Pecos: What’s in a name?

Something I may have mentioned before was the consternation people have with Pecos’ name. Most, out here in the east, pronounce it “Pee-cos”, which is just terrible sounding.

When we adopted Pecos, VGSR described him as a white Shepherd, which was obviously inaccurate once we saw him. As I described before, he has the looks and coloring of a Carolina dog.

To me, not knowing what a Carolina Dog was then, his coloring reminded me of the coyotes where I grew up, though they were a bit smaller in stature. That reminded me of the American Tall Tales which my folks read to me as a youngster and, in particular, the story of Pecos Bill

When I say this to people who ask about the name “Pecos”, I get puzzled looks. Maybe it is an east-coast thing, maybe a generational thing, I don’t know. But I end up not only having to explain the name Pecos, and Pecos Bill, but first have to explain what a “Tall Tale” is.

Most people have heard of Johnny Appleseed (if only from the use of the name in much of Apple’s marketing) and even Paul Bunyan. But when you start asking about John Henry, Casey Jones (not the Greatful Dead song), Calamity Jane or Jim Bowie then folks start wondering if you are making this stuff up on the spot.

I hope these stories and type of storytelling isn’t fading away because sometimes there are good lessons hiding in these stories. Sometimes. Sometimes they’re just silliness.

I also recommend, if you can find one, a book called “A Saga of the Sawtooths” by Hank Senger. These are regionalized “Tall Tales” related to the mountain range found in the state of Idaho.