It is always a special treat here at my blog when I have my author interviews and guest postings! I have another guest posting by a wonderful author, Garasamo Maccagnone! THANK YOU for stopping by my blog, Garasamo!!!
The Red Flannel Shirt by Garasamo Maccagnone
Right after we married my wife Vicki and I went shopping at Lakeside Mall for a red flannel shirt. Since this moment occurred thirty years ago I can’t remember why I needed a red flannel shirt. The better taste in me wants to believe it was for a Halloween costume of some sort.
We entered the mall through the doors of the men’s department of JCPenney. No more than ten steps into the store, my eyes zoned in on a red shirt hanging on the first row of a rack twenty yards away or so.
“I hope that’s flannel,” I said to Vicki, pointing at the shirt as I briskly walked in the direction of the rack.
It was. And though the first one on the rack was a medium, we found a large squeezed a few shirts behind it that fit me perfectly. After I walked out of the dressing room and twirled a few times in front of the mirror Vicki game me the thumbs up sign with a smile.
Oh was that easy, I said to myself as I quickly undressed. It was Saturday and there was plenty of time to watch college football games on TV or take a nap. With the shirt folded over my arm, I proceeded to walk toward the checkout counter while lifting my wallet out of my back pocket. That’s when Vicki stiff-armed me like she was an All-American linebacker.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“I’m buying the shirt,” I responded in a bewildered trance. She snatched the shirt out of my arm. “No we’re not. You never buy the first shirt you look at. We may be able to get a better deal at the other stores.”
“You gave me the thumbs up sign.”
“That was for the way it fit silly. Now hang that back up and we’ll come back if we can’t find a better deal.”
“But this one is perfect.”
Then it became very quiet. Vicki gave me a look, a look that told me I was in her domain and you never challenge the master while in his or her domain. I sheepishly walked back to the rack and placed the red flannel shirt back on the hanger.
What a mistake that was. The rest of the shopping spree was pure torture for me. Fifteen stores later, with four arguments, three Orange Julius’s, two Mrs. Fields chocolate cookies, and four hours of time behind us, we settled on returning to JCPenney to buy the original red flannel shirt.
As we left Penney’s, certain that my way of thinking was now justified after being right on the shirt, Vicki quickly dismissed my righteousness with a flippant response.
“I feel better now that I know it’s the best one.”
Since that day, the two of us have never shopped together again. It’s probably the one bi-lateral decision we made that secured the peace during our lengthy and loving marriage. I acquiesced on all purchasing matters as long as I did not have to participate in the shopping process.
Unfortunately, a matter has come up now that has pitted our two styles against each other and there’s no way either of us can look the other way. Colleges who want her to play soccer for them are wooing my daughter. As a perfect offer has come forth, it is my nature to take the offer graciously and proceed on so that travel costs when visiting schools are held to a minimum, and more importantly, so my daughter can be relieved the burdens of such a decision are behind her. After all, it will be much easier to finish high school and her studies without worrying about trips and new offers.
Of course, Vicki has a different approach. In her mind, this is a major decision and every school or offer should be reviewed and visited. In fairness to her, it’s hard to argue with her logic except that often, she fails to understand, that college coaches put time limits on offers. In this case, there’s no going back to the first store to pick up the red flannel shirt still on the rack. Therefore, it’s a little too risky to pass up a perfect offer in the hopes that another school might make an even more perfect offer.
Thus, after thirty years, we have locked horns. In one corner, you have myself, who is the typical male shopper, looking for a quick and good deal, looking to give my word and follow through by having my daughter attend the stand out university without sleazily shopping around for a better deal. I don’t need a lot of attention and already know what has offered cannot be topped.
In the other corner, my wife Vicki represents the typical female shopper, the one who needs to touch every item, smell every fragrance, know every price in every marketplace before moving forward to purchase. Shopping for her is a game; it’s an exciting process and she’s comfortable in sifting through the small print of offers, of making the trips and glad handing all the university officials, of being part of the spectacle that high level athletes are afforded throughout the land.
Should I give in? Should I listen to Vicki, who claims she knows what my daughter wants, or should I listen to my heart and push forth with my agenda? After all, I was right about the red flannel shirt.
