Dav'y Shellback Talks to Recruits
Updated 03/21/2003 11:45
One of the great joys of Sea Scouting in “the
good old days” was to have a ‘gam, or talk, with Dav’y Shellback, a
wise old sailor who had sailed the Seven Seas for many a year.
Dav’y had finally “swallowed the anchor” and was laid up on dry
land. Dav’y spoke to young
Sea Scouts through the Sixth Edition of The Sea Scout Manual, published
between 1939 and ____, and imparted wisdom and advice that is timeless in
its nature and still a great treasure today.
“Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, as
Dav’y Shellback gams again.”
and belay, sailor!
away, me hearty?
fer Sea Scoutin', ye say!
blast old Davy Shellback fer a web footed swab, ef ye ain't a likely 'ppearin'
lad an' I hope ye'll come to the notice o' yer Skipper, I do! An' that's
gospel, me bucko.
now, Davy Shellback's an old A. B.; deep water has gurgled abeam me weather
ear from Cape Stiff to the Baffinlands an' I've l'arned to pull me forelock
on deck an' take me ease below in clipper, frigate and whaler. 'Tis a hard
life but a glorious one an' yer shipmate Davy Shellback don't regret a watch
o' it, he don't.
Not him, lad. I only wisht I was yer own years ag'in; keel haul me fer a
cook's cat, ef I wouldn't sign on all over ag'in. But all's I can do is sit
on a pier-head an' watch the tall ships speed by, manned by the likes o'
yerself, an' yarn an' gam sentimental o' the old days. But I takes small
comfort from it, laddy-mate, fer in me old heart I know that those days be
still with us. It matters not that yur ships ain't my ships. The heart o'
'em are the same, be it a noble spread of strainin' canvas or a honest thump
in' Deisel, an' the men as man 'em are the same. Sailors all, matey, a whoop
in', landhatin', lovin', growlin' crew o' the finest cre'tures as ever
lived atween the two poles. God bless 'em, says Davy Shellback reverent, an' keep
sendin' 'em forever an' forever to love the little
ships as follows His mighty oceans!
this helps ye not, shipmate, an' old Davy is fer seein' yer to sea all
standin' an' Bristol fashion; yer keel sturdy with the spikes o' truth an'
yer canvas pullin' with the sartin wind o' knowledge.
be a pleasure to spin yarns with ye, lad. A pleasure indeed fer no sailor
ever lived who couldn't make a whopper outen the littlest forepeak happinen'.
'Tis one o' the sports o' sailorin'! But 'tis far better to tell 'em than
listen. So Davy Shellback will rig yer for to meet yer ship an' wait
impatient fer the day ye return with yer own yarns. What fun ye'll have
a'gatherin' em! Laddy-mate, the thrills ye have a'comin'! Oh, I can see ye,
a stalwart upstandin' 'pprentice, risin' to yer skipper's notice like I
predic'. Ord'nary seaman they'll rate ye, lad, an' then Able Bodied an' then
one day all hands will be piped an' ye'll be Quartermaster! Quartermaster,
bucko-boy, with yer silver stripes, all handsome an' the watch respectful
an' yer heart within ye nigh to bustin' with the pride o' achievement! An'
Mate! An' Skipper! Ah, lad, 'tis a noble course to sail, this Sea Scoutin'!
belay that, old Davy Shellback, says I, ye mis' able shellback yer! Mind yer
manners an' speak respectful, says I, fer this lad is gain' in the
hawse-hole, seaman style, an' he's a'comin' out on the quarterdeck an' won't
be lookin' at the likes o' ye. The lad's a seaman born, says I, an' yer can
best sarve 'im by givin' 'im the course an' tumblin' below. So, pawl the
capstan, old Davy, an' give 'im o' yer l'arnin' fer he's afire to go to sea!
be too much fer ye to remember, matey, so I'll set it down neat an' tidy
like a schoolmarm, all stowed an' labeled regular like the signal flags in
the Old Man's flag locker. Ye reach fer what ye want and thar she be, handy,
fer It minutes studyin' or a passage to China-land.
"Bong Voyage", as the Frenchies have it, me hearty. Old Davy
Shellback do wish ye the merriest an' smoothest o' cruises in yer fun o' Sea
Scoutin'. Mind yer halyards and
braces an' don't ferget that yer Skipper's lookin' fer the man in ye, not
be another word I'll have fer ye when ye come up fer 'pprentice. Ye may lay
to that, matey-lad!
Gams since 21 March 2003
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