Memories they hope they'll never forget

Memories they hope they'll never forget

Sunday, June 20, 2010

LLLLLake POWELLLL!!! by Toots

Still searching for the pics to go along with this post:-)

Probably my favorite memory of Pops is undoubtedly his least. It was probably one of the best trips to Lake Powell EVER!! There was no need to search for glass because it was everywhere! Besides the fact that I was vacationing with my hot boyfriend, my two other best friends came along as well. Jess kept Curtis (and every one else) entertained while Lizzie kept Heber laughing. Of course Pops and CC came along as well because it's not a party with out them. Besides we needed them there to keep everyone else from accidentally transgressing. The days were spent skiing, taking naps on the house boat and eating CC's delicious Shepherd's Pie (it always tastes so much better when she makes it:-).

One day we decided to head to the dunes. This was my first time ever seeing them and I was quite excited. Little did I know I was about to receive the show of a life time. Throughout the trip Pops would scream "LLLLLAKE" while I answered with a low pitched "POWELLLL." It never got old and we never tired of hearing it yelled across the beautiful lake. Once we reached the sand dunes we started the hike to the top which would inevitably end with a rush back down to the bottom through the hot sand. Pops was the first to go.

We heard a belting "LLLLLAKE POWE........" and then it went silent, except for the sound of Pops tumbling down the steep 100 yard dune. First his glasses came flying off and he kept tumbling. The next thing we saw were CC's skinny little legs rushing down after him. When you're dating a really cute boy that you could potentially marry the last thing you want to do is disappoint his parents. It's probably best to be as polite and cordial as possible but when you are in the company of Jessica Morrow and Lizzie Etherington, not forgetting to mention the three Cannon boys, the giggles are extremely hard to repress.

Try as we may, we held them in but out came the bursts of laughter after we found out Pops was ok. Other than the mission of trying to find his glasses, the damage was pretty minuscule. Probably the only thing hurt was his pride, which would happen to anyone plummeting to the earth at 20 mph. The greatest part of the story is that Pops got right up and skied the rest of the trip. Nothing can stop him from having fun. I love the fact that he walks miles and miles every day. I love that he is energetic and still loves to play any sport. Pops is the epitome of 60 being the new 40. Nothing can get him down, that is, unless it's a 300 foot sand dune lurking on the outskirts of Lake Powell.

Waist Deep by Sheesh

There are few things in life better than riding up the lifts of Snowbird with Dad. Particularly if it’s the day after a huge snowstorm and you are anticipating fresh tracks in the feathery-light powder. As you sit and watch other skiers float down the mountain and whoop it up, you drool for your chance to feel the soft snow fly past your face. On more than one occasion Dad and I admired from the lift our freshly-made tracks on the slopes. While most of those tracks were usually quickly ruined by some other skier’s tracks, etched in my memory are two sets of untouched powder tracks in Little Cloud bowl, beginning just below the treacherous rock cliffs of the East Twin Peak and running far above the traverse trail, and for all skiers everywhere to take notice. We were the greatest skiers on earth that day.

It started as a promising day. Dad and I headed up to the Bird two days after a humongous snowstorm had dumped several feet of new snow in Little Cottonwood. Reports were that Little Cloud had not yet opened. After stashing Cokes in the snow—our frozen liquid reward for a good day of skiing—we headed to the slopes. As we boarded Mid-Gad, we saw the snow report: Little Could was open, but Little Cloud bowl was closed. We decided to head to Gad 2 to start. From there we could monitor the bowls above while taking in the deep white stuff of Gadzooks.

