suggestion once he had made up his mind. I kept my mouth shut as Papa touched the bolted fabric, smilingly ignoring the clerk who simply didn’t know enough to let my father choose whatever he wished.
“Sir,” he went on, pointing towards another bolt of gabardine, a somber solid black, “this might look better on you.”
My father’s ears were reddening, a sure sign he was getting, if not angry, than certainly annoyed. Then he clinched it by running a quick hand through his wavy hair, black as that fabric was, and streaked at the temples with silver gray.
“You saying I’m too old for the suit?”
“No, of course not, but—”
“But it looks like I’m not old enough to make up my own mind. Is that it?”
Now it was the clerk turning red. “Sir, I was only trying—”
“To help,” finished my father. “Don’t you think if we needed help, we’d call you? Looks to me like an easy sale.” Then to me he said, “What do you think, Sal?” I nodded, and he closed the deal with, “I’m sticking with this one. My celebration suit.”
“Celebration?” asked the clerk. I could tell Papa was hoping he’d ask.
“To go dancing in. We got some weddings coming up and I want to look good out there on the dance floor.”
The clerk made a face which he quickly dismissed by changing it to a beaming one. If this old guy in his seventies wants to act like a cool dude, guess that’s his problem, he thought for an instant and then gave in with a smile that read, “The customer is always right.”