retire. someday.

frank sinatra croons to me, “fairy tales do come true. it can happen to you. if you’re young at heart…”

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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remotely intuitive. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we have a basket under the tv on the tv stand. in it are all the associated remote control devices. remote for the tv, remote for the cable, remote for the firestick, remote for the dvd player, remote for the older chromecast, universal remote, remote for the ipod dock and a remote for the standing fan, because it seems to be in good company there.

i remember the days – way way back in my growing up house on long island – when we would be sitting and watching our blackandwhite tv in the den. you had to turn the dial to switch the channels and turn a different dial to raise and lower the volume. pretty straight-forward. a product of older parents, i would watch doris day/rock hudson movies and mash and petticoat junction and gidget together with them, never feeling like we were underserved, never thinking we didn’t have enough choices.

and then there’s now. an infinite number of choices.

and yet, we look at each other and ponder when we should cut the cable and minimize – slightly – the cost of all these choices. we know that wifi will connect us to the firestick thing or the chromecast thing or – should we decide a smarter tv is in order – the roku thing. as it is, there are already too many remotes. i personally have lost track of how to access all of it. i think a smart tv would make tv-viewing-life easier that way. but, when is enough enough?

i remember when i wanted to watch a movie – a dvd – after my son left for college and i was an early-on empty nester. i had no idea how to set up the tv (you know, that bottom left button on the tv remote – nonotthecableremotethetvremote! – that sets things to av or something like that) so i called the boy. he patiently walked me through the process, which i wrote down in an effort to not have to call him again.

yikes. it is not necessarily intuitive. and now, with all the paraphernalia and a non-smart tv that’s rapidly approaching “vintage” (even though it is a flat screen and cost a bazillion dollars back in the day) it’s even less intuitive. middle age has its technological challenges. i don’t feel like anyone warned us.

add to that the fact that it is difficult to find something worthy to watch. we roll our eyes as we roll through the viewing guide. and keep a list of things people have recommended you can find elsewhere without all the accessories or, perhaps, with a few less. there’s really a short list of the things we care to view anyway.

goodness! ikea has the right idea. draw pictures and people will figure it out. simple. intuitive. they’ll get it.

my intuitive reaction is to just turn off the tv.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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our muffler. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

“dirtbag!” i could see it on the guy’s disgusted face in the parking space next to mine at the festival grocery store lot. i tried to wait until he was in his vehicle, but he was futzing around outside his car for too long and i needed to get home with my few groceries, so i started littlebabyscion.

it roared to life. i mean, really roared. susan says it’s pretending to be a ferrari for a few moments in time, but i dunno. it’s a bit more jet-engine-like. “prepare for take-off. we’re number two in line on the runway. cross-check!”

i’ve always wanted to say “cross-check”, mostly because i still haven’t figured out what it really means. i just didn’t anticipate saying it in my car.

anyway, i digress.

i know the guy in the parking lot drew ridiculous conclusions about me – me…63 and generally not this noisy – and my vehicle – littlebabyscion, our faithful and trusted toyota companion for the last 258,000 miles and a vital continued part of our retirement planning so as to avoid a new car payment. in the matter of mere seconds, he thought he knew it all, simply from the din. sigh. go drive your buick, you buickman, you.

littlebabyscion – in the middle of other crisis – decided the stress was just too much and blew a hole in the muffler assembly. this happens every september or october; i’m really not sure why they make mufflers out of stainless steel but all the connectors out of metals that rust out rather quickly. regardless, we can count on visiting the exhaust system shop each early fall.

it quickly became louder, from the whisperings i could hear when we left the medical center to the loud and booming voice it had announcing its arrival – and departure – from, well, everywhere.

it’s humbling to drive a car down the road that is making too much noise. people stare. people roll their eyes. you know people are thinking, “geez. get your dang car fixed.”

and – in big surprising news – people make assumptions.

we have an appointment. i called the shop within a half hour of The Noise starting and drove by for a drive-up check to make sure nothing was dragging (which i hope-against-hope stays the way it is now – a tiny strap is holding things together, much like my composure.) our appointment is next wednesday, so there is a considerable amount of time we will still be driving littlebabyscion…aka the-noise-machine.

it surely is a reminder to not make assumptions. we cannot stand in another’s shoes. we cannot know the details of another’s life. we cannot decide that someone is a “dirtbag” simply because their non-sports-car is making a tad bit of noise. it reminds me to step back and give lots of grace.

and to wear earplugs. ’cause it ain’t gettin’ any quieter.

