Cannon’s a place worth remembering

Published 11:40 pm Tuesday, August 5, 2014

There are places I remember all my life

Though some have changed

Some forever, not for better

Some have gone and some remain

The words to that Beatles song rolled around in my head for the past few days. They came to mind when I heard about the passing of another person who was a part of the fabric of my days growing up in Opp.

As I’ve written before, downtown Opp was a busy place when I was child. There were few, if any, vacant buildings, and locally owned stores filled Main Street and Covington Avenue. It was like the mall, but outside and without chain stores.

If I concentrate I can name a number of the businesses that thrived during the 1950s, 60s and even into the 70s. There was Gunter-Dunn Furniture, Virginia’s Studio, Zeb’s Cake House, Dorsey Mercantile, Dean’s Pharmacy, West’s Dime Store, The Wardrobe and so many more.

This past week one business in particular was on my mind – Cannon’s. The store was on Main Street, sandwiched between Dean’s Pharmacy a few doors up and Carmack Drug a few doors down.

It was a clothing store and the place where my daddy bought a lot of his dress shirts for work and for church. A few times, I think, we bought a Father’s Day or Christmas tie for him.

The store also had clothes for other members of the family, but I remember most the cute pleated skirts with matching sweaters you could purchase there when I was in my early teens. I thought they were the coolest outfits ever.

What made shopping at the store even more special were the wonderful folks who owned it. Mr. and Mrs. Cannon, Gerald and Merle — I can see their faces when I close my eyes.

Mr. Cannon was tall and walked with a slight limp, which in my mind made him seem very sophisticated and interesting. Mrs. Cannon was the picture of an elegant Southern woman, very pretty and always perfectly “put together.”

They were friendly, kind and helpful to everyone who shopped with them. I can hear the creak of the wooden floors as I walked along the aisles searching for that perfect outfit. It felt like high fashion to me and I loved looking at all the clothes hanging in perfect order.

Cannon’s has not been a part of downtown Opp for a while. Mr. Cannon died several years ago, and just last week Mrs. Cannon passed away.

In the years after Cannon’s closed, I had the opportunity to get to know Merle Cannon in a different way when she was part of the volunteer program at the hospital for a while. She was just as kind and elegant as she was when I was a child shopping in her store.

Her daughter, Ann, let us know when her Mother left us and we all sent our condolences. I hope she knows that for so many of us, her parents created one of those “…places I remember all my life.”

And like the song says:

All these places have their moments

Of lovers and friends I still can recall

Some are dead and some are living

In my life I loved them all …