Thursday, December 26, 2013



The make believe language module

My 91-year old aunt and 77-year old bachelor uncle work through the daunting task of installing a replacement, hearing-aid-friendly telephone.

Reaching out, the pair calls my house. 'Are you available to help install the phone?'

My wife and infant son are with me, listening.

'Sounds ok to me, are you talking to me on the new phone?'


'Hmm, let's call each other a few times to test it.'


Ring, ring.

'Bonjour, comment allez vous?'

'Tim?  Is that you?'

'Oui.  Je m'appel Tim.'

Hang up. 

I dial out.

'Terve.  Mina olen Timo Somero.'

Hang up.

Ring, ring.


'Yes?' I ask.

'Was that you?'

'It was, but I think that your new phone is defective.  It only worked in French and Finnish!'

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Christmas Present Ever

'Are you getting cheese on your Whopper Jr.?

'No. I never get the cheese.

'Why not? It tastes good.

'I don't like it.

'You don't like it?

'Ok, what I mean is I don't like the marked up price for a slice of cheese.


'Twenty cents for a slice of cheese when I could buy a whole package for a dollar.


'For 40 years, I never bought the cheese so now we can afford our honeymoon.

After I allocated my life savings from 10,000 cheeseless hamburgers, my wife Beth and I had a magical honeymoon in Vermont.

Timothy Earl Somero happily married Beth Alisa Slusser-Dunn on December 24, 2011 at 5:00 PM.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


'Why are those carrots there?'

I look to the ottoman and see a huge bag of carrots.

'My roommate.


'Last November, my roommate decided to get healthy so he bought that bag of carrots.

'Ok, it's April now.

'Yeah, I know, but he pulled the carrots out of the fridge a few days ago.

Eyebrows furrow.

'So he takes a carrot out of the bag, slimy, slightly soft, and tries it. It's no good. Looks like he hasn't moved the carrots since then.


Quiet relaxation on the couch.

We stare at the carrots.

'I'm going to put the carrots in the bathtub.

I smile.

She moves.

I hear the heavy thunk of carrots in the tub.

'Let me know how long they stay in there, ok?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Change Springs in the Raspberry Patch

Last year I left a job undone in my raspberry patch. I dead headed the southern slope of the patch and the northern side was left in thick messy brambles.

I start on the north side today and at high noon lose interest before going inside. Inner resolve drives me so after an Internet conversation with my cousin, I return to the patch.

First, I collect dead, dry vines into piles.

I look at the patch and decide to sweep the patch progressively in rows, north to south.

Inch by inch and foot by foot, I snap dead dry vines near the roots and toss them into the gusting wind as they carry out of the patch.

I measure my progress after each successive row.

I sigh and lean over to continue.

Inch by inch.

Foot by foot.

I settle into a routine of snapping dead vines and I see a root system at the base of each clump.

A source.

My late Hawaiian friends words, 'Nana e ke kumu.' come to mind.

Look to the source.

My routine becomes rhythm as I take hold over each root, twist to hear the crack of old vines and the live ones bend, pliable.

Look to the source.

I stretch at the end of a row and walk around to lean over and start again.

With little thought before beginning my effort, I wear woolen glove inserts.

Prickers pass occasionally into my fingers.

Find the source, hold above the root, twist the wrist, remove the dead vines.

Leave the live ones.

I feel my bare wrist reddened as prickers touch it again and again.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

I continue and see the edge of the patch.

Every year, I try a raspberry and it lands in my mouth. My eyes squinch into a grimace. Yecch. But producing gallons of raspberries with little effort is a delight to my friends and family.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

I look back through where I moved and see mixed results. Some dry vines stand, maybe as a memorial. Some live vines nestle within the piles outside the patch.

Some fertile dark soil turns skyward as I pass.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

The wind gusts carry the dead and dry vines as I toss them, landing in misshapen piles. The sun bright, sky blue.

Funny, I think, that rebirth of any entity often means following the same routine. In the beginning, the messy brambles are a singular entity. The reclamation process is not immediately clear, but clearly necessary.

With time, patience, and persistence, a simple routine emerges.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

When I finish, I cast ashes into the patch as the wind splays them through the standing live vines. I toss used chicken bedding into the wind cast among the vines.

Look to the source.

Hold above the root.

Twist the wrist.

Remove the dead vines.

Change springs in my raspberry patch.

Of Mice and Eggs

'I grew up on a farm.'

'A big farm?'

'No. We had chickens. A farm down the road had cows. We had enough chickens for eggs.'

I smile.

'I saw some of the strangest things. Before school, I check to see if there is enough food and water for the chickens.

'One morning, I peer into the hen house and we mounted apple boxes on the wall for the hens to lay eggs. And you know, shavings on the floor.

'The mice.' He laughs.

'Ever see mice in your coop?

I shake my head no.

'One morning, I peek into the coop, notice mice and just watch.

'These are big mice, sort of like rats.

'They were in the apple box and roll the egg to the edge. It drops.

'Now they jump to the floor where the egg is buried halfway into the shavings.

'Remember, they can't roll it through the shavings.

'One mouse huddles over and hugs the egg, leaning back, pressing it to its belly.

'Now get this. The other mouse grabs its tail and starts dragging the mouse, hugging the egg, out of the coop!

'My eyes widen and I run inside, "Dad! Dad! Have you ever seen anything like this?"

'Dad smiles at me nodding.'

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book List

My new ambition is to read again and people are suggesting titles. Rather than let them drift away, here's a start of my book list:

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Toothbrush Story

'Why do you have two empty tubes of anti-itch cream by your sink?'

'I use that stuff for hives.'

'Yeah, but why two empty tubes?'

'Cause if I run out, I slice open the tube and there's enough to get by with.'

'I threw them away.'


'Why did you have two empty things of deoderant by your sink?'

'Cause I throw them in my bag for weekend trips, and throw the deoderant away before I come home. Don't have to buy travel sizes.'

'When was your last weekend trip?'

'Labor Day. I don't have money or vacation right now to travel.'

'I threw them away.'


'Why do you have so many tooth brushes?'

'I like to rotate them.'

'I piled them standing up in the corner.'

'Uhm...did you put my roommate's toothbrush in the pile?'


'That's pretty gross.'

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Avoiding Work

I lived in Minnesota during my 20s and this timeless story springs from that era.

My future brother-in-law sleeps in.

His phone rings.

He answers.


'This is work. Is that you? Are you coming in to work today?'


'Why NOT?'

'Cause I'm stupid.'

The phone clicks back into its cradle.