Change The Plan [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

The snack rules on a road trip are different than the snack rules at home. Even when we delude ourselves into thinking we’ll be virtuous snackers on our trip, we quickly breakdown and stop for Twizzlers and Peanut M&M’s. And Munchos. “Do you want some apple?” I ask, and Kerri makes a wrinkly face.

“I don’t want any of that,” she pouts.

That’s when I know there’s a change in the snack plan. That’s when I know there’s a stop ahead. That’s when I know the road trip has officially started. With the onset of wrinkly face we revert to our inner 20-somethings.

“ROAD-TRIP!” we whoop in unison, turn up the music, and speed for the nearest exit.

read Kerri’s blogpost about SNACKS!

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Keep Driving! [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

We both have long histories of epic drives. We like being on the road. In our early days (not that long ago) we thought nothing of 16 hour drives. And then, in a snap, something changed. Namely, being able to see at night. Weird. It’s on the list of stuff that our elders had been warning us about but we paid no attention because it was never going to happen. To us.

It was on the drive home from our honeymoon that we made the rule: no more night time roadtripping. If we can’t afford to stop, we shouldn’t make the trip. If we don’t have the time to stop, we shouldn’t make the trip. And, by the way, what happened to my 20/20 vision? I’m sure it’s here somewhere!

We are quite capable of denial. Denial is a great breaker of rules. Also, circumstance plays a role in our rule following. You haven’t experienced life until you’ve been in a car with Kerri driving like a demon to outrun a tornado. That the sun was setting was not a factor at all. We blasted through the night. I swear that LittleBabyScion nearly took flight. I didn’t know it was night, though, because I had my eyes closed. Sometimes it is simply better to not see what’s coming and keep on driving.

read Kerri’s blog post about KEEP DRIVING

smack-dab. © 2021-2 kerrianddavid.com

Climb That Mountain [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Once, after sleeping through the sunrise at a rest area, we drove through a Starbucks without stopping at the order kiosk. The kind young woman at the window, after politely telling us that we hadn’t yet ordered, brought us vats of coffee for free. She said we looked like we needed it. And, we did. We needed it.

I suppose we don’t really know what is good for us. That might be the reason we regularly step into the ridiculous and only recognize that it is ridiculous after-the-fact. My favorite part of our folly is the paradox that makes it all possible: we have the spirit of feral cats but were raised to be polite and clean our plates. It’s this inner collision that makes possible each and every attempt at scaling Mt. Pancake.

We’ve yet to summit. But, never fear, the next time all-you-can-eat crosses our fancy, we’ll get out the ropes and pitons, the special forks and belts that loosen-a-notch or two, and we’ll climb that mountain until I collapse in the booth and Kerri glazes over in a pancake-coma. Some nice serving person will gently take our plates and tell us to take our time. “No rush,” they will say, “You look like you need to sit for a while.” It’s a wonder they don’t take our car keys.

read Kerri’s blogpost about PANCAKES

smack-dab. © 2021-2 kerrianddavid.com

Porch Sit [on KS Friday]

Quinn used to say that two things ruined western civilization: salad bars (serve yourself) and attached garages. “It all went south when we started inviting our cars into our homes,” he mused. To his list I might add air conditioners. Porch-sitting and the neighborhood evening promenade, with accompanying neighbor conversations, went away with the invention of cool indoor air. Imagine what we might be able to solve if we actually talked to each other on a regular basis. Imagine what nonsense might dissipate if we pulled our heads out of the television and, instead, strolled the neighborhood to see what was going on.

We look for porches. And, when we don’t have one, we create it. I knew I would be with Kerri forever because (among other things) she had two Adirondack chairs sitting in the grass outside the front door of her house. Early in out time together, we sat out front, sipped wine, and waved and chatted with people walking by. She’s dedicated to greater things than cold-air comfort.

When we travel, our airbnb’s almost always have porches. A porch is on the list of requirements. It never fails. The porches in our travels are always sources of good stories, special moments, new friendships. They are not magic. They were invented for peace and polite conversation. They are liminal spaces, both public and private. People wave and greet each other. People stop and chat – even for a moment. You can learn a lot about a new place by sitting on the porch and asking a local carrying a pizza where the good food is to be found (a true story). People like to share what they know.

