Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Boulder's on My Shoulder

While my love for my wife and family is incalculable and I am a firm believer in the "one direction only" approach to living one's life, there is now and shall forever be a warm spot in my heart for Boulder, Colorado. It has been slightly more than two decades since I graduated for CU-Boulder and given geographic limitations - among others - I do not get to visit there as frequently as I might like. However, while tripping fantastically across the lights of Cheyenne last week, I had a chance to spend a bit of time there and to share the time I was spending with Margaret, Rob and Joe.

Both my wife and my son had gotten my $0.50 tour of the CU campus, the area of the city right around campus and the Flatirons/Flagstaff Summit previously. Rob received his fairly recently - in January of this year when I last visited him in Cheyenne. Margaret received hers almost ten years ago, when we visited Boulder in October of aught-one. Saturday past was Joe's maiden voyage to the one-time home of Mindy and (for a while anyway) America's favorite alien.

No visit to Boulder is complete, for me anyway, without a stop at Abo's Pizza. A lifetime ago, before I had gray and white hair competing for positions of prominence on my head and in my beard, I worked at Abo's. I know less about making pizza than I do about anything else, which is saying a mouthful. Yet even I was able to master the intricacies of the position of "counter man", which is to say I was barely competent at the position but since I always showed up for work and did not steal from the joint I was a paycheck-cashing member of the Abo's family for about my final two and one-half years as an undergrad.

Back in the day (a/k/a "when I worked there") Abo's had three or four locations in Boulder, including a little sliver of a joint on the Hill, which featured New York-style pizza by the slice, fountain soda and zero seats for customers. The ensuing two decades have apparently been very kind to the Abo's operation as the space Abo's now occupies on the Hill is a zillion times bigger than where it once was (I think it is the space where Round The Corner once stood), there is seating for quite a lot of people, much more food is available to purchase than simply pizza by the slice and fountain sodas - while still available - have been joined on the beverage menu by beer.

We of course stopped for lunch while we were in Boulder on Saturday for while I know not precisely how the West was won, I know for sure it was not on the strength of the pizza that is generally available in the Mountain Time Zone. Abo's has dominated the 'za business in Boulder for thirty years for one truly excellent reason: their pizza beats the snot out of everyone else's. Who makes the second-best pizza in Boulder? Know not and care even less because while the gap between #2 and #100 is indiscernible, the gap between #1 and #2 is insurmountable.

While we were in Abo's chowing down on Saturday Margaret - as is her tendency - struck up a conversation with the young lady handling the duties of "counter woman". A long time ago, when I was less flab than I am presently (although no more fab than I am now), she would have been what we called a "Granola girl". In the course of their chat Margaret apparently shared with her the fact that not only was I a CU-Boulder alum but I was also an Abo's alum and told her that I had worked for Abo's while I was a student at CU. This information prompted the young woman to ask me when I had worked there. When I told her that I had been there more than two decades earlier, the space between her jaw and her upper lip was sufficient to stuff a full-sized goat. Upon recovering from her initial shock, she mentioned to me that there is a woman who works part-time at Abo's who is "old too" (meaning over 40) and who had told her younger colleagues that she had worked there since she had been a CU student. The young woman told me the name of this "old woman" but I was forced to admit that I had no recollection of her.

Saturday the pizza at Abo's was - as it always is -excellent. Actually the entire day in Boulder was terrific. It is a place on this planet where the points of intersection between the young man I was and the man I am come together nicely - sharing the stage with one another. And while I shall never live there again - the pace of life simply moves too slowly for me in the West - I enjoy stealing a visit there now and again......

....just tripping the merry-go-round.

-AK

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