Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today is St. Patrick's Day and I always think of my dear friend, Mike, who reminded me so much of a leprechaun. Mike was a wonderful friend and coworker when we lived in Western NC. We shared an office where he was a social worker and I was a nurse. His background in Social Work was with child protective services and boy, did he have stories to tell. We frequently went out on home visits together and I quickly learned where every child molester and wife beater in the county lived. I met witches in one area of the county. He didn't tell me they were witches until we drove away. He called these people one of his many "colorful people." Mike loved people.... especially colorful people. He didn't own much, but would give away the shirt off his back. He would promise people the moon, and usually delivered. There was an old Indian woman who always called our office, asking Mike to bring her some meat for her freezer. Somehow Mike would figure out how to get her some meat to fill her freezer. She would call back a week or so later and say the meat had been stolen. (she, more than likely, sold it) What did Mike do? He found some more meat for her freezer! I used to get aggravated with him and tell him he was too nice and too gullible. But my words never stopped him. He would laugh and tell me he was taking care of his colorful people. Mike loved to cook. He loved to feed people.... especially me. (I gained a few pounds while knowing Mike) He lived a few houses down from my family and frequently treated us to his wonderful creations. He used to own a restaurant in Florida and I think he never lost his passion for cooking. One day I was very sick with a virus. I stayed home from work and threw up all day. Around lunch time, I heard my doorbell ring. I slowly got up to answer the door, only to see Mike's white "chicken truck" drive away. He had left me a container of chicken soup and called me later to see how I was doing. Mike raised his granddaughter, alone, as his wife had died a few years before I met him. He drove a white dodge truck with a camper shell on the back. As his granddaughter got older, she became embarrassed to be seen in, what she called, the chicken truck. He loved the name and was proud of his chicken truck. I enjoyed riding in the chicken truck. Until I found out Mike was sick. Mike tried to hide his illnesses from us and pretended everything was okay. We knew he was sick, but we knew better than to pry into his private world. He wanted to take care of others... not himself. Finally, one day in the chicken truck, he asked me to drive. He told me that everytime he turned his head to the right or left, that he would almost black out. This was the beginning of the end for Mike. He finally went to the doctor to find out that he had a lot of other things wrong with him too. He would ask me to pray for him, because he didn't really believe in that "religous" stuff. Mike died of cancer just before Christmas a few years ago. I was fortunate enough to spend a little time with him before he died. Mike accepted Christ as his Savior just before he died and could not stop talking about the Lord when we visited together. Mike was truly one of my "colorful" people that God placed in my life for a few years. I will never forget him and will always think of my little leprechaun today and on every St. Patrick's Day.


ancient one said...

Yes, and I will always be grateful to Mike and the way he took care of you when you lived so far away from home. Wonderful tribute to Mike!!

Chocolate Cat said...

What a lovely post. He sounds like he was a pretty special person.

Utah Grammie said...

Anytime you get to spend with a Leprechaun is lucky - and remember, some people's light shines so brightly, it cannot be extinguished because they leave us...Happy St. Patrick's day and what a wonderful tribute to your friend.