After two runs on Gadzooks—both unbelievably good runs, although not completely fresh powder—we noticed a line forming at the top of Little Cloud, right where the traverse started. We headed straight to the bottom of Little Cloud. As we were riding up, the line at the top broke, and suddenly you could hear whoops and hollers echoing off the cliff walls and around the Little Cloud cirque as what looked like ants started dropping off the traverse and into the fresh powder. Our adrenaline shot up as we realized the magnitude of what was happening—first tracks for the rest of the day in deep fresh powder, and the possibility of the greatest day of skiing ever. Dad looked at me, pulled out of his pocket a frozen Snickers for each of us, and smiled. “You ready for this?” he asked. I just nodded and looked up the slope, smiling.

As we neared the top, we choked down our Snickers, tightened our boots, and gathered our poles. It was go time. We slid off the lift, made a right turn, and were off toward the traverse. We headed slowly down the traverse, looking for the best drop off. Honestly, there wasn’t a bad place anywhere to go, but to get the very first tracks, we headed further across. Then we dropped in. At first I was surprised at how slow I was going. Little Cloud is very steep, and I was hardly moving. Then I realized that I was further than knee-deep in this powder. I was waist deep. Making turns required jumping and pulling your feet up toward your chin, and it was a lot of work. However, along with the work came the greatest feeling of powder skiing, and the point at which you realize that you are in deep powder: when the snow crystals are gliding over your goggles, and if you breathe in at the right moment, you are actually breathing snow. Perfect.

After five or so runs like this, we headed to the lodge for some lunch and to rest for a few minutes. Each run had been just as magnificent as the first. The only thing that was not cool about the day so far was that there were other people at Snowbird that day. And most of them were having the same experience we were. So much so that by the time we made it back up after lunch, most of the bowl had been tracked out. Although the skiing was still ridiculously awesome, we were no longer making our own tracks.

While riding up the lift after enduring two more runs of pretty perfect skiing in others’ tracks, Dad pointed to the area of untouched snow directly above the traverse line. “We can make our mark there”. I smiled and said, “I’m in”, as I realized this was going to be an epic run.

We got off the lift and headed down the traverse, heading to the area which Dad had pointed to. We arrived at the spot, and looked up. We were now directly below the East Twin peak of the Little Cloud bowl, a couple of hundred yards below where the rocky cliffs led to the peak itself. I was surprised at how steep it was, and wondered if we would make it very far up. We took our skis off, coupled them together, and took the first few steps up. Each step I sank in nearly to my waist, and I quickly realized why it is worth every penny to ride a lift. We labored up the slope for over half an hour, taking short breaks to catch our breath and take in the view. We must’ve gone up about 150 yards or so before we were directly below the rocky cliffs. We stopped, sat down, and once again took in the view as we chatted about what was about to transpire. “Don’t mess up” Dad said to me as I pushed my boots into my bindings. We both knew that our tracks would be inscribed in the mountain for everyone to see, and what could be worse than an inscription of three perfect turns and then a huge hole, where the skier had fallen!

I don’t remember who went first, or if we went together at the same time, but neither of us fell. The powder was just as deep as anywhere else, but it was steeper, so the work was not as hard. And it was as smooth and light as gliding on perfect glass at Lake Powell. We were both in heaven! When we reached the traverse, we had to stop, look up, and admire our work: two perfect untouched tracks in the powder, side by side, etched into the mountainside. And etched into our memories forever.
As we rode up the lift again, we again admired our work. Although we did not repeat the hike, we did have to ride up the lift one more time, just to see our lone tracks above the traverse from the perspective that all other skiers would be admiring it for many days to come. A week and a half later, while riding up Little Cloud with friends, I proudly pointed to our tracks, which were still there. It was, I think, the greatest 150 yards of skiing in my life.

While that was the best day of skiing with anyone, every day skiing at Snowbird with Dad was the best day of my life. Thanks Dad for popping for season passes and taking the time to enjoy the Bird with me!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I Was Attracted by CC

I first saw him standing on the steps of the Music Building. I’d heard quite a bit about what a sharp guy he was, and a couple of people had asked me if I wanted to be lined up with him, but I’d never laid eyes on him until that moment. He was in a light tan soft leather jacket, not the kind motorcyclists wear, but the kind hunters wear in very cold climates. It set off his baby face and rosy cheeks very well. In those days, his cheeks were always rosy, especially when it was cold. And that day, it was cold. I knew right then that, yes, I would like to be lined up with Jim Cannon.

