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The Belch

During one of his stemwinding Sunday sermons, the Reverend A. Graham Baldwin paused for dramatic effect. It was at this precise moment that a slack-jawed day-dreaming student in the pew in front of me let loose with a belch, so deafening it could be heard from the fitting room at Elander & Swanton. The poor guy followed this up with a startled “Oh, I’m sorry!” so loud it would have bounced off the carillon at the far end of the campus.

The guy seated to his left, Peter Herrick (’56), wanted to laugh in the worst way. But of course this would have further distracted the Reverend’s rapt audience and gotten him a demerit. So, as I watched from directly behind, his neck swelled to a reddish purple like a magma chamber in a volcano while he valiantly suppressed it.

And that was it. The service and the sermon continued without further incident. Nobody got a demerit. We all continued on our way; our grasp of religious profundities forever punctuated by a resounding belch. And I got to share the memory of it with day-dreaming classmates who probably never noticed.

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