Dog Tale

“Outside of a dog, man’s best friend is a book,

Inside of a dog its too dark to read.”

Groucho Marx, comedian


I was a Marine. Just a Marine. Not a hero. Not even close. You won’t find my name in the history books. But I did serve. And fifty years later, I’m still moved when I hear the Marine Corps Hymn or see someone in their dress blue uniform. And the older I get it seems my tears come a little faster and the pain goes a little deeper when I hear about a fallen warrior.

“Semper Fidelis” is Latin for always faithful. And it’s the Marine Corps motto. Their mascot is a bulldog named “Chesty” named after the bigger than life Lieutenant General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated Marine in American History. And just how big of a bad ass was Chesty Puller? Surrounded by the Chinese and North Koreans, out numbered 8 to 1 – this was his assessment of the situation,  “All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time.”

During the first world war the Marines were given the name “Devil Dogs” by the German Soldiers they were fighting. The newspapers in the United States started printing stories about this event in early 1918 and guess what. Today, because of the Marines fierce fighting and the writers good reporting, the Marines are still Devil Dogs.


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The unofficial Postal Service motto is, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Many years ago I took a test to become a postal worker. And guess what. I failed big time. But that setback did not diminish my passion for receiving mail. It started in the marines, long before Skype. All these years later, I still look forward to “mail call.”

Whenever I have the pleasure of meeting a mail carrier, I like to ask, “How many times have you been bitten by a dog?” I read that on an average day in America, twenty-eight mailmen are bitten by dogs. I’m happy to report that our letter carrier, Brian, is still bite free.

In all my years of running it wasn’t until a short time ago that I was actually attacked by a dog. It didn’t look very big until it started chasing me. But it seemed to get bigger every time I looked back to see if it was gaining on me. In time, I was able to outrun the hungry animal. But before I got away he managed to snap off a patch of my sweatpants. I figure better my pants than my leg. Now like Brain our mail carrier, I’m armed with a can of pepper spray. Look out, Fido!

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight,

It’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Mark Twain, author