Friday, May 23, 2014


To paraphrase the Bangles, it was just another manic Monday. I was sitting in my office staring at the computer screen, wondering aloud where I might find inspiration. Creating a Tied to the Post article every two weeks puts much strain on my brain. Interesting subject matter is hard to come by, so Steve and I are constantly on the lookout for the next good idea. I began vocalizing my concerns because sometimes, someone, somehow, takes notice and gives me a thread of information I can run with. Just then Danny, our Internet manager, hurriedly walked by on his way to his upstairs desk. I took the opportunity to accost him, hoping for insight. He was in such a rush all he said was, "I dunno". "You are just somehow", I commented as he retreated. A bit later Steve strolled by on his way to make a telephone call. "I have nothing to write about this week,” I prompted. All the feedback I got from him was an obtuse snort. "You are so stinkin' somehow," I told him. Another snort.

"Priscilla!" I yelled into the store, "I am brain dead in here." Our friend Priscilla is the matron of moderation around Twin Rocks Trading Post. She is never caustic or too rushed, she is, simply, sweetly somehow. Priscilla walked over to my door, leaned on the threshold and said, "Just write somehow." "What do you mean by that?" I queried. "You know,” she said, "do it like you did it every other time; do it somehow." I thought about what Priscilla was telling me and mentally replayed my encounters with Danny and Steve. There had been a tidbit of inspiration in our interactions after all. Locally inspired conversational dialog, as it turns out, was the key to focusing my muddled mind.

Testing my memory, I tried to discover the first time I heard the word "somehow" in dialectal context. As far as I can recall, it was in the mid 1970s, during my years at San Juan High School. Some friends and I were between classes when we noticed a couple Native boys pushing each other around and cussing in a fashion sure to culminate in a fistfight. As kids do, we stopped off to see the show and wager on the outcome. During the shove fest, one of the boys thrust the other away and hollered, "You were talking to my girlfriend, somehow!" The other boy returned the favor and yelped, "She was talking to me, and we are just, somehow." About that time a teacher came around and broke-up the courtship conflict. The boys seemed to have adequately expressed their frustrations, and in no time were buddies again. My friends and I were hooked, and began to use "somehow" at every opportunity.
Navajo Tree of Life Pictorial Rug - Marie Begay (#03)  –This Rug Is Simply Somehow–
I dare say that if you walk about the trading post or cafe, you will hear the word "somehow" used in a variety of contexts. On or near the Rez it is sociologically acceptable to use the word between friends and family to express loving relationships and to strengthen alliances. With in-laws, the term is used to soften or divert negative commentary and is used in place of criticism. With outlaws, it is employed to lessen the impact of what might be considered frictional commentary. With purveyors of law and order, it is utilized to attempt an exclusion of punishment. A word of advice, however, if you say something like, "Oh, officer you are so somehow," you better say it with a big smile and a look of admiration, even if you don't mean it, because, those who don't, wind-up with free transportation to a Reservation reformatory.

"Somehow" can be very useful in many ways. For instance, in close personal relationships one can use it in to avoid over-exaggerating a sensitive subject. Having previously expressed your concern, and discovering the situation has not yet been resolved, a backdoor apology such as: "Oh honey, I regret, I was just so somehow," might prove useful. I have often seen young, passionate Native couples fawning over each other and using "somehow" in the context of beautiful, sexy, elegant, exhilarating or magnificent. I warn those of you who have a partner uninitiated into the subtitles of the word not to try it on your mate unless they are Rez-wise. I once looked lovingly into Laurie's blue/green eyes and said, "Oh honey you are so somehow." She took it as sarcasm and I wound-up sleeping on the La-Z-Boy sofa several nights.

World English Dictionary; some·how [suhm-hou] adverb 1. in some way not specified, apparent, or known. Idioms, 2. Somehow or other, in an undetermined way; by any means possible. She was determined to finish college somehow or other. Origin 1655-65; some plus how

Twin Rocks Colloquial Dictionary; somehow [sum-howe] adverb or otherwise 1. in all ways not specified but, mostly known. 2. An all encompassing word to explain what cannot be easily explained or described. He/she was determined to finish college but he/she is somehow. Could mean anything and/or everything of consequence. All parties in on the conversation would understand, mostly. Origin 1970 plus or minus a few; some plus how.

Somehow I have found inspiration, somehow.

With warm regards,
Barry and the team; Steve, Priscilla and Danny.

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