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Ann Cannon: What's on your happy map?

Published April 6, 2017 9:19 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Some picture books speak as much to adults as they do to children — or maybe even more. "The Map of Good Memories" by Fran Nuno is one of those. The story's young heroine, Zoe, is forced to flee her war-torn town, but before leaving, she makes a map of the places where she has been happy. After reading the book, I listed a few of the places I'd include on a memory map of my own.

My granddaddy's garage

My maternal grandfather was a mechanic who owned a garage and service station just off Highway 189 in Sublette County, Wyo. It was also a local watering hole where men with weathered skin gathered to talk and buy my brother John and me bottles of Squirt from the pop machine.



For the record, no one used the fancy Eastern word "soda" there.

Meanwhile, I heard stories about my mother, aka "The Rodeo Queen," when she was a teenager. She and her parents had lived in an apartment attached to the garage and when customers arrived, she'd stroll casually outside, her hair lathered with shampoo, to pump gas. Sometimes I'd look out the window, wishing I could see the ghost of my willowy girl-mother, her hair filled with bubbles, standing there.

Liberty Park

We used to have picnics there when I was a little girl, still living in Salt Lake. And when my own baby grandson lived with his parents in Sugar House, I used to take him there on our Wednesday walks beneath all those heavy-limbed trees. Circle of life, y'all.

That stretch of highway between Tucson and Phoenix

So one year my husband gave me a solo road trip for my birthday in March. I flew to Phoenix, watched some spring ball, rented a car, drove to Tucson and watched some more spring ball. I drove back to Phoenix as the sun was setting, streaking the sky with shades of rose and mauve and midnight blue. Meanwhile, the desert exploded with crazy blooms straight out of Dr. Seuss. I rolled down the windows and turned the radio way up high like I was 16 all over again.

The Spiral Jetty

The last time I went there, my husband and I were the only humans around for miles and miles. As we stood on the jetty with long-legged birds making lazy circles in the air overhead, we both felt like we could hear the Earth take long, unhurried breaths, reminding us that she was here before we were. And that she'll be here long after we're all gone.

The maternity ward of Salt Lake Regional Medical Center

Except that's not what it was called then. It was called Holy Cross Hospital. And once when my girlfriend Sally and I were both eight months pregnant, we ended our morning walk with an impromptu and completely random visit to the maternity ward there. We stood outside the nursery window on that snowy morning, looking at newborns, yearning to reach out and touch their soft baby hair.

The beach

Any beach. I see the ocean, glittering in the sun, each night when I close my eyes.

Eastlawn Memorial Hills

This is the cemetery in the foothills above my old house in Provo. My friends and I used to go sledding there in the winter and hiking in the summer. Now some of the people I have loved most in this world are buried in the place where I used to play: my father-in-law, my grandparents, my girlfriend Becky, my dad. We buried Dad in January to the sound of a single bagpipe and, strangely, the remembered music of children laughing.

What would you include on your map?

Ann Cannon can be reached at acannon@sltrib.com or facebook.com/anncannontrib.

 

 

 

 

 

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