Story I Wrote on 20'th Anniversary About Trucking And Marriage

Hi gang!

Gosh time goes by, Not sure why anyone would even want to put up with me, never mind putting up with me for a whole 20 years, man this is 7,300 days! It's been a while for sure! The divorce rate is very high amoung truckers, but I'am kind of proud that I've beat the odd's, and well attempt to keep up with this record till the day they plant me 6' under!! Looking back as it's now 20 years for Gisele and I on the 20'th so thought I'd write a little story on how this all came to be......

I had left home at the age of 16, worked at a car wash in Edmonton on and off, in the fall time I would go north and work for my uncle on the farm taking off the crops, he has a fair amount of land. I got to haul grain in his tandem grain truck even though I only had my class 5 lic and was not old enough for the class 3 that I required. When I was 17 I worked for him again, always enjoyed working for my uncle as he had big equipment, running the 4 wheel drive tractors was much more fun than driving the smaller tractors that I did for my step Dad before I left home. Of course hauling grain was great too, as I always enjoyed getting in a truck. Well climbing up the little smokey hill one day I meet a RCMP heading down the hill, he turned around and then followed me up the hill, not until I finished climbing the hill he turned on his lights to stop me. I stopped and he asked to see my drivers lic.... well I told him I was working out in the field and didn't have my lic with me, so then he asked if I did have a lic and what class of lic it was. I told him that I did have a lic, but played dumb and told him I didn't know what class lic it was hoping he wouldn't check... no such luck, he asked my name, then got on the radio and they did a check on me.... he came out of his car with a ticket for driving a truck without the proper class lic, cost me $20.oo witch I had paid at the High Prairie Court House. Anyhow he then told me every Monday they do testing at Falher, he said he could see I could handle the truck well as he followed me up the hill, and asked me why don't I go next Monday to upgrade my lic? I then asked him, don't you have to be 18 years old?? HEh heh heh! He folded over laughing, then he said it was why he stopped me, I looked a little young he said. Anyhow after the harvest was over I hung around for a bit till Nov 1'st, see that was my 18'th birthday and it turned out to be on a Monday, I was all over my uncle like a dirty shirt to use his truck, so he gave in, we hauled a load of wheat to the grain elevator in Falher, then I got to use the truck and passed my class 3 lic for my 18'th birthday, this was a great present :-) Shortly after I started hauling Propane in a small single axle body job out of Giruxville, I did a lot of farm delivers for heating as well as for grain dryers. I spent the winter doing this till one day I meet Dad who I had not seen since I was 4 years old. I was staying in a batcher sweet in Falher at the time and Dad came through hauling a load of pipe to Rainbow Lake Ab. He phoned me up from the truck stop at Donnely corner, I was pretty surprised and went out there to meet him for the first time in 14 years. It was weekend and I had the weekend off, so he asked me if I'd like to go with him, so I did. Wow! My first time I got to ride in a big Kenworth! It was a 1968 Kenworth, 335 Cummins engine and a 5 and 4 speed transmission. We had a lot to talk about, the next morning we strung our load on in the bush along the pipeline right of way, then headed back south. Once empty he let me drive. Wow again! I never drove such a big truck before, 2 gear shifts, none of them synchronized, I tell you they was a lot of gear scratching, it didn't have power steering and turning that big wheel to get around a corner was something else too as I proubley only weighed 120 Lbs soaking wet at that time! Well then Dad offered me a job and told me he'd help me to earn my class 1 lic, so that spring I took him up on this deal. I moved to Edmonton and rented a basement suite.

