By Jarard Powers
Holy Stoniní wasnít a religious experience; nor was it throwing blessed rocks at the Navy types, rather it was a job that was hard on the back and arms. For all of the Sand Peeps or others who might not know, a 327 had teakwood decks. We were not made to do this on a regular basis (thank God) but every now and then the Chief thought that it would be a good idea.
The holy stone resembled a vacuum cleaner in shape, but weighed around twenty-five pounds . A round stone was at the end of a handle sand was put on the deck and you scrubbed the gunk out of the wood.
Now isnít that simple? I have never been accused of being the brightest light on the horizon, but I couldnít help but notice that the more salty deckies seemed to be having a much easier time than us boots.
I mentioned this to my buddy Jenkins and he informed me that they had been doing this a lot longer than we had and probably knew the best way to handle the contraption. Oh indeed they did!
I must have moved all of ten feet, my arms are about to fall off, when those beautiful words come over the speakers, mail call, mail call.
We put down our stones and begin moving to the mess deck, when , what is this, the salts are picking something up from under their stones. It is a bright shiny object, it looks like a penny, by --- , it is a penny.
I brought this to the attention of Jenkins and he informed me that I was seeing things probably from when I straightened up after being bent over so long, besides Chief hadnít said anything about pennies.
Youíve probably figured it out, the dumb boot, a penny under the stone, so easy. I now had moved twice as far as I had in the early morning, Iím one handing it, me and that old stone were sliding over that deck. I bragged to Jenkins about how much I had done and he thought that the mornings work sure looked a lot cleaner than what I had finished later. Nonsense, nothing but jealousy on his part I thought.
Well, Jenkins wasnít the only one who had noticed the difference.
Chief ambles over, Powers, what do you have under your stone? Sand and wood Chief, sand and wood. Chief had been around, no boot was going to fool him. He looked under the stone, threw the penny in New York Harbor, gave me extra duty and made go back and start over
My face is hot, Iím embarrassed, now Iíve messed up my liberty plus Iíve got to go over all that I had done, when Jenkins slides over and in a not too quiet voice says,ĒA Penny For Your thoughts Powers.Ē
This little story is in memory of my dear shipmate, Tom Jenkins who has crossed the bar.
Jarard Powers had a tour of duty in the USCG 1961-1965.
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