Posted by Ed Kiser on January 08, 2017 at 08:43:53 user Kisered.
When you are watching a sporting event and the team you are pulling for scores, you feel like jumping up thrusting both arms up in the air and shouting, a very vivid display of emotion.
There are moments in these Ransome stories that seemed to be a Grand Event that made me want to stand up and cheer with arms raised in celebration.
Here are but a few of those moments; there are others.
In Pigeon Post, Roger comes to the realization that the piece of quartz he had just hammered loose from the wall had a glint of metal. He knew that he had found what they had all been looking for. He had really done it.
In We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea, there were so many moments of stress, of real fear of very real dangers. It was no made up child's game they were playing, like the Amazons pretending to be pirates. This was serious business, a struggle to remain alive. Things began looking up when the Pilot came on board, but a lot of questions as to how to make the next move, and how to pay for the Pilot and the telegram, different kinds of stress, but serious concerns. Then John happened to look up to that steamer next to them and suddenly recognized DADDY. Then, he was gone. So near, yet another failure. Then came that wondrous moment of Victory, as they heard the sound of a motorboat coming up behind them, and suddenly, they saw...DADDY. The shift in emotion was fantastic. Susan had to hide back in the cabin to manage her tears, but tears of relief, not of fear. The emotions of that moment completely turned around.
In Peter Duck, of course the moment of Victory was after the stress of the storm, the loss of their water supply, only to suddenly discover the treasure they had come so far to find. This emotional joy was somewhat restrained when they found that it was not gold picecs of eight which any respectable Pirate would have buried, but some pearls, some of questionable value. But they had found what they had come looking for.
Winter Holiday had that moment of emotional cheering on my part because it involved communication via code, that is, Morse Code. Nancy was recovering from her illness and was walking about to get her legs back in working order again. There was some stress as to the missing D's with even the Natives getting stirred up in the search for those missing two. But Nancy happened to look far away, to the north, and saw another light, below those of the village beyond, but a light that seemed to be blinking. She looked again, and realized that was CODE. She spelled out the letters, "NP" and realized what it meant, that the D's were at the North Pole.
This last Victory Moment was of special importance to me because it was Winter Holiday that triggered my desire to become familiar with CODE, Morse and Semaphore. My Ransome friends were actually using that. I learned it, and suggested to my Boy Scout Troup that we all should learn signalling. The Scoutmaster suggested that I teach my friends. For the nerd kid who was always the last chosen for the team, it suddenly put me into a leadership position among my peers. Those guys seemed to take to this project rather well. We did quite a bit of practicing from one end of a field to another. It was a social victory for me.
When ever signalling was used by my Ransome friends, it quickly got my attention, as in PP, John and Roger signalling with flashing torch back to the base camp as the two boys prepared to spend the night in the gulch, keeping watch. In Winter Holiday, there was that flurry of semaphore with Nancy (face like a pumpkin) in her window, with that delightful moment of realization as to what "SMT" meant. (Shiver my Timbers). Another moment that could have been a rather exciting victory of the art of signalling was mentioned in Swallowdale, but they never actually tried to get the idea to really work, and that was from the top of the Lookout Rock, they could see Holly Howe and mentioned the possibility of signalling to Mom back there from that rock, but they never made that effort. I always regretted that failure as it would have been quite a success to communicate across such a distance. This event was of course before Winter Holiday, so signalling at that time was not all that important to them.
Signalling was just another one of those features that made reading Ransome such an educational process. When I got my sailboat, I rigged it and sailed it having read nothing other than Ransome as to "how to" make it work, and did quite well. In the Scouts, I could build a campfire and hang a pot over the flame, because I had seen Susan do it and I had learned from her. It has been a learning experience to have those books a part of my growing up, and still a constant companion on into my retirement years. These books are among my prize possessions.
Thanks, AR... Ya dun Good...
Ed Kiser, Kentucky, USA ( email@example.com )
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