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A Respect For Ideas and “The Rocket’s Shadow”
A Respect For Ideas and “The Rocket’s Shadow”

A Respect For Ideas and “The Rocket’s Shadow”

Here’s an excerpt (pp. 1-2) from the science-adventure story The Rocket’s Shadow by John Blaine, (c) 1947, Grossett & Dunlap Publishers, New York:
Rick Brant, being tall for his age, had no trouble making the final connections on his latest invention. He screwed the bell on solidly, then stepped back to view his handiwork. The doorbell was now in an unusual position. Instead of being at waist level, it had been moved to the inside of the doorframe and place up high. It looked fine. A stranger might have to hunt a little before he saw the push button, but he’d find it all right. Rick went inside and threw the switch that would send electricity into the gadget and then went to collect the family. Mrs. Brant was in the kitchen, supervising the supper preparations for the family and for the scientists who made their home on Spindrift Island. Rick sampled the cake frosting in a near-by bowl and invited: “Come out to the porch for a minute, Mom? There’s something I want to show you.” Mrs. Brant looked up from the roast she was seasoning, a twinkle in her eyes. “What is it now, Rick? Another invention?” “Wait and see,” he said mysteriously. “I’ll to get Dad and Barby.” He hurried into the big front room that Hartson Brant used as an office. It was filled with books written in several languages, all of them on scientific subjects. One wall was covered with framed degrees stating that Hartson William Brant was an engineer, a Master of Arts, a member of numerous scientific societies, and a Fellow of the American Institute of Atomic Scientists.
In the center of the room was a massive desk, littered now with blueprints, wiring diagrams, and stacks of paper that were covered with obscure mathematical figures. Hartson Brant, clad in an unprofessorlike slack suit and with his brown hair mussed, was scowling over an intricate equation. Rick waited until his father looked up, not wanting to break into his train of thought.
As with the Wright Brothers anecdote, I love this excerpt for the deep respect for ideas it shows. The son  does not want to interrupt the thinking of his father, because he knows thinking is important, practical, and worthy of respect. Another good lesson for education. We don’t find enough like that in literature.

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