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Join the discussion: For a newcomer to America, an unexpected welcome from a 9-ton metal dinosaur

Cimmy, a dinosaur that sits at the Cimarron Heritage Center in Boise City.Lissandra Villa/Globe Staff

BOISE CITY, Okla. — Some people have the Washington Monument or the Golden Gate Bridge or Mount Rushmore to associate with their first memories of a trip to the United States.

I have Cimmy the 9-ton metal dinosaur.

I first met Cimmy when I was about 5, when my mom, brother, and I drove here from our home in Mexico to visit my father, who had moved to Oklahoma to work at a hog farm. Later, the rest of the family would immigrate to the United States, but in the two years or so he lived in Boise City, we only got to visit him as a family once — for two weeks in, we think, 1998.

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Lissandra Villa Huerta can be reached at lissandra.villa@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @LissandraVilla.