THE VILLAGE NON-PRIEST PRIEST
He was short and round with a fringe of hair around his
ball-shaped head. He wore a clerical collar with his black suit.
As I passed his diminutive store to get Mother a loaf of day-old
bread at the bakery or to get another book from the library, he
would usually be sitting out front of his store in a cane-bottomed
chair, shaded by an extended tin roof. Other times, he would on the
porch of his house which was connected to the store. Here, sitting
at a card table with students, he would be teaching courses that
were not taught in the local public school, such as German or
I'd visit Father Griffin almost every day. I'd stop by on the
way home after running an errand or go down the hill from our house
to sit and talk with him. If I had money, I'd go into the store,
where there were two candy counters with shelves behind them and a
Coco-Cola box at the end. With a penny, I'd choose a banana
caramel, bubble gum or a peanut butter log. If I were fortunate
enough to have a nickel, I'd gamble and take a punch on the
punch board and hope to win a Val-o-milk. Sometimes I'd buy a
Grapette from the Coco-Cola box.
I loved Father Griffin. He always made me feel important
because he would listen to me and talk to me as though I was a
One time I asked Father Griffin why he did not go to church.
He said that he had been excommunicated. I tried to talk to Mother
about that but she just put on her frowning look. I also
asked her about Mrs. Henderson who was his housekeeper and had a
room in his house. Again, Mother only frowned and did not respond.
I never knew what happened to Father Griffin. Just one day he
was gone and his store was closed. Some said that he was doing
prison ministry. Others later said that he was in a nursing home.
I'm sorry I do not know. Father Griffin was important to me.