*****

ps. we all know the saying about the word “assume”. by golly, it’s true!

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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the grass. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we are making headway.

at long last, there is not an unsightly mound in our front yard and our grass is actually growing. it is astounding what a little attention will yield.

we will never quality for the lawn olympics, but neither will we get the worst-on-the-block award. we bought a used edger and are defining the daylily garden with vintage bricks that match the old brick wall behind it. we used to have a beautiful old brick patio up by the front door – back in the day – but had to remove it in order to have the (non-disclosed-at-the-time-of-sale) underground oil tank removed. i’ll not forget the day we found a 7′ stick in the garage with carved inch and foot marks. we wandered the yard and discovered the cap, hidden in plain view, that spelled out the epa no-no. our poor yard has been through upheaval more than once.

and so, here we go. the backyard and the frontyard have consumed us this summer. but we are making headway. yup. no medals but it makes us just a little bit happy watching both flourish. just a little attention.

it’s always that way, isn’t it?

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING


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still around. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

he’s the lock screen on my phone. that babycat. every morning i tell him “good morning”. every morning, still, i get a pang looking at his green eyes and the white stripe on his black-fur-face. he is sooo missed.

i made the bed the other day and found tiny white hairs scattered on the comforter. it made me wonder if he had stopped by. i know dogga misses him too, and babycat was dedicated to his dog, so maybe he did come by, just to reassure him.

these pets of ours. vital parts of our hearts, they enhance life, entertaining us, grounding us, loving us unconditionally.

as empty-nesters they are what receive our daily attention, our daily nurturing, our daily worrying. their absence is profound. though gigantic statement of love, it is a great loss felt each day when a furred member of our family is gone.

i would like to believe that babycat is somehow still around. i’d like to believe that he knows – that he’s still adored, that we pine for him, that dogdog sometimes still seems to be waiting for his return. that his life – absolutely – changed mine and, for that, i will evermore be grateful.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ kerrianddavid.com


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zen-yen. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

in looking for a word to describe him, i stumbled across “erudite”. now, this isn’t in my normal vocabulary…i would have said “cerebral” or “in his head”…but “erudite” (syn: learned, scholarly, well-educated, knowledgeable, well-read, well-versed, well-informed, cultivated, civilized, intellectual) fits. yup. yup.

an early morning this week, as he was drinking his coffee, he was staring into space. i asked him what he was thinking about and he told me that it was “a deep rabbit hole” and went on to recount a bit of a book he had read about how our society had been built on henry ford’s assembly line innovation and how that applied to today and our country and the work he is doing and…

it was not quite 6am. pillow talk.

i knew i was wide-eyed, but it wasn’t – necessarily – with fascination.

he asked what i was thinking about as i sipped my -thankgoodnessforit- bold black coffee. i said, “cleaning the bathroom before the plumber gets here.”

he brought his synopsis of the book-bit to a close, postulating a few questions about society in these times.

i said, “i’m gonna swiffer too.”

6am.

though we get there from slightly different places, we usually arrive together. my ever-threading-heart and list-making-practical-feet-on-the-ground self arrives, swiffer and camera and pad and pencil in hand and his heady-thinker-visionaryish-philosophical self gets there, abstruse questions and positivities in tow.

it shows that yes…there are no simple answers, really. there are complex questions. and many ways to get to the answers. oftentimes, well, people in relationship get there differently.

i always want to bring home the zen from a trip. i want to wrap in it, the images from the adventures, the feelings it all gave me and not let it go. i want to evade the stresses that tend to consume all of us.

do i really think that is entirely possible? no. not entirely. life is life and it’s the whole kit-n-kaboodle. i just wanna know that we’re both holding onto that zen, keeping it close at hand. i don’t reeeeally wanna hear about our toolbox of potentiality.

i need some more coffee.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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moving on. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

most of my friends who are my age are retired. they have had long and dedicated careers and, at the time of retirement, chose to retire and were ready to change directions and do something new.

some of them are grandparents now and wee babies and rambunctious toddlers, children growing, growing, take up their time. precious moments spent with these tinies, indelibly etched on their hearts, both.

some of them have chosen to spend time immersed in reading. they have cultivated friend groups who share their passion for diving into books, they discuss and ask questions and share.

some of them have opted for sizing up, adding acreage and livestock to their lives. i can think of no better example of this than linda who, with bill, has adopted multiple alpaca and a horse and a goat and the-most-adorable-donkeys.