Well this is where I meet my wife Gisele, I rented this home from a lady who owned the house, she rented the upstairs out to some other people. Anyhow she decided to sell the place and some people from St.Paul bought the place. RAT's! I though, now I may have to look for a new place to rent, but the new owners, Phillip Blachhet from St. Paul bought the place and said they wanted to keep renting the basement suite out and said I could stay, so this was great! I didn't have to move after all! Mrs Blachet took a liking to me, she even did my laundry! When I'd get home from a trip, tired, blood shot eyes, and hungry she would invite me upstairs for a peace of her home made pie and put some ice cream on top! Oh! how that old lady knew her way to my heart! As a bit of time passed she told me of her niece that was comeing from Montreal to visit and learn her english! She told me how nice of a girl she was, told me a lot about her! Every time i seen the old lady she told me of this, but she never told the parents of her niece that they had a single guy living down stairs! Well the day came! here was this french chick upstairs! I'd talk to her some, I had to talk to her slowly so she could understand my english, as by the time I reached grade 3, I pretty much forgot my french from a lack of use. This french chick had long dark hair, nice brown eyes, her name was Gisele, god I had a hard time to pronounce that name I'd say Gizzele and she didn't like this! , I never realized at this time that this was going to become my wife! Yes this is how I meet Gisele! I had to find a plan to ask her out?? But how?? She had grade 12, I was just a drop out! That's it! (I thought) I'll ask her to help me with my income tax return, and pay her by taking her to a movie! Great Plan, eh? Well she did help me with my tax, but refused to go to the movie with me! She said she didn't want to be paid back! What a let down, but I wasn't going to give up! Soon she agreed to go out with me! This was great! When ever I wasn't on the road I was spending time with my new found girl friend Gisele. Well as time went by we grew closer and closer together, I could talk to her about anything, and she made me feel great! When I talked to others, all I talked about was Gisele, Oh I was in cloud 9. But this was in the late 1970's, in the times of the oil boom in Alberta, at times I'd work 2 1/2 months without a single day off, I'd work many 18 hour days, and when I could, sometime I would drive all day, and night and into the next day, 36 hours or more without sleep! How I abused my body then, they was no log book's in Canada to restrict a truckers hours at this time. Anyhow I recall, I once made a promise to my new love to spend one weekend with her, but Dad had different plans and would not give me the weekend off as I asked for after 2 months without a day off! I was a bit ticked off, so I put my foot down! He wanted me to go to Peace River, and I said Ok as long as I can bring Gisele with me for the trip! No WAY he replied! Insurance well not cover it! Fine I said, I'll load the load, but you can find a different driver to take it as I promised Gisele I'am spending time with her and I well not go! The only way I'll go is if she can come with me! I really dug my heal's in on this one! I was over tired, grumpy, tired, and didn't give a $#it at the time! I'am going to be with my new love!! I loaded the load, and came back to the yard with it, then I asked Dad if he found a driver to take the load, well by this time he did a bit of thinking and had a change of heart! He could not find another driver, drivers were not easy to come by at this time of the boom, so he said I could take Gisele! YEEEEE-HAWWW! I won the battle with the old man on this argument!! Not only could I take her on this trip, Dad said I could take her any time I wanted. If a accident was to happen however, he knew nothing of it. Understood?? I Agreed I told him! (YEEEEE-HAWWWW! for the second time!!)

I went home with my pickup, got Gisele, told her I keep my promise, but only one problem, she would have to come with me to Peace River Ab. No problem, this might be fun.... well I always told her that I drove truck for a living, but I didn't tell her just how big the trucks I drove were! And at 18 years old, she didn't think I was driving semi's at this time! Well when she seen that 1966 Kenworth with a loaded 45' trailer she asked, is this what we're going with?? Yeap I replied! Wow she thought!! It was later in the evening by this time, she climbed in and she sat on the bench between the 2 seats, she placed her left leg between the 5 speed main gear shift and the 4 speed aux gear shift, and her right leg she put on the right side of the 4 speed aux gear shift. she really got a thrill out of watching me working the stick's. In them days I had only 335 HP, so working the stick's we had to do a lot of! Oh how she smiled, the glow of the gages through the hours of the night light up her face and long long dark hair! God she was beautiful! Life don't get any better? Does it?? I mean here I am, a young kid, trucking down the road with such a beautiful chick in such a big rig! Like Wow man!! As her hair and smiley face glowed in the dark by the light of the gages, I teached her how to read all them there gages, she would tell me what my engine temp was at, and what oil temp was running along with the engine water temp, then the temp of the main and aux transmission was read to me as well as the temp of the of the rear axles. She even told me how RPM's I was running the old Cummins at! When the air compressor would kick in, she would tell me what my air pressure was, and what air pressure was when the air compressor kicked out was too! I had all the function's of the truck at my finger tip's as she was getting to be a expert at reading all the gages! When I wasn't to busy working the stick's she would hang on to my arm, she loved this! No power steering in them days, so my arms were a bit bigger, and more attractive to her back then! Anyhow we went to Peace River Ab, delivered my load of cement blocks. On this trip I was to come home empty, but we meet a fellow trucker along the way that had 2 D6 Caterpillars to haul back and didn't have the time to do it, so I picked up a back haul and brought back one of those D6 CAT's as a back haul and delivered that one to Sherwood park where they were building a new sub-division. This was a great trip.

