Mike could tell you things that you never wanted to know.
He had an unmistakable laugh that you could hear a mile away, and many people did!
Once a gang of us had a birthday party for Mike. He was emphatic about his birthday party. It could not be avoided, even six months late. Every time he got bumped into — “When are you guys gonna have my party?”
Brown's Wharf drew short straw. Michelle arranged for a table and we collected like squid rising to the light. And Mike was in good form.
People all around us noticed but tried not to stare — it was hard not to stare. “Keep in touch with yourself,” Michael would blurt, then laugh his laugh. You could hear forks dropping. His laugh was a goose and a jack hammer combined. The wait staff gave us lots of room!
I met Michael at the Tugboat Inn back in the late '70s when Dan DeRepentigny, Clem Brewer and George McEvoy were the owners. Then, the dining room was the whole lower floor that extended over the water. Michael and John Snowman washed dishes, and there were plenty of them.
I was the night janitor. Carl Bruening was the chef, Judy Nason the GM, Russ Piercy at the bar and many capable ladies serving food.
Michael barely said boo — John even less. The dishes roared.
Michael could be very direct. He called me once to make a photograph of a ceremony at the Knights of Pythias Hall then in an upper room at the Opera House. He said there were new members and he wanted a photo. When Mike wanted something, there was little room for negotiation. I arrived and he told me what to do and where to do it, but it took me half an hour to figure out what he'd said.
To say that he was spontaneous would be an under statement. From any bench in town, Michael could deliver. He knew a lot of stuff.
There will be too many empty benches Michael. You will be missed.