Morgridge – known to friends and family as Flossie – has lived for years on the sixth floor of Mill Cove Apartments in South Portland. And whenever fire trucks have visited the 82-unit complex, she’s been intrigued by the “cherry picker” buckets attached to long hydraulic arms that firefighters use to rescue people from tall buildings.
“When I see those buckets, I always thought I’d love to have a ride in one,” said Morgridge, who is known for her irrepressible spirit.
So, on her birthday Sept. 2, a family member arranged for Flossie to take a ride on a lift at Handyman Equipment Rental in South Portland. Wearing a safety harness and a tall, pointed, purple birthday hat, Flossie took to the skies as a crowd of family and friends sang “Happy Birthday.”
“I loved it,” Morgridge said, beaming as she returned to earth after rising about 30 feet above Main Street. “That was the best thing I ever did.”
She compared her ascension to going to heaven, then joked: “That’s the nearest I’ll ever be to heaven.”
.Farrar, her niece, had arranged for the ride. She said she’d heard her aunt say whenever a fire truck pulled into the driveway at the apartment complex, “I wish I could ride in the cherry picker.”
“It was something kind of on her bucket list,” Farrar said.
Farrar has a friend who works at Handyman Rental, Mike Cousins, and he arranged for Morgridge to have the free ride in a boom lift on the lot.
Cousins said he’d never had such a request before, but helping Morgridge fulfill her dream “seemed like the right thing to do.”
“I hope I have half her spirit at that age,” he said.
Cousins had a Handyman mechanic, John Dufour, accompany Morgridge as she went aloft. The lift goes up about 36 feet high, but Cousins said Morgridge traveled about six feet shy of that height into the air. A bunch of birthday balloons was attached to the railing of the basket, as was a camera to record the event.
Dufour enjoyed the ride, too.
“I thought it was great to help someone fulfill their birthday wish,” he said.
Morgridge’s son, Ralph “Skip” Morgridge of Portland, was also at the event to cheer his mother on.
Skip Morgridge, 63, said he hopes he is as healthy and active as his mother as he ages. He attributes her longevity to a “good sense of humor and a positive outlook.”