Vita Reprise

We went to Vita the second time on the spur of the moment. Chris was going to be away for an extended period of time beginning in a month, so he wanted to get the job done.

The task was smoothing the mound in front of the grave of Dorothy Wish, mother of Anne-Shirley, grandmother of Chris and Leslie, who came along.

It took longer than we thought to get going, what with spades, wheelbarrow, grass seed and water to load into the truck.

Chris drove again. Conversation flowed easily as Leslie asked questions and Anne-Shirley talked about life on the Strumbisky farm.

The route was the same, but since we left so late, Chris drove faster than usual and it seemed like no time at all we pulled into the Orthodox Vita Cemetery. Most of the grass was still neatly trimmed, but the mound on the Wish grave stood out, begging for care.

Chris and Leslie began spading the dirt away, leveling the soil in front of the gravestone. About an hour later they used rakes to smooth it out. The job was almost done. Chris got a bag of grass seed from his truck and spread it with his sweeping hand. Leslie brought the watering can and moistened the soil.

It was a gorgeous late-summer evening with beams of bright sunlight filtering through the trees. Gravestone shadows stretched across the scene.

Chris and Leslie did all the work while Anne-Shirley sat on her walker and looked on. I took lots of pictures, including a video I now call “Dancing on Grandma’s Grave” while Chris and Leslie stomped down the soil.

We were going to eat supper at Eva’s in Vita, but that did not work out. Chris went to the order window of another place only to hear the woman behind the cash register tell him the restaurant was closed. She smiled at him.

We went to the city and ordered take-out from A & W.

I asked all three what they thought was a highlight. Anne-Shirley said it was being with her two children. Leslie said it was nice hearing her mother’s stories about life on the farm. She also said it was nice getting to better know her mother and brother. Me too.

Chris had hoped Betty and her father from the last trip might appear in town, but no such luck.

His highlight?

“I liked that girl’s smile at the end of the day,” he said.

More Stories