After actual years of waiting, this is what happened:
We walked into this closet of a store down a back alley near the Pantheon that looked like Geppetto’s workshop. Bolts of fabric were waving off of spools and a bright crimson Cardinal’s cassock was waiting to be picked up. Mr. Conrad was measured first by Ditta Gammarelli himself. Small talk in broken English was made as he carefully took measurements of every articulating point and described how the fabric will lay based on his selection. Mr. Conard is done and shoved to the side of the small fitting room. Next, I am put in front of the mirror to be sized up. This actually happened, and I am still traumatized. Ditta, after measuring shoulders, chin to floor, etc. gets to my waist, measures, then walks across to David, and remeasures his waist as if he had to have made some mistake by yards and yards. Ditta says to me “You Bishop, he Deacon.” Everyone laughs but me. He explains how they keep our measurements on file so as we climb up the clergy ladder, they can make new vestments. (At this point, we had said twice that we were not priests.) My pride on the floor with the tape measure, I go to pay not having any idea what this is going to cost, except a lot. I had purchased very little on the pilgrimage up until this point. Everything is hand written in a tablet like the one I used to practice handwriting in first grade. There is no computer. A boisterous Monsignor walks in at this point and selects a fantastic material for an Easter Alb. Mr. Conrad and I were so curious, we had to touch it. Behind me I hear “beep, beep, beep” as the sounds of a cash register add up my bill. And let’s just say that I made no other purchases after this one in Italy. You will notice a difference when the Gammarelli Twins come walking down the aisle this Triduum. Please do not ask to touch the garment.