Now that I had the Ok to give Gisele a ride anytime I wanted, I took advantage of it. She was working for Personal Check Printers at this time, she was a typist, she would type out your name, account number, and address on the checks you would use with your bank, anyhow her shop was in a industrial part of Edmonton. Most of the times I'd make 4-5 trips to Grand Prairie Ab, when only 4 trips was done the fifth day was spent loading and unloading loads around town, I'd play the town tractor trick.... Well this being the case I'd fix it so my last load returning to the yard was around quitting time for Gisele, Then I'd park that old rig along the road where Gisele worked and would wait for a bit, when I'd see all the girls depart from work I'd spot Gisele (the niece in the bunch) At this point I'd reach up and give the old chain a pull, this would blow the old BUGLES (air horn's) on top of the cab! All the girls would jump, Gisele with smile as she came running, she would climb up inside the cab with me, I'd stuff the old Kenworth in gear and she would wave at the girls as we roared away! None of the girls had a taxi quite like this to pick them up! They told Gisele she was lucky to get a ride like this!

Well as time grew on I knew I was only a dumb trucker, but yet I knew enough to not let this one slip away! After a while I got my nerves up and asked if she would marry me! Her eyes glowed, and she said she would! WOW! JACK-POT! YEEEE-HAW!!! Oh how happy I was! She took me to Montreal once Christmas to show me off to her parents and her family, I was a bit scared at first, but her parents and family accepted me with open arms, and to this day still accept me as part of family. Her Mom was delighted to see the engagement ring on Gisele's finger, and I felt good about there approval. Well my Dad wasn't to sure what to think, and Mom was less happy, me getting hitched to a Catholic girl, but who cared, It's my life, not Mom's!! It was around that time I learned that one has to please yourself, you just can't please everyone, so why try too? Well the planning for the wedding was being worked on, and I could feel some friction between my parents! I was not following the faith that mom had and intended me to follow, I had no intentions to follow her ways either! Mom would blame Gisele, but this was not fair, as it's the way I wanted as well as Gisele! After a lot of talking, Thinking of the bitterness between my Mom and Dad still there from the divorce years ago, thinking of the fact of how Gisele's Mom wanted to make a bigger wedding for us, I told Gisele Screw IT! If your Mom wants to make a nice wedding, let her do it! Let's get hitched in Montreal! It well be eraser for your Mom to arrange things there, and well be a good time to see your relatives as we well be living out in the west! Well Gisele thought this was a great idea, It didn't make much difference to me, and was much better for Gisele's family. Mom didn't come to the wedding as she didn't feel right coming to a catholic wedding, but Dad came east for the wedding. Gisele's Mom did a great job of getting everything arranged, everything went well. We got married in very big Cathedral in Canada, "THE CATHEDRAL DE MONTREAL" so this was something! It was bilingual as many of Gisele's relatives did not know English and I forgot my french! The roof was very high, and Gisele did not like it when I asked the priest how they changed the light bulbs on the ceiling, but my foolishness was forgiven, lucky for me. The supper was held after, it too was great! (for Gisele's Mom and Dad "THANKS for the wedding and your daughter" as they are on my mailers list too!) Gisele's Mom always gave me advice, "take care of your young love!" she would tell me. After the supper I was stuffed, it was so good, then I had the first dance (of course) with my new bride, they was a part where i was to take the garter belt (or what ever the call that thing around her leg) off, Normally you lift the dress up, take this thing off, then hand it to the bride and she throw's it out into the crowd, Well be dang if I was going to expose my new brides great legs to everyone! instead I climbed under her big wedding dress, then slid her garter down her leg, nobody seen anything other then the soles of my shoes sticking out of under her large white wedding dress, when I got out of under there, I was circled by camera's, but not one had a chance to flash! Did this pretty slick, eh? Yes, I was young, only 20 at the time, soon to turn 21 years old. Gisele was a bit older then me, but I felt I knew what I wanted, looking back at my parents and childhood, I knew what I didn't want, and I felt I Gisele was what I did want! I still feel this way 2day! Anyhow the wedding was great, de best! Later that wedding night we were to go to our rooms, change out of our wedding dress and suit, then return with regular clothing on, well when Gisele dug in her jacket pocket she found condoms, one in the shape of a glove, one in the shape of a pigs head, and one in the shape of a rosters head! Gosh we laughed! It had a greeting written on the card attached from Gisele's Mom! Well Gisele's Mom didn't expect us to find this so soon, being young I showed every one in the dance hall, told them I've never used something like this before and asked for advice on which one I should use first, well everyone laughed and thought it was funny, but Gisele's Mom was a bit red faced as she had her name on the card attached, every one knew where we got them from! Heh heh heh! But now that I painted such a nice picture of our wedding I have to confess, all was not roses....

