Father Bloom is dead; God rest his soul.
His obituary states that he died from “shortness of breath.” As I recall, he was never a long-winded man to begin with.
Father Bloom spoke every year at the Memorial Day celebration in our town. The parade always assembles at the village green and marches up the hill to the Catholic cemetery. It takes all of fifteen minutes to complete the trek.
One year Father Bloom approached the microphone to greet the crowds assembled on the hillside.
“Welcome to our Memorial Day celebration,” he began, “the most popular annual event in our town. As a matter of fact, it has the distinction of being the only annual event in our town.”
I used to walk our black Labrador retriever down the street past Saint Bernard’s Catholic Church on the corner. Sometimes we would cut through the walkway between the church and the rectory. Father Bloom kept watch from the window.
One time I returned with the dog and encountered Father Bloom standing on the walkway by the lawn. “Good day, Father,” I said, mustering a weak smile.
“Is this your dog’s business?” Father Bloom growled, pointing to the pile of canine excrement at his feet.
I bent down to study it carefully. “Oh, no, Father. That’s not my dog’s; I’m certain of it.”
“Make sure you keep him out of the cemetery,” he said. “Hallowed ground is no place for dogs.”
I wondered if Father Bloom had ever seen the movie, “All Dogs Go To Heaven.”
On another occasion my wife and I were out with the dog when Father Bloom stepped out of the side door of the rectory. “Is that dog Catholic?” he asked.
“No, Father, he’s Protestant through and through,” my wife said.
“Then get him the hell out of here,” he muttered.
Once, when out for an afternoon stroll, I walked past the church and looked up to see Father Bloom’s Buick sedan shoot out from between the rectory and the house next door and skid to a halt on his front lawn. Slowly the door opened, and Father Bloom careened out.
“Don’t mind me, son,” he grinned. “I just went out for a few beers and missed the garage.”