As Skip reminded us yesterday, people write things on Facebook or other social media that they’d never say otherwise. I think there’s a lot of that going around these days. Forums for ugliness. I’m certain it’s nothing that a good porch and an evening constitutional couldn’t cure.

time together/this part of the journey is available on iTunes or streaming on Pandora

read Kerri’s blog post about PORCHES

time together/this part of the journey © 1997 kerri sherwood

Story A Romance [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

The town was mostly deserted. The streets alive with the light of christmas, almost past. The brink of the moment after. The birth of a memory. We strolled the empty streets. We took our time peering at window displays and pressing our faces to the glass to look at the old-time soda fountain. It was quiet. The night was warm. There was, at that moment, no one else on earth.

“It’s like a Hallmark movie,” she said.

“No, it’s like the set of a Hallmark movie. All the actors have gone home.”

My comment made me smile. Walking down the empty streets, alight and sparkling, perhaps we were the actors on this set. It was our scene to play. The actors had not gone home. The actors had just arrived on set. It was ours to make special, comic or tragic.

Actors on a set. Everyday. Somedays, it is more apparent than others.

“Everyone is just making it up,” Quinn used to say and laugh. Just so. We held hands and decided our story was – is – a romance. We couldn’t have chosen a better set.

read Kerri’s blog post about THE TOWN

Enjoy A Cuppajava [on Merely A Thought Monday]

The night is still and it’s hot. I suppose that’s why we’re having trouble sleeping though, if you read our smack-dabs, you’ll already know that sleepless nights make a regular appearance in our life and, therefore, our cartoon.

Sleepless nights and coffee. You might suspect that the coffee causes the sleepless nights but the opposite is true. Sleepless nights contribute to the giant mugs of coffee in our hands each morning so it also shows up in the hands of our cartoon selves. Puffy comic faces and never-enough-coffee. Sleep deprivation and coffee desperation make for good humor.

Coffee has always been central to our story. Before we met, the subject line of our daily emails was cuppajava. We wrote our cuppajava for months. Eventually, we called our combined catalogue of cuppajava The Roadtrip. With coffee in hand, we wrote truth-fests. Confessions. We asked questions and told secrets and laughed at foibles – all over a cup of coffee shared fifteen hundred miles apart. On my birthday, months before we met, a package arrived at my studio with a pound of Sumatra and a coffee mug stenciled with our shared middle-name (we have the same middle name). After months of correspondence, when we finally met, Kerri picked me up from the airport and had a cup of coffee waiting in the car.

Coffee is more than a casual player in our story. That’s especially true now that we are nearly a decade into our tale and have taken several actual road trips and written over a million words sitting side-by-side.

If we come to stay at your house, don’t be offended if we bring our own coffeemaker and coffee. We are coffee snobs, it’s true, but there’s more to our quirk than meets the eye. My old studio coffeemaker, the one that brewed my cuppajava, goes everywhere with us. It’s raspy and gasps the entire time that it’s brewing, but, somehow, all these years later, it continues to deliver coffee for our chats. Like us, it’s not pretty but it perseveres.

read Kerri’s blog post about COFFEE

Obsess [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

I’d never heard of Munchos until I met Kerri. I’d never pulled all of chip bags off the shelf at a store in search of Munchos until I met Kerri. I’d never been escorted out of a store by the police because of a Muncho search until I met Kerri. And, to make this fun, only two of the last three statements is actually true. Let me just add that the police were kind. Evidently, the officers that came that day appreciated Munchos as much as Kerri.

In reviewing the past several weeks of Smack-Dab, I see how snack-driven we really are. I’d have denied it outright before today. Dogga is completely food driven and you know what they say about people and their dogs. Dogga was in the car during our Munchos near-incarceration. He pretended that he didn’t know us though his deniability was questionable since he was in our car and had a collar with our phone number chiseled into it. The police were kind though. They cautioned him to keep a better eye on us and to forbid us from going back into the market. And then, they gave him a treat. Not a Muncho-treat. Those were nowhere to be found.

read Kerri’s blogpost about MUNCHOS!

smack-dab. © 2021 kerrianddavid.com

Eat Your Consolation [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

We love roadtrips. We’d rather drive than fly.

The rules-of-life change when on a roadtrip. Special allowances are made, especially at snack time. And, the most important rule change when on a roadtrip: it is always snack time.