First of all the arrangements for the wedding was not that easy, really thankful to Gisele's parents as they sure went the extra mile for Gisele and I. Gisele's Mom recall's the fun she has and wrote us about them, in her word this is what she recall's. I recall she was a reck till the day big day. In her words she writes:

1st problem.she is marrying a guy who doesn.t speak a word of French and her father who will be the witness, doesn.t speak a word of English.Getting married is important and so is witnessing the event so what is happening must be understood, if not who knows what the consequences might be. I therefore go visit the parish priest, the ceremony should be bilingual but not one priest in the parish is bilingual. I check with priests in the surrounding parishes, but it.s the same answer all over. I call a friend, a grey nun, and ask her if she has a solution. She tells me to call Mr. Laroche, pastor of the cathedral in Montreal, he is bilingual and will surely find a solution. When I ask him if he wants to come to preside at the wedding in Longueuil he says he can de better than that..Gisele can get married in the cathedral. This involves getting permission from two bishops: the one in Edmonton and the one from our diocese but. this must be done.

2nd point. Gisele wants a catered hall in order to make the guests more comfortable.I find one without too much of a hassle and pick out three different menus.3 days later I receive a message that the hall was already booked by someone else. I have to start over.. and since my daughter wants Chinese food it takes a while before I finally find a restaurant in St. Basile. She will have her Chinese food sprinkled with sake.i

3rd difficulty.Gisele can.t wear high heels at her wedding because she would be taller than her husband.which would be disastrous.There are no low heeled shoes in Edmonton that are suitable for a wedding, so I go searching for low heeled shoes.and find some at Laforest. I take 3 pairs on consignment, size 11 if you please! Luckily one of the three not only pleases her but fit her as well. I must also rent a suit for the future husband and look after the flowers. The metro and bus services are both on strike so we have to find someone to go to Montreal for these.

4th problem.. I rent the services of a photographer recommended to me.3 days before the wedding, I want to confirm he will be at the answer, the phone service no longer exists. I go to the one there.. the bird flew the coop. I have to look for another one and take the first one available, at a higher fee of course, since this is the last minute. After the wedding, the mother (owner of the restaurant) doesn.t want to accept the conditions agreed up with her son. How many discussions before we finally reach an agreement!!!

Father Laroche calls to ask if Gisele and Fern have taken a marriage preparation course. They have taken the course but Fern doesn.t practice a religion so he must meet with them at least once. After the meeting it is decided that Fern is not ready to receive communion so it is best that there not be communion at the wedding in order not to put the young couple ill at ease. It will therefore be a celebration of the word.and the wedding will be held before the celebration because the wedding is not the mass but the exchange of vows.

