Loves Reward. Bill and Iva Oates
Submitted by Lianne Oates
Love is patient, love is kind,
Love does not brag
and is not arrogant
Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things
But now abide faith, hope, love,
these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(Words from 1
Corinthians 13: 4-13)
No words run truer than the love between two very special
people in my life who I know and love, my parents, Bill and Iva Oates.
Growing up, they attended the same one room schoolhouse on
the Queens Line and lived a mere mile apart. I suppose they and everyone
chummed together in this close knit rural community. They went to the same
little brown church down the line and warmed their toes round the same
woodstove at the skating rink. At this time of the year valentines were
exchanged between classmates, perhaps that is when this life long friendship
began. Mom kept one little handmade valentine all these years, on the back
neatly printed in pencil it says To Iva from Billy. Another
valentine joined the treasure box in the cabinet that kept such souvenirs as a
fairy basket carved from a walnut shell, heart shaped stones, hair ribbons and
curls, pressed flowers and such. This one, had a photograph of a teenager, the
girl with the dark curls and shy smile is my mother and it is addressed
To Billy from Iva.
went on, a friendship grew and soon the courting commenced. Dating in the
forties might mean a day at the Beachburg Fair, an excursion to the Renfrew
Cinema or just and evening out to have a hamburger and a milkshake at
Iva Hawthorn married Billy Oates in June of 1951. They
motored to Niagara Falls to honeymoon, returning to their Queens Line
home to farm together and raise a family. With hardly time to catch their
breath the years flew by. Their children grew and were soon off on their own
and so were they once again.
I hardly thought of my parents as being romantic but
thinking now of all the little things they did for each other, I guess their
bond is very special. If Dad found a heart shaped stone or potato in the field
hed bring it home to Mom. Sometimes hed climb over a barbed wire
fence to snatch a plum blossom branch or stop along a fence row to pick some
berries, bringing home something to brighten her day. Little, thoughtful
gestures brought them together and kept them there. One icy winter Sunday they
didnt want to miss church so decided to walk the short way. With the
streets treacherous, Dad got out his boot grippers but with only one pair they
had to each slip one on and walk arm in arm all the way.
A few years back Mom wrote a valentine poem in fancy
calligraphy script about here true love, to read a Womens Institute
meeting. All the words still ring true and so it earned a place framed on the
wall of her room at the Bonnechere Manor. Everyday, Dad visits Mom; sometimes
he brings her fresh blueberries picked from the shrubs they planted behind
their Foresters Falls home. Often hell take her a bouquet of pink flowers
from the garden, this spring I know hell bring a spray of plum blossoms
or perchance a little heart shaped stone.
I am not as good at poetry as my mother so I borrowed these
words from poet Thomas Merton (1915-1968), to say what I think love is all
Love seeks one thing only:
The good of the one
It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of
Love, therefore, is its own reward.