Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Coordinates

I've mentioned before that Timpanogos (the majestic mountain landmark to the north of Utah Valley, with Mount Nebo to the south and West Mountain to the -- well, yes, you guessed it, the west) is an anchor from my childhood. I saw it ahead of me most of the way home from Rock Canyon Elementary School along what is now called, appropriately, Timpview Drive. Sunrise, sunset, snow covered, green.

In the same way, the red brick chapel our family helped build, now just off Timpview Drive, where my children attended the Edgemont Stake's singles ward (and where my oldest son met his fiance') is, in my memory, the place I learned Primary songs, the pulpit place for Bishop Charles Metten, and where we had our farewell sacrament meeting and left for my father to serve as president of the Church's New England Mission.

Less than a block away from that chapel, and across Canyon Road, stands Ripples drive in, built in 1957, the year after I was born, and still serving its signature cheeseburgers, fried mushrooms, and shakes. It's become a family pilgrimage most Saturdays after chores are done to return to Ripples for lunch. The owner still takes orders on a scrap of paper or cardboard, still uses the printed tax table, only takes checks and cash, and has no cash register. And his wife works the grill while he makes the drinks or shakes and serves up orders at the window.

Then there's the home around the corner, 503 E. 2825 N., the home of my first memories where we had a small sloping backyard we used to roll down to the swing set, where we tried to dig to China in the sandbox (and finally hit bottom -- my older sister had been filling in after every dig, but one day our youthful attention persisted until the wooden bottom of the box appeared -- a huge disappointment).

South of the swing set was the tiny garden plot where we used to sit and shuck pea pods and eat the sweet new peas. There was the apple tree in the front yard, the plum orchard across the street (where we sinned by climbing up and eating the owner's plums), the vacant lot with the old parade float, the narrow and shallow irrigation canal with water that used to rub up against our little rubber boots.

And the view from Indian Hills of the granite rock face on one side of Little Rock Canyon, with two caves forming eyes, and my childhood wonderment about whether bears lived there. I was always going to climb up and find out.

Now our house is just below that canyon. I haven't yet made the ascent to the caves.

All these are coordinates in my life, places within a small area of earth that I call, that feels like (because of deep memories and experience), that after 13 years of married life away from we came back to five years ago -- home.

2 Comments:

Blogger Garry Wilmore said...

What a nice post! My own childhood was so turbulent and unsettled that I'm unable to share any such memories. You have been very fortunate in so many ways, and this was one of them.

As for the failed expedition to China, perhaps it is just as well that it failed, as you otherwise might have arrived there right in the middle of the Great Leap Forward.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Barney said...

Excellent point about China!

12:56 PM  

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