Department Outing Quotes

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In 1934, my parents and the aunts and uncles that accompanied them on their return to Germany, stayed with my grandmother and other family members during this difficult time. To get away from the overwhelming stress everyone felt, they took a day’s outing to the grassy countryside known as die Luneburger Heide, which lay about 50 km southeast of Hamburg. North Germany is not known for its good weather, but I heard that on that particular day it was sunny and perfect for a picnic. From their slightly elevated vantage point, they watched a parade of young men in the Hitler Youth march by. As the band played and the Nazi flag fluttered, most of the people got up out of respect… or could it have been from fear? That is, everyone but my family stood up! They were new Americans and proud of their adopted country, so they alone didn’t salute the repressive flag that was paraded by and they certainly didn’t feel that they had to show any loyalty to it. It did not take long before my family was aggressively surrounded by “Nazi Brown Shirts” and confronted for this unpardonable violation. Pretending not to understand German or the importance of the circumstances, they were allowed to depart from the scene, being thought of as uneducated schweinehunde, another derogatory slang word meaning pig-dogs. It seems that this conflict could have been avoided, had they just stood up and paid due deference to the flag. Considering the times, it was lucky that they got away with their little scam. To the Nazis it was not just a game, the swastika represented their new order, in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. I don’t know if my family realized how lucky they were, that this incident didn’t escalate. It is interesting to note that civil servants and members of the German military were expected to take oaths pledged to Hitler himself, and not to the Constitution or the German state. Oaths were taken very seriously by members of the German armed forces. They considered them to be part of a personal code of honor. This put the military in a position of personal servitude, making them the personal instrument of Hitler. In September of that year, at the annual Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies, Hitler euphemistically proclaimed that the German form of life would continue for the next thousand years.
Hank Bracker
And we have to remember,” she said, “Martin suffers from a handicap. We have to make allowances.” The handicap to which Mrs. Högfors referred was deafness. Martin was hearing-impaired, and had been so since puppyhood. Ulf had first discovered this when taking Martin, as a young dog, for a walk in the park near his flat. Two troublesome youths, who had been setting off firecrackers, tossed one so that it landed immediately behind Martin. The resulting explosion had no effect on Martin, who sauntered on unperturbed. Ulf had been surprised by this, given the sensitivity of most dogs to fireworks, and had arranged for Martin to be examined by the local vet. Ulf’s suspicions were confirmed: Martin was unable to hear anything, even with the temporary assistance of a special canine hearing aid that the vet inserted in his ear. “There’s not much we can do,” said the vet. “You’re going to have to watch him on the roads. He won’t hear cars, you know.” That was a danger, of course, but Ulf found it possible to avoid the more serious consequences of Martin’s deafness by remembering that for a dog, smell is more than capable of compensating for lack of hearing. So, rather than call Martin for his dinner—as most dog owners would do—he would open a can of dog food and then blow across the open top, wafting the smell off to Martin’s attentive nose. Similarly, when it was time for Martin to be taken for a walk, Ulf would wave his leash about in the air, allowing Martin to catch a whiff of the leather and to come bounding up for the outing. These techniques had worked well enough, but then a chance remark by the vet had led Ulf to adopt a whole new approach to Martin’s handicap. “It’s a pity,” said the vet, “that nobody’s ever thought of teaching dogs to lip-read.
Alexander McCall Smith (The Department of Sensitive Crimes (Detective Varg #1))
The entertainment palled. Fatigue like gravitation pulled at limbs and eyelids. As they had come so they departed, first Abbzug, then the two women from San Diego. The ladies first. Not because they were the weaker sex—they were not—but simply because they had more sense. Men on an outing feel obliged to stay up drinking to the vile and bilious end, jabbering, mumbling and maundering through the blear, to end up finally on hands and knees, puking on innocent sand, befouling God’s sweet earth. The manly tradition. The
Edward Abbey (The Monkey Wrench Gang)