the little red flag goes up. the waiter stops by, brings you back what you need.what you think you can't live without. it's the same red flag I remember from my childhood. with its same sense of urgency.
we used to go with my family and for friends' birthday parties. sometimes we'd go after riding the old, rickety wooden Twister or Wildcat at Elitch's. perhaps even a Colorado kid's rite of passage. Kyle (of South Park fame) even gets to take friends for his birthday party.
the pink tower facade looks the same as I remember. the sign over the door reads Casa Bonita. the wooden doors at the entrance and the line to order, winding through the mexican village facade do too.
you're kidding, right? I inquired of my friend when she said that was our Friday happy hour destination. a bunch of adults heading for an enormous restaurant that has very untasty food and caters to kids seemed ridiculous to me. it wasn't my call, or hers. we went despite my best attempt at dissuasion.
as we walked around, childhood memories came flooding back. running through the cave with my brothers and sister. playing in the jail with my bestest friends. the same friends that would decide a few short years later that my clothes were no longer "cool" enough for them.
Ignacio the dragon hasn't aged a day in 20 years. he looks good. he still guards Black Bart's pirate booty. and the scary cave, like the picture in my mind, is cheesy, yet entertaining, but perhaps a little more claustrophobic than that picture.
the cliff divers now seem small, and young. the cliff and lagoon seem shrunken. even the mexican village seems tiny. the skee ball machines seem unnaturally low to the ground. miniatures of my memories. perhaps that's what happens when a 12-year-old's memories are dredged up years later.
what used to seem larger than life is really rather inconsequential.
I wonder if what now seems important enough to raise a red flag will seem similarly inconsequential in another two decades? will my concerns about advancing my career and finding an amazing guy seem as unimportant in the future as needing another sopapilla does now?
I don't know, but for now, I'll put the red flag down, enjoy my friends' company and try to find some pirate's booty. maybe a glowing necklace will distract Ignacio.