The second day of the new year found me down at Jakey Leigh’s Café & Bakery looking for a story about the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. Ashley Penney was behind the counter doing her coffee magic, and I had a delicious, iced Americano in hand in no time at all.
My first conversation was with Ashley’s seven-year-old daughter Annalise, who, with school closed for the holidays, was helping with the morning rush. With her mom’s permission, Annalise sat down at a table with me when things slowed down a bit and I asked her a few questions.
Annalise reports that she’s the oldest of three sisters and has lived in Kanab all her life. She loves her school, her teachers, playing outdoors, and helping her mom.
Left to right:
Annalise and Ashley Penney at Jakey Leigh's
Annalise Penney helps her mom Ashley at Jakey Leigh’s Café & Bakery.
Annalise Penney making coffee with mom Ashley.
The Penney Family: Chris, Ashley, Annalise, and Harper. Not pictured, 2-year-old Aaliyah.
When I asked her what was great about last year, she said, “I had a great teacher in first grade, Mrs. Porter. She was nice, she was friendly, and she was good at teaching.” Annalise also said swimming at Hamblin Park was one of her favorite things about last year.
Next, I asked Annalise about the new year. We both realized that “years” are mostly about school for kids, so we stuck with that theme. To wrap up our brief interview Annalise told me that she’s very excited about her second-grade teacher, Mrs. Shakespeare, who is also nice, friendly, and good at teaching, and about turning 8 years old in 2023.
I grabbed a few minutes with Ashley later in the morning to ask for her thoughts about 2022 and 2023. Ashley and her husband Chris own and operate Sandstone Home & Yard Services here in Kanab, with Ashley taking a job at Jakey’s during landscaping’s slow season. She noted that 2022 was a great year for the family, and that their second year in the landscaping business had been a successful one. She added that new adventures and making new friends were part of their plans for 2023, with Annalise joining in to say she wants to visit her grandma in Oregon, too!
Ashley said, “The number one best thing about living in Kanab is the sense of community and small-town magic.” Part of that small town magic for this reporter was meeting the Penney family on the second day of 2023.