Can you imagine the number of phone calls I had to make??? It cost me more than $300 on two consecutive months.

The day of the wedding.Relatives come from far and wide.even four of my favorites from the west: Uncle Philippe, Aunty Emilienne, Aunty Augustine and Marielle. No one knows where the cathedral is so I ask a cousin J. Claude to lead the way. Everything is in place, but we have to wait for Guy who is bringing the flowergirl Nadine. Where are they? Did they have an accident? As for me, my nerves are stretched to the limit.Aunty Emilienne had put her shoes in my closet and didn.t remember where, when she asked me if I knew where they were I told her .look for them yourself.. I don.t think she will forget this answer but if she hadn.t told me how I answered I would never have remembered. Aunty Augustine also has a story she could tell .

Finally Guy arrives, he got stuck in traffic..J. Claude and a group had already left, and thank goodness we had made maps. At last at the church and everyone is there.

The ceremony goes well, but some question it.arriving at the restaurant questions and comments begin: .can you tell me what kind of a wedding that was? Are you certain that really married? Etc.. After explanations, I manage to reassure everyone.

After the meal, when the dessert is passed around, I tell the newlyweds that after all the problems I had they had better stay married because I was not going through it again.and they listened, because today October 20, 1999 they are celebrating their 20th anniversary.

With all the love I have for you my dear children, I wish you many, many more and may you always be happy. You also worked very hard; making 5 beautiful fact you worked hard enough.5. I think that is sufficient.

Papa joins with me to present you our wishes. Our greatest regret is not be there to give you a big hug/

Mom and Dad

You know Granny.... lucky I didn't chicken out and say NO at the last moment! You would of hunted me down with a 12 gage shot gun for sure, they you would of hung up my ding-dongs for book ends without doubt! Just wondering, do I get to keep Gisele for another 20 years?? You taught her how to cook well, you know!

