My brother posted this about your blog post: When I sang in the choir at Sewanee the procession — even on weekdays — went like this: Hrothgar; the Crucifer; the Choir; the Clergy; the Other Sewanee Dogs. I promise. When Hrothgar had waddled to the chancel steps and labored to the top, he would collapse. The Crucifer stepped around him and continued. The choir bowed (to the altar? to already-sleeping Hrothgar? It was hard to tell.), parted, and went into the stalls. On Sundays Hrothgar had more time to settle into a really deep sleep and his snoring, as Bulldogs cannot help doing, sometimes made it difficult to hear the sermon. The snoring was often more interesting than the sermon.
Here’s my brother’s telling of the dogs in the chapel: There’s another Hrothgar story that has a chance of being apocryphal or at least a little embroidered, but there’s no reason to doubt that the kernel of this story is true. Once upon a time the Bishop of Somewhere-or-Other was preaching a Sunday sermon in All Saints Chapel. That morning Hrothgar had decided to have his long nap using the altar as a backrest, far out of sight of the pulpit but not, of course, of the congregation. As the bishop was preaching and Hrothgar was snoozing, a bitch in heat happened to wake from her own nap, stretched, and then strolled across the chancel floor directly in front of the altar and hence of Hrothgar. The beguiling scent of this lovely piece of canine flesh not only roused Hrothgar, it pitched him into a state of frenzy that he didn’t ordinarily experience. The young lady in question was ready to have babies, and Hrothgar was ready to be their father. And so it happened, right there on the epistle side of the altar. Hundreds of college boys, as well as adult members of the congregation, collapsed in hysterical laughter to the confusion and annoyance of the Right Reverend Preacher.