The year was 1980 and the one thing I wanted my daughter to have at Christmas was one of those bouncy spring horses. We didn't have much money (we were down right poor, but didn't know it at the time) and the only way I could afford the horse was to put it on layaway. My then husband and I made the final payment on December 23rd and brought the beautiful spring horse home in a giant box and hid it in our bedroom.
December 24th said husband worked half a day, came home with a stomach virus, and went straight to bed. Once little Danielle was fast asleep in her crib (she was about 20 months old), I dragged the box from the bedroom to assemble the spring horse. There was a million pieces. The frame went together quite quickly. The springs that attached the horse to the frame were a different story. It was going to take two people to stretch them from the frame to the horse. The husband was not a fan of Christmas and there was no getting him out of bed to help.
The wind was taken out of my sails. The one thing I wanted, was for my daughter to wake up on Christmas morning and see that glorious horse, wearing a big red bow. There I sat on the floor among the springs, bolts and a plastic horse, laying on it's side. Then there was a knock on the door.
When I opened it, there stood my good friend Mike with his usual silly grin. "Merry Christmas!" he said. I knew right then that he was my spring horse assembly angel. I opened a beer for him and we went right to work. In no time at all the springs were attached and the bolts on the frame tightened up a little better than I had done. Mike had saved Christmas (for me at least).
In 2010 Mike was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He was only given a few months to live but he was a fighter and was determined to have more time on earth. He died on March 5, 2012.
Mike and I grew up in the same neighborhood and became close friends in our teens. As we moved into our late 20's we drifted apart because of religious differences. We reconnected off and on, once we both matured enough to realize that we could each have a different view, respect that view, and not bring it up in conversation. But we were never close again like when we were young.
Last night when my daughter told me the news of Mike's passing, I looked through some old photographs for a picture of Mike. I didn't find one of him but I did find one of the boat of a car he had in 1977...
You will be missed, but you left many of us with some great memories.
Snorkle, Orkle, Dorkledorf!
I still don't know what that means but it was your signature shout!
and I think Debi is still looking for the dufolator spring cap cover under the hood of her car...
as for the spring horse...
Danielle LOVED it and road it until she was much too big and the saddle cracked.