Anyhow, After a while as time went by we were coming to our very first anniversary, She was now expecting our first child, Gisele wanted this to be special, she made a beautiful supper, put a table cloth on that old table in the basement suit, put candles on the table, went through a lot of fuss to get everything just perfect.... but after waiting for me for some time she gave my Dad a phone call and asked what time I'd be home... Well Dad replied, Fern came in town already, He switched trailers and must be half way to Grande Prairie all ready! I came home a week after, the table was still set, I seen the disappointment in her sad eyes, but she said she still loved me. She didn't want to raise a baby in the basement suit, this is when we went shopping for a home, and bought a house here in Beaumont. This was a great step forward for us, but wasn't easy either. At this point I was only 21 years old and my bank didn't want to give me a mortgage, The lady at Toronto Dominion said I was only a trucker, and truckers only work when they feel like it! She proubley didn't realize it, but I worked 3 times the hours that she did, and I had to fight for time off to see her. Anyhow I went else where and got a mortgage with a better bank, got the house in June of 1980 we moved into the house shortly after. Soon Bernard was born, our first, then a year after Denis our second was born. As time went on we had 5 kids and I finely figgered out what was causing this! It was my boot's! Every time I did get home, I'd take off my boot's and then we would have another child after. I had to start leaving my boots on. Trucking still didn't change much and many times I still worked 7 days a week, when I came back I was expected to service the truck I drove, and if I got ahead, then I had to help service the trucks that the other drivers that had hired to drive as well. they had a farmer near Beaumont that had gave hay rides to family's and kids, He hitch up his horses to a sled, put some straw bails on the sled for people to ride on. Gisele would always buy tickets for this, but on the weekends I was greasing the trucks, so she would take the kids on her own and my ticket always went to waste. Many started to think Gisele was a single parent! My second kid was a shy kid, I recall I had a busy winter hauling fertilizer between Calgary and Falher Ab, then after I had a busy summer hauling rig matting to Hay River, NWT. I was not home much, it was the year I almost burned myself out, and sometimes I think this is where my asthma started as I got pretty sick after. Anyhow Denis was almost 2 at this time and would not have anything to do with me. He took completely strange to me! At this time I knew that I was away home for much to long! Strange, having 5 kids in all, somehow I made it in the delivery room for all 5 of them, although I nearly missed out on 2 of the births. I recall when Eric was born, I blew the rear differential in the truck, so I pulled the axles and drive shaft between the tandems, and came back with just the front drive axle pulling the truck and 2 trailers. I had called Dad ahead of time, so he had a new differential waiting for me. Late afternoon I arrived at the shop and worked all evening onto night changing the rear end's gear set. I was to deliver the load at 08:00 in the morning in Falher, Dad told me not to worry about it and he would phone them to tell them I would be late. Well I went down the road, still greasy from head to toe, I never did stop to sleep! The wheat pool received a call from Dad telling them I'd be late, after they hung up the phone they heard me pulling into the yard with there load of fertilizer? What the heck they asked! I know, I didn't have any sleep. Well it was lucky as it turned out, cuz after unloading I returned back to Edmonton, from the shop I phoned Dad to get my next order number for the next load, well my youngest 1/2 brother answered the phone and said Dad had giving Gisele a ride to the hospital, she was going into labor! I yanked the keys out of the truck, didn't even take time to park it, I jumped into the pickup and made a mad dash to the hospital. Gisele was crying, this time she was alone, they was no way I'd make this one.... but SURPRISE! there I walked in, Still dirty, greasy, tired, blood shot eyes, but I made it on time! Dad came back with his wife after having a bite to eat, the nurse said I was there! NO WAY! Dad said! My son works for me and he's still on the road, there is no way he can be back yet and if there is a man in there with my daughter in law, it's the wrong man Dad argued with the nurse. So the nurse came in the room and asked me to step outside and show my face to Dad! I think I surprised him! I asked the nurse if I could use some soap and towels and clean up a bit, she set me up with my request, 1/2 hour later I had another son! I was just plain lucky to be around to greet all the 5 kids into the world. Most of the times I was gone, Gisele had to learn to do many things on her own like unplug the sink or toilet, light the pilot light on the furness when it went out, reset breakers when they tripped out, check oil and add oil to the family car when needed, all this stuff was on her as I was not around to do this stuff! Sometimes she'd get upset, and she would let me know of it too! I'd get home, hang my Kenworth hat on the end of the broom handle, then reach in the kitchen from the rear entrance with the hat on the broom handle! Gisele would see this, and scream out "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???" as she peaked around the corner and found me around the corner hanging onto the other end of the broom! I'd answer, "I was testing? if my hat comes back shot full of bullet holes, I'd now not to enter, but since it's still in tack it may be safe to enter?" She'd start laughing and then took me in her arms, give me a big kiss and invite me in! So I was lucky. I recall she always wanted us to go for a holiday, in the 15 years I worked for Dad we had 3 holidays, 1 before I meet Gisele, then I took a holiday when we got married, and one holiday after. Dad would give me heck for not taking a holiday, but then when I'd book a holiday he'd say it was about time I did so, then at the last moment he would tell me that things were to busy and he could not spare me. Once I booked a holiday, the kids and Gisele were looking very much forward to it, when the time was almost there, he changed his mind and said I could not have the time off! It was a let down for Gisele and the kids. Later in the fall he told me, another year went by and I didn't take a holiday.... 2 years later again I tryed this again, I booked a holiday, Great he said, I gave him a date and he accepted! The last Friday before the holiday I worked at the shop servicing trucks and doing mechanical work. That evening Dad said we'll see you next Monday! No! I said, I'am taking 2 week's off, remember?? NO WAY he said, you can't take holidays now, it might get busy and I'll need you!! Well I came home, Gisele greeted me at the door, " the tent trailer is packed, want to leave tonight or tomorrow?? I got my friend Yvette to baby sit the kids so I could get every thing packed! " sadly I told her, might as well start unpacking, Dad changed his mind again, I can't get the time off! Well Gisele was so MAD she was fit to be tied! She didn't talk to me for a week, and when she did, she told me I might as well sell the old tent trailer as well never use it, and as long as I work for Dad she well never pack for a trip again! (Can you blame her??) She was right! I sold that old trailer and it turned out to be over 8 years we I did not take her or the kids out for a holiday! I'am lucky she just didn't pack her bags at this point and walk out!! Christmas I've always been home for though, that was hard to make work at times too, but Christmas is a special time for the kids. I didn't have Christmas as a kid, but I make this to be a time to be home. I recall once almost missing, it was getting late Christmas eve and nothing had been heard of me, I was away! Well I was rushing back to make it home for the kids as soon as I could. The trailer I was pulling had to be dropped off at a plant near Red Deer Ab, then I was able to Bobtail to Edmonton from there. Heck with it I thought, Heck with the truck parking laws in Beaumont! Heck with returning the tractor at the shop. The kids and wife were a little let down as it didn't look like I was going to make it home, then they heard a clatter of a diesel engine, they ran to the kitchen window and through the frosty window they could see cab lights pulling into the driveway where I normal parked my pickup! A short blast on the air horn! and the kids came dashing through the snow in the back yard yelling and screaming " PAW's HOME!!" So I made it once again for Christmas! After 15 years of being on call and never having reg days off I quit Dad, and this job I have now I'am out for 5 days, home for 3 days every week, then I got 3 week's firm every year for holidays! I sure can see the difference, with 5 kids I can see how the 3 youngest are much closer to me than the oldest 2 are, because I wasn't home for the oldest 2 when they needed me the most! Looking back I know I've made some mistakes, just over doing it on my hours to make ends meet, and I guess at the wages I made at that time I had to go like crazy, but I'am glad sometimes that they have come out with log books and rather then working 120 hours plus per week, we do a easy 60-70 hours now That's it! Sure much better for the family! Maybe some day I'll be able to hang up the keys and get a part time job, 40 hours a week or something like this would be a break? Wonder what it would be like to work only 40 hour weeks??

