St. Patrick's Day 2012: Sarah and I hopped a bus to Álcala. A magic bus. Kinda like the one Mrs. Frizzle used to drive around the universe and down the digestive system.
I can't really give reasons for why the outing felt so different than any other Álcala outing, except that perhaps leprechauns had sprinkled it with Irish love. We found a clothing store where things actually fit and were on sale to the point that we visited the dressing room two and a half times. We saw bagpipers in green wigs traipsing up and down Calle Mayor. And we definitely cried, "More Irish! Let's get 'em!" when an entire green-wigged posse slid through a side arch into a plaza full of Guinness drinkers and fiddle players. The best finds of the day were completely accidental.
And so with Peggy Sue's.
We met her on a side street off a plaza we never visit, next to an Irish bar promoting pizza and hot chocolate. We found her not far from the playground where a middle-aged woman appointed herself the playground police and yelled at us for using a swingset: "Son mayores, ¿no? Es para niños!" She stared us down with fervor, just stood there and stared. "Son mayores! Son mayores!" But Peggy Sue's comforted us. Peggy Sue's told us it was okay to be childlike.
Peggy Sue's was a corner diner.
She had pink walls with checkered tiles, bar stools and booths with their own individual jukeboxes full of hits from the 50s and 60s. She had a giant TV screen playing Marilyn Monroe and the original Ocean's 11. She had chicken fingers and Diet Cherry Coke and pizzas named "Elvis Presley" and "Frank Sinatra."
We officially made Peggy Sue's acquaintance the next Friday, joined by Adam and Emily. We ordered off the surprisingly small carta, not realizing that the cook would start the hamburgers and French fries at 8:30. (American fare, Spanish hours.) Emily tried ordering the banana ice cream (which the menu claimed was an American favorite) and was told that they'd stopped carrying it (apparently it's equally as favorite in Spain). We punched Ain't No Mountain High Enough and Nut Rocker into our mini jukebox, waiting for the music to take over the restaurant speakers. We ate our Marilyns and our Elvises and talked about how much we liked Peggy Sue's, how we were all going to bring our families here when they came to visit.
The following week, we asked Lynnette if she'd like to bike into town and do supper at Peggy Sue's. She called after her piano lesson with the heartrending news: Peggy Sue's was closed.
"Forever? Or just for today?"
"It looks like forever. Their facebook page says they closed on the 26th." Three days after we'd eaten there. The server really meant it when she said they'd stopped carrying banana helado; she failed to mention that they'd stop carrying everything!
Still, Sarah and I returned to that fateful corner once more, just to be sure.
Door covered. Booths ripped out. The fluorescent light in her eyes gone. Over. Dead. Just like that.
If only we'd had more time, Peggy Sue. If only we'd known. But it was too late.
So we walked around the corner and grabbed burgers from Buddy Holly's instead.