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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You Were Never Here, But You Are.

This is Deputy Digby Pancake.  It has been a wonderful week here in this Virginia place.


Despite the yellow jackets and the bites and the heat, we were able to see some beautiful things.


And at the end of every day when the sun went down and it became a little cooler, well, all was good in our Big Blue Treat Wagon RV world.  And all was as it should be.


Have you ever went to a place, even if that place was your backyard, and you saw something wonderful? Something magical? Something worth telling someone else about?


Yes, yes, Brickle would argue that his beauty IS worth talking about.  But no, not just that.


Maybe it was a pretty butterfly.

Maybe it was a special bird singing.  Maybe it was a smell of fresh panned pancakes.  Yes, I pan them like gold.


Girl Person reminds us often of her family and Pappy and Granny, and I remember them.   She says that often, the most beautiful, wonderful things we see on our travels seem familiar.  Not that we have saw them before.  But no, because of the feeling that she gets when she sees them.  She says that this week, our travels along the Blue Ridge Parkway reminded her of the wonderful things and memories she had with them.

Not because she ever came here with them.  But because this was just as wonderful as those memories.  And good memories are all related in our heart because they lead back to the same place.


Girl Person said that the most beautiful things and fun places are what make her remember them the most.  She would have called them up and told them about the beautiful lake we are camping on here in Virginia, high up in the mountains.

They would have told her to be careful of snakes and swimming and general fear inspiring scenarios.

She said she would have told them about the Mabry Mill and the grits and pancakes you could eat.  Oh, Granny made Girl Person a lot of pancakes when she was younger.  What a lady.  What a lady.

Girl Person said she would have told them of the displays at the mill and the man that asked if we would eat his leg off, to which Girl Person replied, only if your leg was a piece of fried chicken.


Girl Person said that she would have called them and told them about the little graveyards all around the Blue Ridge Parkway, 75 to be exact, and the people that were buried there and their stories.  They would have told her that was a shame and be careful.  Always be careful.

Girl Person said she would have told them about going across that scary bridge to camp in Douthat State Park and Granny would have told her to please not do that again.  Girl Person said she misses that.

You see, all of life’s beautiful moments are scattered everywhere.  Just in the passage of time do all of life’s beautiful moments seem to be more pronounced…more obvious.  Because we recognize them to be so.  Seems as though it’s not until the people we love the most are gone that we realize how every one of the moments we miss.


The people that we are missing on this trip…even the ones we can still call, don’t know it, but they have been with us in the most special of the places we have been.  They have been remembered in that butterfly, in that bowl of grits and on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you have something in your day that reminds you of someone special and you can…tell them.  And if you can’t, well, remember them. And if you want to tell us a little about them and how you remember them today, we are listening.  Right from this Virginia place.

We will be having a fun filled weekend still in this Virginia place! Won’t you stay with us? We are North Carolina bound on Monday to travel more of the Blue Ridge Parkway! Stay tuned!

-Deputy Digby Pancake

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