So why rock tumbling?
A month ago I was getting annoyed with the constant rattling and banging of my golfballs in the back of the car but an idea was hatched – load up a large bottle full of sand and rocks and see what comes out in a month. For a whole two days the sloshing and banging was pure joy as my free tumbler was working everyday while I drove to and from work. Then the smell of the leaking plastic pickle jar became notciable. End of the experiment.
I always wanted a rock tumbler after seeing a neighbor setting one up. The mom called me over and asked if I wanted to watch her load in a handful of rocks into the dented tin can. I watched with excitement when the thing was switched on and the noisy can rolled in place, clicking and clacking of the rocks mixing with the whirl of the motor. I was mesmerized… for five minutes. I ran back to my homemade gocart(plywood board plopped ontop of my sisters old baby stroller) and forgot all about the newly started tumble. A few weeks later the neighbor called me and a few other kids over to see the opening of the can, all of which was all a distant memory. Washing away the muddy grey sludge made my eyes pop – shiny gems magically replaced the grey/brown garden rocks. It changed my life… for another five minutes.
Even though I didn’t become a “rock hound” that instant, I grew up knowing how all those shiny museum gift shop rocks were made – even better, how erosion, friction and time can do amazing things. That may have been the beginning of me being a science snob, knowing how something works while any kid around me thought it was a mystery. I build several versions in my pre-teens including a wind-powered version that used Lego gears to turn a plastic pill bottle full of oil, sand and rocks. Its blew off our roof within a months time but it kinda worked. Forty years later and the desired to buy a tumbler has still been there but always on the other side of the justifiable budget line.