The Rock Tumbler

This is the start of a weeklong series called The Tales Of Wild Bill in memory of Billy Mac Johnson. 

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. This week, we will be telling you some stories about Boy Person’s dad. We wanted to acknowledge in true, funny stories that his life mattered and that we will miss him.  We will be calling this series The Tales Of Wild Bill and share some of his favorite music and things to go along with it! We hope you enjoy this week!


One day, many years ago when Boy Person was small, yet big in curiosity, his dad told him about something called a rock tumbler.  Have you ever heard of a rock tumbler?  Well, I know pretty much everything, and this was new to me.

Seems as though you can take rocks and put them in this device and they get tossed and turned until they are beautiful.  I think all rocks are beautiful no matter what.  But this gives them shine and a different sort of beauty.  Boy Person was very excited about it.  Not as excited as when Deputy Digby gets a plate of pancakes, but excited.


So one day, Boy Person’s family was driving to a campground.  They stopped on the side of the road to take a break. In anticipation of getting a rock tumbler, Wild Bill said that he was going to go down to a nearby river and look for some rocks.  Boy Person wanted to go, but his mom person told him it was too dangerous.

Also, Boy Person was eating a sandwich.  A Swiss Lorraine cheese sandwich.  There could have been ham. Or Virginia Baked Ham.  Which was on the only ham Wild Bill would eat, even if they had to drive for hours to find it.  Rocks or a sandwich? He picked the sandwich.

So off Wild Bill went to go look for rocks himself. After a few hours, Boy Person’s mom became anxious.  She said she could not drive their motor home, and what were they going to do if he never came back?  What. Were. They. Going. To. Do.

After a few hours, they heard a faint knock on the door.  When they opened the door, it became apparent very quickly they didn’t need a rock tumbler.  Because Wild Bill had tumbled enough.

You see, as Wild Bill was bending down to pick up some rocks in the stream in his boots..which he always wore, no matter what, he slipped on a big, slippery rock. He fell and he fell and he fell. Down, into the river.  The river carried him away, tossing him and turning him and he had to fight for his life!

When he was able to gather himself together and get to the bank of the raging river, he had to climb back up that mountain in his boots.  And when they saw his condition after the knock on the door, well, they forget about that rock tumbler.  Because Wild Bill was a rock tumbler. He was covered in blood from head to toe.  His boots were gone. Long gone. But they had to get to the campground. After about three hours, he rested and was able to get them to camp. But no mention of a rock tumbler was ever heard again.

If you don’t have a rock tumbler, you may wonder, why did Boy Person and his dad continue to collect rocks for years after that?  No one can answer that question directly.  No one knows as well what they did with the rocks they found. But Boy Person said that it was the fun of looking for them, and perhaps the adventure that ended up being the beauty.  And not the rocks themselves.


Wild Bill may have lost his rocks in that river. He may have also lost his boots. He also may have lost any hopes of ever getting a rock tumbler. But he gained a funny story that Boy Person could remember for years to come.  Wild Bill was good at making stories.  In fact, no one else could make a better one.  Or more.  Some stories had lessons to tell. Some stories were about hardship.  And just like Wild Bill, we all have stories made out of choices that shaped our lives.

We have more stories to share with you this week.  We hope you will enjoy them, and perhaps call to mind some stories you may have forgotten about from people that you miss you too.

Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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One thought on “The Rock Tumbler

  1. Theresa Bates

    My dad wasn’t a huge man, but he was big enough if your were a kid. Just under 6 feet, and about 220, with a booming voice (probably inherited from his 7′ 1″ grandfather, who was a preacher). When my son was about 12 or 13, we drove from Pensacola to western Oklahoma for Christmas, stopping on the way to pick up my brother and his two children. My parents lived in a house that had a large addition that had once been a beauty salon. Nice big bonus room that became their headquarters while we were there. Christmas afternoon, after waking to snow on the ground and wearing themselves out playing in the snow, then opening presents and having a great Christmas dinner, they were in their headquarters, just talking and resting up from their exciting day. But they were too quiet. “Granddaddy” decided to check on them. He stuck his head into the room and asked, “What are you kids up to in there?” to which my son responded, “Nothing, Granddaddy.” “Well, cut it out,” said my dad. He had no response for “Nothing.”

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