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TITLE: Storms Of Life
By Jim Oates

Storms Of Life, is an except from Wilma My Friend My Wife.
Storms Of Life
Rob was born in 1961 and Susan in 1962, both in the month of June. With four little children and two in diapers, sleeping quarters were getting cramped. We embarked on a major building venture this year. Our little home grew dramatically. Over the years, we have had many construction and remodeling projects on the go. Wilma had always been my right hand man, (woman). However, on this project, with her hands full with small children to care for, she was unable to take on this construction job.

This is the time we had water come in through the ceiling; the roof had not yet been closed in. This is the disaster, I described in the chapter, Then The Rain Came In.

A few years later, one cold, windy March day, I was away for the day, on a farm tour to the Goderich area with a group of farmers. Wilma stayed behind as usual, taking care of things at home.

There was still snow in the fields and a fierce storm came up. Trees toppled, barn roofs had sheets of steel lifted and farm wagons rolled over. The tour bus was rocking but we were safe.

Was all was quiet on the home front? Not exactly, that same storm had torn into the Essex area as well. I arrived home some time after dark to find that pandemonium had broken out. Wilma was home alone with four slightly bigger, but frightened children. Each one, telling me their version, of the story. Something had crashed on the roof and their fears were that the whole house was about to collapse around them.

There had been a huge thump on the roof, which had shaken the whole house violently. Apparently, the wind had been able to loosen the corner of the built up roof. Lifting a large portion, approximately ten by fifteen feet, it flipped this section over with a tremendous thud on the roof, shaking the whole house. This exposed the sub roof to the elements; causing water to come in and it ran down the wall of the upstairs bedroom.

I can only imagine the fear and confusion that was in that home as Wilma attempted to be brave, while calming the fears of four frightened children.

I Thought I Had Killed Her.
With much regret, I remember the time I struck her on the head with a 2X4. Looking back on this incident, I might have been brought up on a manslaughter charge, if the outcome had been different.

This was another of our home improvement projects. We decided that we had to do something with our back porch. It would be nice and more practical if our back entry way were enclosed with windows. First, some of the old construction had to be removed before the new could begin. I was having some difficulty removing some short pieces of 2X4ís. Wilma was standing out on the driveway watching me whacked away at these upright pieces with a longer 2X4 to dislodge them. Everything was going well; the first couple of boards came loose, enough, so that I could pull them off by hand. The next one had not been fastened as firmly, as the others. As I struck it with all the force, I could muster; it took off like a missile on a deadly mission. I watched in horror as it traveled in her direction. It struck Wilma on the forehead; I do not know why, but she did not go down. With her hands clasped to her head, in a stooped position, she went around and around in circles just like a chicken that had just had its head removed.

Fear struck my heart; I thought I had killed her. She recovered, and has since forgiven me. We have often shed tears and laughed together at this and other blunders, mostly on my part. I do not know why she has stayed with a klutz like me all these years; she must have really loved me.

Life has been good, very good.
* * *
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