others have elected sizing down, heading south, condos and pools and beaches and sun in their future.

some, like the wander women, have chosen a plan, shedding much of the life paraphernalia we all accumulate – absolute free and loose adventure in their sixties, opening themselves up to thru-hike and bike and camp and, inbetween, live full-time in their rv.

and some feel lost, trying on various hobbies for size, seeking satisfaction and fulfillment, an elusive goal.

i am not retired. i am no longer holding a we-pay-you-to-do-this-job but i’m not retired. i haven’t quite figured it all out yet, much like, well, probably, many of you. but i spend lots of time creating…writing, cartooning, writing. i have found birds and plants are speaking to me more these days and i have also found that i don’t require being around a lot of people. i guess i’m a little bit more introverted than i thought.

people have told me that – in losing my last position in a four decades long career path of music ministry – i can redefine. they, in all innocence and with sincerity, have told me that it’s an opportunity for a new beginning. i hasten to say that they might be sighing inside to themselves as they say this, grateful that they don’t have to start anew. we’ve all done it…sometimes it’s easier to be generously gracious when it’s not your challenge. nevertheless, it does feel like a new beginning, so that part is right.

but, in seeking inspiration, coming from life, from the universe, from reading an article, from a conversation, from moments blowing dry my hair, i realize that maybe in looking forward i am avoiding that which is obvious.

linda had more time to pick up knitting needles after she retired. she uses the wool from her alpaca, which she has cleaned and spins, to create beautiful knitted gifts. my favorite fingerless gloves, the ones that always remind me of the canyonlands with my beloved daughter, were made by her. she returned – in this time of a-little-more-space – to what she knew, what she loved to do.

the map of inspiration may bring me forward. but in its forward-ness, it may remind me also of what i know. the map might point out my waiting piano, the pencils scattered on the music stand, the boom mic stand in the corner. it might point out the pieces of writing i’ve started and put aside. it might point out the glee i get from producing our cartoon. it might point out the camera and the poetry and the ahhh’s they bring me. it might connect the dots back. to me.

and in touching back maybe i will be moving on.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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the void. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it’s like an ongoing game-mix of charades and taboo or catch-phrase over here.

we can’t think of a word…we act it out…we “sounds-like” it…we describe the word without using the word…we gesture wildly and stare blankly at each other. we don’t start panicking right away, but there comes a moment when the void is a little too voidish and we wonder if we will ever come up with the word at all.

since we are writers, this is a tad bit relevant. one of us invariably needs a word – we know the word – we are intimately familiar with the word – the word is like second skin – but it has gone missing.

we try to come up with the letter it starts with – say, r, for example. one-of-us insists it starts with an r and that-same-one-of-us launches a verbose description about TheWord, attempting to get the other to ThinkOfTheWord.

“r!” i repeat, “it starts with an r!!”

“and it’s pasta? something we’d have with sauce?? rigatoni?? rotini?? ravioli??”

“no! no! no!” “think!!” “we have it all the time! r!!! come ON!!” beginning to act out what it looks like, hands drawing in the air…

“ribbon??”

“ribbon?? have we EVER had ribbon pasta?? dang!! come ON!!”

“are you sure it’s not a t? like tortellini? or trofie?? or maybe a c? like cavatappi? or cavatelli??”

“geeez. no! it’s an r!!”

“well, i can’t think of another r-pasta. is it penne?”

“penne!! that’s it!!! yes!! penne!! a p!!”

the void is a moat, equipped with word magnets, it seems.

every day another word is butterfly-netted and held at bay, even if only for a few minutes, just to torture us.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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those gizmos. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it happens. yep. iykyk.

we have all done something like this. did we lock the door? did we close the windows? did we leave the iron on? (who irons these days, anyway?)

my sweet momma’s sign on her mirror – “old age is not for wimps” – was prophetic. it’s not just the aches and pains that seem to grab your hand one day and skip along with you, all jolly-like. it’s the yiiiikes moments. those moments when you wrack your brain to try and remember if you did something. and your silly ole brain won’t let you get there. i mean, what IS that?

these are the moments that we can talk about while sitting around with the up-north gang or at friday potluck dinner. these are not moments you wanna mention to the kids. as it is, our stories are less than captivating to them now. add to it a level of aging-hazard and we’ll soon be the proud owners of whatever gizmo will help us be less feeble.

goodness! my momma was right to put that sign on her mirror. it’s not for wimps, these, err, challenges. good thing we are all doin’ it together.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com