It was one December day, while I was working at the Reserve Desk at the U of U Library, that the phone rang and Mrs. Musser, my boss, said it was for me. I was shocked to hear an unfamiliar voice asking me out on a date while I was at work. My first thought was that, “Wow, this guy really has a lot of nerve calling me at work when he’s never even met me.” But accept I did and we went to a basketball game at the old U of U Field House. It was December 21st, 1963.

I remember having a great time and thinking he was good looking, fun, bright, an excellent conversationalist, and seemed to have some real depth. At the end of the evening, I was again amazed at his confidence when he asked me to an organ concert on Christmas Eve. You don’t spend Christmas Eve with just anyone, you know….and we had just met.

Christmas Eve was good, though. I was involved in a Sub for Santa project right up until 10:00 P.M. when the doorbell rang, immediately followed by the sounds of “Joy to the World.” As usual, I was far from ready, but Dad bought me a little time, much to my embarrassment, when he answered the door and joined in their caroling with his booming bass voice and impressive size, blasting them right off the front porch. One thing that amazed me then and forever after was Jim’s self-possession in the presence of one of the most intimidating individuals on the planet…my father. Dad was notorious for scaring off even the bravest of suitors. But not Jim, who stood boldly forth, singing back in his melodious tenor range, while Dad continued to show off his own incredible bass talent. They looked like David and Goliath together, and actually that is not a bad comparison in more ways than one. Jim never even seemed to be aware that Dad was frightening.

As soon as he opened the car door and I caught sight of Marynel Garff (Thorley’s) foot, I knew I had blown it. The foot had on nylon stockings and fancy heels. Her date, Dick Hinckley, had on a suit and tie, as did Jim. I looked like the cleaning lady in my levi skirt, bobby socks and saddle oxfords. It had never occurred to me that this would be a fancy date.

We did three things that night: we went caroling to the homes of several German people who had joined the church, because we were doubling then and ever since, with Jim’s German missionary group. Caroling in the dark, snowy night, my garb didn’t matter much until we got to the church for the organ concert. In those days, people dressed up for such things! I was out of place, but the worst was yet to come. The third and last thing we did was to go back to Jim’s house for refreshments…..and meet his mother, Grandma Beth. By then, the group was teasing me mercilessly about the footwear. I remember using the throw pillows on Cannon’s couch to cover my feet.

I didn’t realize then how young 49 was, but Beth was just 49 and very recently widowed, Grandpa Ted having passed away just 1 month earlier. Though I hardly knew them, I remember feeling a twinge of sadness for this little family, their first Christmas without a husband and father. That was another thing that impressed me about Jim. He was so open and willing to share his feelings about his father---- his tragic death, and even his tragic life. I was equally impressed with his concern for his mother. I was not unaware that we were there in that home at that time, partly to help fill the void that surely was present.

My mother, Grandma Phyllis, never stood still…she was in constant motion. But it was soon after that night that I was in the kitchen ironing. While madly working over the stove, she stopped abruptly and asked, “So, what do you think of ‘this fellow’?” I remember saying, “He might be the sharpest person I have ever been out with.” Her face lit up with excitement…like maybe something big was about to happen. She began to grill me on the specifics of that sentence.

I shared with her some of the qualities I loved about Jim then as well as now: his looks, his intellect, his humor, and how he treated me. I also sensed a maturity about him that I later realized, came partly from filling in as a father figure for his family in the wake of his Dad’s alcoholism. Not to mention he had just been through the refining experience of burying that father, and processing all that goes into losing a parent. And another big factor was the spiritual aura that surrounds recently returned missionaries. He had that aura. I was attracted.