Yesterday I was blinded sided with a call telling me a dear friend had passed away. It took until this morning for the finality of that news to sink in.
Mike was really my husbands friend. They had know each other since they were in elementary school, over fifty years, but he was my knight in shining armour and he taught me one of the biggest friendship lessons I have ever gotten.
Mike was no pillar of society, far from it. Always dressed in black jeans and black t-shirt or sweater, the best way to describe him is computer geek meets grease monkey with a touch of street person. Odds are you would not even give him a second look if he passed you by.
He skirted society, suffered with and over came addictions, failed at marriage, got easily agitated with people and mumbled a lot. But he was the truest friend a person could ever have.
Mike was a genius mechanic. He could listen to a engine running and diagnose it’s problem. He was a master with a wrench. He also was an amazing computer tech and I always knew my computers were well looked after. He never let a issue rest when it came to the repairs and maintenance of either our cars or computers and would research a problem doggedly until he was satisfied he found the solution. He had a scientific mind.
But the lesson I learned from Mike was loyalty. Mike was not a social person so he valued the people he called his friends. My husbands at times works away from home for several months at a time and would ask Mike to make sure my car and computers were maintained but he went a step farther and really became my hero. I have called Mike on more than one occasion to come rescue me on the side of the road broken down. He would drop everything and come. He would arrange for a tow truck and get me home safely them come and patch my car up and get me on the road again.
I called him to his face my knight in shining armour and he would get so embarrassed but I could see the gleam of satisfaction in his eye. My husband once told him that he thought I had a higher regard for Mike than I did for him. I think he liked that.
Mike under valued himself. When it came to paying him for his work he would always get flustered and say an amount that was way below what he was worth. We always paid him more. If he balked we would say, well the extra is for you to go and treat yourself to Chinese food tonight. It became a running joke.
I know our friendship was not one sided. He valued us too. Once when he was going through a rough patch in his life he spent a week camped out in his old black van in our driveway. Even though he refused to come inside other than to use the bathroom we knew he just needed to have a safe place to hang out and deal with life. I finally force him in one night to roast beef dinner and chocolate cake. “Happy Birthday Mike,” we said. He was so touch that we even knew.
Mike taught me to look past the rough exterior of a person. To really see inside and see the shining heart of gold that lay within. The treasure I was rewarded with was a unwavering faithful friend who would give more of himself than he would except back in return. Who didn’t care if you were able to pay for his services at the time, he knew you were good for it. Who valued longtime friends who didn’t judge him and never judge you in return and he was always, always there for you.
There will be a hole in my heart for a very long time to come. I will miss my friend Michael Lacy. A man who taught me about selflessness and what an honour it is to have a true friend.