In Nov on 1988 I got into ham radio, and like the wifes of many hams, they have to put up with this too, antenna's out of no where started growing up on the roof, later a tower started growing in the back yard? Funny how these things happen? Not sure if it was the kid of seeds I used, or the fertilizer?? Next thing you knew a repeater was in the works of being built, the little bit I was home I was always tweaking or tinkering with some radio if I wasn't rag chewing. Of course I admit, many times It may have not been fair to Gisele the amount of time I was spending with my new found hobby, but it can get addictive! Soon Gisele could see how much fun I was having with this and no doubt she felt left out, but she also knew the old story, "if you can't beat them, join them!" so she did, On the 4'th month of 1993 Gisele became VE6TMK and joined me in the rank's of ham radio. Now she too started to enjoy ham radio, funny thing happened at this point, permission was granted to move the ham shack upstairs from the basement, my radio's all of a sudden became our radios, my antenna became our antennas, my repeater became our repeater, lot's of things around the place all of a sudden became joint ownership, but hay, This was great, I didn't mind sharing. Now she can talk to me when I'am in the truck and she's at home via ham radio. It's great company for me when I'am on the road, and when she's has a chance she has found it good company as well, meeting others around on the radio. It's been fun and still is....

Looking back 20 years, and when I stop and think of the stuff that Gisele has put up with me, this year I took 2 week's for my holidays to visit with her parents in Montreal! I got 1 week left and being I've hardly been home for a anniversary, and didn't do much for any of them due to being tired, this one is going to be much different! I be QRT! (radio term for off the air) on this 20 day of Oct, as it's 20 years that Gisele has put up with me. This is her DAY! We well be away from home, enjoying this time by our lonesome, The kid's well have to hold the fort down on there own as the oldest is almost 19, the next one is 17, and the youngest is 10, so think they well do OK for a day! Gisele and I are going to spend some time at the West Edmonton Water Park, and take a nice room there as well. I well not take my boots off, and if you belive this, I got a bridge to sell you.......

Fern Lemire de VE6PAW