February 18, 2006

A few words in defense of Pueblo

Last week, a correspondent tried to engage me in a discussion of the etymology of "bojohn," a word that is used only in Pueblo County, so far as I know.

And, so far as I know, it must be related to "bohunk," but simplified, the way we do things here in the West.

It's a local ethnic tag, the way that "river French" is used around Cape Girardeau, Mo., and environs.

Sometimes Pueblo baffles me with backwardness, but at other times it is sort of sweet, if you can say that about a city.

It's a city where you can get things fixed, as opposed to having to discard the old and buy the new. And there are options besides buying new: I think of Northern Avenue as the The Street of the Used Appliance Dealers, but on Thursday, when I suddenly needed a "new used" electric stove for the guests at the cabin, I was able to buy one quickly downtown.

And while I was there, I dropped by the shoe-repair place where I had left a leather backpack, my "urban backpack," for repair. I pulled out my wallet, thinking that the minimum charge would be at least $10.

When I asked what I owed for the competent repair job, the white-haired woman behind the counter replied, "$1.60."

"$1.60?" I repeated.

"That's all I can do you for," she said.

And remember, guys, in Pueblo your clean black jeans count as formal wear.

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