Author: Garasamo Maccagnone
Title: For the Love of St. Nick
Genre: Fiction/Christmas Fiction
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.
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.