In our early years, during our first-ever-roadtrip, I learned that Twizzlers held a special place in Kerri’s roadtrippin’ heart. They go waaay back. They are essential equipment. Competition is involved. I’m more of a peanut M&M guy and had never thought of turning my road-snacks into sporting events. In the road-snack department, I apparently had lots to learn!

I lose the Twizzer competition every time. She has years of practice and I adore how wildly she celebrates my defeat. I’m not saying that I throw the game. I legitimately lose. My losing streak has actually become part of our roadtrip tradition. I don’t mind my no-win-record, my consolation prize is a handful of multi-colored peanut M&M’s.

Life on the roadtrip is good. Very good.

read Kerri’s SMACK-DAB thinking

smack-dab. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com

Share The Sketchbook [on Two Artists Tuesday]

Bruce came through town with his son Ben. Ben is a budding Renaissance man, an artist and philosopher. A quiet deep thinker. We marveled at the drawings in his sketchbook. Faces and hands. Figures in motion. A bold sense of color. I remember the terror of sharing my sketchbook and was moved by how eager and easily Ben shared his. A sketchbook, like a diary, is vulnerable, a place to work out ideas, make mistakes, record pain and joy and confusion. We were touched that he was so generous in opening his diary to us.

Big changes are coming Kirsten’s way. Kerri and I laughed at her news, at the ease and enthusiasm she brings to her step off the edge of the known. “I suppose it’s easier to make big changes,” Kerri said, “when you have the bulk of your life still ahead of of you.” I suppose. Or, perhaps, after so many big changes, you come to realize that the real transformations are not in location moves or new jobs. They happen on the inside and don’t seem to be changes at all. More, it’s layers falling off. Discovery of what was there all along.

Bruce and I have known each other for a very long time and have not seen each other in a very long time. Sitting on the deck, a humid hot day, we sipped cold wine and talked about the people we once were. We talked about some of the layers that have fallen off. We laughed at our foibles. There were too many stories to pack into a single visit. There were too many questions to ask and notes to share. I hope we will have more time to sit and share our life-sketchbooks.

Each morning, opening the house, I enjoy the small fountain in our sunroom. The water runs. As a Buddhist would say, “You can never step into the same river twice.” Our fountain reminds me that time runs. Each day is a new sketch. That is true especially if I think I know what will happen that day. I am always surprised by day’s end. Life takes some surprising turns. Some big. Most less noticeable. And, time runs.

I watched Bruce’s face as Ben showed us his drawings. A proud father. Ben looked to his dad, still anchored to some degree in his dad, just as it should be. I remember looking to my dad in just that way. This trip across the country, father and son, will be a good story for them. It is already. It will be told many years from now. A son rolls his eyes. A dad laughs. An old friend and his new wife delight in being part of the day’s sketch.

There is no higher art.

read Kerri’s blog post about THE FOUNTAIN

Go Beyond The Moon [on Two Artists Tuesday]

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon driving the back roads en route to Lake Geneva, our little-baby-scion rolled over into 250,000 miles. We filmed the moment and then pulled to the gravel shoulder for a photo-op. We cheered. We sat on the side of the road and talked about the miles. The stories. This intrepid little car has taken us many places, through many of life’s changes. It only once left us on the side of the road. And, even then, it had the courtesy to breakdown in a welcome center at the Minnesota state line. We were surrounded by helpful voices, towed and back on the road by day’s end.

We sent a photo of the milestone to 20 and his reply was a perfect encapsulation: To the moon and back.

The day we met, holding hands and skipping out of the airport, we jumped into this boxy car, the scion. Kerri had packed me a lunch and had a cup of coffee waiting for me. This car has since been to most coffeehouses in the contiguous United States. The moment we heard that Beaky had passed, we were frantic and driving to get to Florida in time. We did not make it and spent a long afternoon at a park in Illinois, weeping and walking and sitting in the car, wondering what to do. The day we were married we drove away from our reception in the little-baby-scion. It took us to Colorado for our honeymoon. We’ve slept in rest areas in Iowa, moved both kids to other states, drove back and forth across Wisconsin to fetch our dogga. We took my dad on a visit to his hometown for the last time, touring the streets in the scion. It has been a silent observer, the steady presence, to all the major stories of our life. The minor ones, too.

I could go on and on. We intend for this stouthearted little car to go on and on, too, to live with us and carry us through the next chapters and collected stories of our lives. The toaster. The shoe box that has taken us to the moon and back. And now beyond.

read Kerri’s blog post about 250,000