Interview with The Commander from For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone
A: I was under a lot of stress. I don’t know how I would have made it had it not been for Mrs. Pennington. She was a lifesaver!
Between the daily rigors involved in my secret mission and worrying about the boys, to this day, I don’t know how we all survived. Mrs. Pennington was like an angel sent to our family in a troubling time. Though she’s long passed, my boys and my new family pray for her weekly at Sunday Mass.
Q: Can you tell us about the secret mission?
A: I’d have to kill you.
Q: (laughing aloud) Let’s not go there then. Can you tell us about any of your secret missions?
A: The only one declassified is my reconnaissance mission over Cuba prior to the Cuban missile crisis.
Q: Tell us about that one.
A: I was one of the guys that located the missiles hidden away on the island.
Q: You did that from a plane?
A: We flew the Crusaders that took the photographs. It was sort of a no brainer after that. The missiles were pretty easy to spot.
Q: Are you open to discussing your late wife?
A: It’s not easy to talk about her. I’ve been remarried for twenty years and have systematically squeezed Hannah’s memory into a compartment far away from my every day thoughts.
Q: If it’s too uncomfortable…
A: No, no. It would not be right to not honor her at this time. All I can say is we were madly in love and times were simple and easy. I told her often that someone was always secretly filming us for our version of “Love Story.” I know it’s soppy to say that but we were in sync – in every possible way. It was a magical time living in San Diego.
Q: Do you really believe St. Nick saved your youngest son?
A: I’m not sure if they saw St. Nick or wanted to see St. Nick. All I know is that was the most magical Christmas of all time for me. You can’t imagine how little I slept while being away. The boys were my life and all that I cared for. When I returned home and they jumped in my arms, that became the miracle for me. I had too many close calls during the secret mission to not believe someone was watching over me.
There is nothing better than being together with your family on Christmas day. I am forever grateful to the good Lord and St. Nick for letting me touch the faces of my little boys again.