Better yet, perhaps the two of us should just retreat and let my daughter decide what she wants to do.
Garasamo Maccagnone studied creative writing and literature under noted American writers Sam Astrachan and Stuart Dybek at Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. A college baseball player as well, Maccagnone met his wife Vicki as a junior at WMU. The following year, after injuring his throwing arm, Maccagnone left school and his baseball ambitions to marry Vicki. After a two year stint at both W.B. Doner and BBDO advertising agencies, Maccagnone left the industry to apply his knowledge of marketing in a new venture in an up-and-coming industry. Maccagnone created a company called, “Crate and Fly,” and turned it from a store front in 1984 to a world-wide multi-million dollar shipping corporation by 1994.
In the mid 90’s Maccagnone decided to fulfill the promise of his writing career, by first penning the children’s book, The Suburban Dragon and then following up with a collection of short stories and poetry entitled, The Affliction of Dreams. His literary novel, St. John of the Midfield was published in 2007, followed by his For the Love of St. Nick, which was released in 2008. Maccagnone expanded the original version of For the Love of St. Nick and had the book illustrated for a new release in June 2009.
Garasamo “Gary” Maccagnone lives today in Shelby Township, Michigan, with his wife Vicki and three children. You can visit Gary online at www.garasamomaccagnone.com.
Two California boys, coping with the loss of their mother, find themselves uprooted when their father, a Navy Commander, is transferred to a base in Northern Michigan. With the youngest boy continuously sick, the family must survive military life and the northern elements as they dwell in their little hunter’s cabin on Lake Huron. When the boys’ father must leave prior to Christmas to fulfill his secret mission for the United States Military, the boys are surprised by a chance encounter that saves a life, and reunites a family.
Typically, when Johnny wasn’t feeling well, I tried to lift his spirits by telling him stories about mom and dad. The commander, vigilant in his hope to preserve mother’s memory, told many of the tales to me. In our old home, I sat on his lap on many nights while he showed old photographs of their courtship days or read me letters mother had written when the two were briefly apart.
Johnny’s favorite story was about the little game mom and the commander played on me on Saturday mornings – the mornings I knew cartoons were on. Since the television sat up high on top of a dresser, they were the only two who could turn it on. To wake them, I stood at the end of their bed and tickled their feet with a wild turkey feather. When I tickled the commander’s big ugly calloused foot my mother laughed. When I tickled my mother’s smooth petite foot the commander laughed. Every time I told Johnny that story he smiled, even if he had a high temperature.
Before falling asleep, Johnny often asked me about our mother. One time, using my nickname, he said, “Tiger, tell me how purdy mommy was.”
Our favorite photograph of mother was placed on the fireplace mantel. We called it the “Big Rock Picture” since she was standing on a giant rock while taking a break from a hiking expedition in New England. From my viewpoint, Mother was looking directly into my soul. The autumn wind played with her long blonde hair and she was smiling, smiling like she was so sure of herself, so confident, so healthy and vibrant. It was a smile I kissed a thousand times during the tender moments of my dreams.
“See Johnny, see how pretty she was?” Johnny took the picture from me and kissed and held it to his chest.
“Mommy will protect me tonight,” he said to me. Then he added, “Love you Tiger.”
“I love you more ya big dope,” I retorted back.
“You think mommy got on that big rock with a hoptacopter?”
By the time I got around to explaining how mother ended up on the giant rock, Johnny was fast asleep.
My Review: This was a wonderful read for that relaxing evening at home and an all in one sitting type of read. A story of life, love, the meaning of family and the power of believing.
Reading this story of the two young boys waiting for their father really moved my heart as I sat thinking that it could be my two little boys. The way the one child in this story would pray fervently for their father’s safe return and his ability at such a young age to believe in one special saint-St. Nicholas, is just truly awe inspiring.
This book is great for the whole family to read together. The power of prayer and believing in St. Nick will have a whole new meaning to all who read this book!
Garasamo Maccagnone gets praises from me for a beautiful ability to write wonderful stories and a job well done!
*This book was provided for review by the author and PumpUpYourBooksPromotion*