Father Griffin




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.





Wayman Crow
A Legacy In Ethics


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