The Ritual of the Worry Stone

I swear this actually happened
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Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:25 pm
First Name: Roy
Last Name: Bowen
Crew?: Both
Which Years on Board: 1967-1971
Special Crew?: Neither
Rate: EM2(SS/DV)

The Ritual of the Worry Stone

Post by rmbowen » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:40 pm

Does anyone remember the ritual of the “Worry Stone” ? It may have only been a Blue crew thing in the mid-sixties. I know these things come and go and some live longer than others. I was curious of its origin and would like someone to reply if they know that the Gold crew or other boats practiced it.
A few days ago I posted a poem on the 627 website called “The Heartache Stone”. As I was writing a short intro to the poem, I had a nagging feeling that there was something else I needed to say. Last night my twelve-year-old grandson and I were looking at his rock collection, and there it was - the Worry Stone!
My grandson and I go out some weekends to dig and look for rocks. He gets real excited when he finds an unusual one. When I was his age, the only time I got excited about a rock was when I needed one to throw at something. My Worry Stone somehow had migrated into his collection. I told him how I had used it and said he could keep it. He got a real kick out of the explanation. Since the story had its roots on the Madison, I decided to post it on the web site. Here it is with a little more detail, and I swear it is the truth!:
On my first patrol (Madison 15th) I was working on my qualification requirements in upper-level AMR2. Chief Bill (Wild Bill) Stafford walked up and handed something to me and said, “you might need this.”
“What is it?” I replied.
“It’s a Worry Stone,” he said.
“A worry stone?” I puzzled.
“Yes,” said Wild Bill, “ I used it last patrol. Now it’s time to pass it on to someone else.”
“Why?” I asked
“It’s time for me to get an new one.”
“What is wrong with this one?” I asked.
“I’ve about worn it out.”
“What ….??,” I paused, wondering where this was going.
“You see,” explained the wise Chief (with exaggerated patience), “I always keep one of these in my pocket. When I get worried, I pull it out and rub it. It always calms me down.”
“Wow, “ I said with sudden interest. I held up the stone, brought it close to my eyes and rolled it over between thumb and fingers. It was highly polished, round and slightly flat. It felt heavy for its size. I estimated it to be an inch and one-half in diameter. It had the look of granite and was cool to the touch. Strangely enough, it did seem to have a soothing effect. (However, anything that gave me a break from that ‘Qualification Card’ was soothing.) But I thought there might be something to this Worry Stone, so I said “Thanks, Chief, I sure appreciate this, but what will you do about your worries?”
“Oh, I’ve got a new one.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out something that looked to be a broken arrowhead.
“But Chief,” I protested, “That thing is so rough and sharp!”
“I know.” He said, walking away with stone in hand. He paused and looked up at MS1 and MS2 and said “But not for long.” Then he ducked through the hatch.
I got it Chief, thank you. I often wonder where you are nowadays. I hope you are healthy and still kicking. Perhaps you will find the reunion website one day soon.
The best Chiefs have a way of communicating without words. Amen!
R.M. Bowen EM2(SS/DV)
1967-1970 blue crew April 1970-1971 gold crew

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