This one-word sentence was famously said by General Anthony McAuliffe, during the Battle of the Bulge, near the end of World War II. It was his reply, when the Germans demanded that the Americans that he commanded, and were surrounded in the town of Bastogne, surrender. As a side note, the German negotiator, who said he knew English quite well, didn’t understand what the general meant. McAuliffe explained that it essentially meant, “Go to hell!” That simple response became quite the symbol to his men: We don’t give up, ever.
This story, oddly enough, pops into my head most evenings – when I’m out walking our dog Juliet. Yeah, I know – quite the stretch, huh? Bear with me on this and I’ll make my case.
Very often, I give Juliet her last walk of the day, and it’s done quite late: sometimes around eleven o’clock. At that hour, few people are about. So, I often take her to the pool area. It has a fence, and I can let her off her leash to run around. It gets her good and tried to sleep. The place has a lot of trees, and the deck area is covered in acorns, covered in nuts. Juliet has a real propensity for pursuing squirrels, which is understandable – for a dog. She’s seen how they feast on nuts, and so she’s developed a habit of checking them out. Given the volume of acorns available in the pool area, and that she’s off her leash, she’s able to sniff and munch on them as much as she likes.
The thing is she hates the taste of them! Yet, she sniffs around, picks one up in her mouth, chews on it, and then spits it out. She does this over and over, and over again. It seems she’s looking for that one squirrel-flavored nut she just knows it out there, somewhere. She obviously figures that, since squirrels eat nuts, nuts must taste good. It doesn’t matter how many nuts she tries and spits out, she just keeps trying.
She does follow that motto: We don’t give up, ever.
Now when we walk, I often take her to the pool to play. She walks around, she dunks her front paws in the water to cool off, and she looks for squirrels. When she doesn’t find any, she sniffs around until she catches the scent of one of them. That always leads her to some nuts, and she starts chomping on them. As with before, she spits them out! Yet, no matter how many times she does not find that magical squirrel-flavored acorn, she doesn’t give up.
Funny the connections you can find in life. I guess my love of history is responsible for this one. So, now I sit on a pool lounge chair and contemplate the past; even as my dog races about, chewing and spitting out acorns that she hates to eat. I have to wonder, will she, someday, develop a taste for acorns? Oh, now that would be hilarious.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
Click above to tell a friend about this article.