Not only was SRS highly religious, but also rather stringent in the rules department, a couple of which even made sense. One rule that I never appreciated or understood was that every student was required to attend breakfast every weekday morning, whether they were hungry or not. A few years ago, I wrote an essay about my experiences at SRS and I will share my entry about breakfast with you now. Aw, now, please, that wild applause is so embarrassing! *snort*
Students are required to attend breakfast at SRS. Why? Beats me. I always found this little rule particularly irksome. Fortunately, I was saved from this fate for much of my SRS career, since I was an employee of the gatehouse (a job that required me to be up quite late) and therefore was excused from attending. In fact, I worked in the gatehouse so often that once when I hadn't worked, I slept through breakfast and was automatically excused.
I would always stumble through the dining hall door and sit down just in time for devotions. We had devotions every morning at breakfast. This consisted of a student (we were selected alphabetically) standing up and doing the hokey-pokey in bib overalls. Not really. Actually, they would stand and read a passage of Holy Writ and then ask someone to lead in a song. Then someone else would lead in prayer and then I would lead the charge to the breakfast line. It is a strategy that young, inexperienced SRSers may wish to remember. You must either get to breakfast really early or just barely in time. Otherwise, you will have just enough time to reach the front of the line before everyone is seated promptly at 7:00 for devotions. Then you’ll have to start all over again. If you get there just in time, you can wait until after prayer and then take your chances getting to the front of the next line.
When the prayer began to wind down, you could hear the shifting of feet being put into running position. The instant “Amen” was said, two hundred little squeaks filled the room as rubber met tile and students dashed for the line. My gang and I had secured a table right at the front of the room, so it was not uncommon for me make first or second place. We had it down to a science.
While we are on the subject of devotions at breakfast, allow me an observation. There is an ant crawling on my computer screen. No, seriously. Each student grimly kept an eye on the schedule, watching their name come closer and closer. It is also interesting to note that it’s easy to remember while it is far away, but the closer it gets, the harder it becomes to recall, until finally on the big day, you forget to take your Bible to breakfast. We had a lot of lessons from John 3:16, as most of the kids knew it from memory. I trust I am not leaving the impression that breakfast was dull. There were times when it was rather amusing and set the tone for the rest of the day. Allow me to relate some of these.
It so happened that my day for devotions fell on Valentine's Day. Since my last name is Hart, the boy's dorm supervisor, (we’ll call him Phil), naturally found this most entertaining. I had been thinking of what to do for devotions and had come up with what I thought would be a good idea. But it wasn't exactly your normal, run-of-the-mill devotional, so at the last minute, I decided to scrap it and go with a more generic version. However, at 7:00 that morning, Phil stood and said, “Today we have a very special person doing devotions. Craig HART! Heh!”
“All righty,” I thought to myself. “If he wants to play rough, I will oblige him.”
And so, I reverted to my original plan. I stood and said, “You know, I really hate doing devotions. But, hey! As long as it’s free air time, let me tell you about a special sale we’re having down at Craig Hart Studios. Two tapes for the price of one!” At this juncture, I lowered my voice and said calmly, “The scripture for today is I John 4:8. God…is…love.” And then I sat down. I don't remember who I chose to start the song, but it was Jesus Loves Me. I may be corny, but at least I can keep to a theme.
Another interesting breakfast occurred when another guy (we’ll call him Bert) was elected to begin the song. It is common knowledge that vocal cords are not awake at 7:00 am and Bert's were no exception. The song was I Will Bless the Lord at All Times, which has a somewhat pleasant melody. Bert, however, began the song in an unknown key and then, realizing he had pitched it too high, abruptly dove down into the substratum with a sound like an eighteen-wheeler shifting for a difficult mountain grade. There were other instances, but I believe I have made my case.