Gut Rumbles
 

December 17, 2003

skipping rocks

One of the skills I honed as a boy was the ability to skip a rock on the water. I learned to do it at an early age in Kentucky, and I was really chapped when we moved to Savannah and there WERE NO ROCKS around here. Boys like throwing rocks. In this flat, sandy area of the country, you can't find anything to throw except dirt-clods and "brick-bats," a Southern term that I never heard before I came to Georgia.

A brick-bat is a chunk of concrete, a shard of brick or a piece of a cinder-block, which are about the only forms of rock you'll find around here. They are no good for skipping on the water because they are rough and irregular in shape.

A good skipping rock is smooth and round and flat. You discover them on the riverbank or in the shallow water, where they probably lay for centuries before you found them. Get a pocket-full and go down to a quiet place in the creek. Fling them sidearm, with lots of spin, then count the number of skips they make off the water before they go under and sink. If you're really good, you can skip one clean to the bank on the other side.

Surface tension on the water and a flat, spinning rock make a good team.

My boy knows how to skip a rock because I taught him up at Clarke Hill Lake, where we once vacationed every summer. He knows the right kind of rock when he sees one and he was getting pretty good the last time I saw him skipping them across the lake. "Look at THAT, Daddy! It skipped EIGHT TIMES!"

Skipping rocks. It doesn't take much to enterain a young boy.

Comments

Up home (s IL), we had an expression, "More fun than skipping rocks."

One of Andy Griffirh's pre- Mayberry/Face in The Crowd recordings mentioned, "smooth, slippery, flat, round river rocks." Pretty well describes it as did you, too.

Posted by: Larry on December 17, 2003 08:42 AM

Vacationing at Clark Hill Reservoir? It must have changed since I left Augusta 32 years ago. I still have pictures of my grand dad working on the dam that created that lake.

Posted by: rivlax on December 17, 2003 09:51 AM

And think of the advantages: no batteries needed; rocks do not wear out or break under normal play conditions; no incomprehensible instruction sheet or rules to learn; no assembly required; an individual sport; and it does not require a team with expensive equipment. The perfect Christmas gift -- skipping rocks.

Posted by: Ms Anna on December 17, 2003 04:10 PM

It's called playing "Ducks and Drakes."
Tcha! Like checkers is called "draughts."

Posted by: Ric on December 17, 2003 07:53 PM

I used to play Skipping Stones with my Dad; we used to live on an island 30 minutes from downtown Auckland (New Zealand). I recall my record was 10 skips in a row. Thanks for bringing back some golden memories.

Posted by: Fi on December 17, 2003 08:14 PM

I loved skipping rocks.

I was taught by my dad how to skip rocks and i taught my son.


Skipping rocks...great memories of innocent days gone by.

Posted by: bleeding brain on December 18, 2003 12:08 AM

I loved skipping rocks.

I was taught by my dad how to skip rocks and i taught my son.


Skipping rocks...great memories of innocent days gone by.

Posted by: bleeding brain on December 18, 2003 12:08 AM

I loved skipping rocks.

I was taught by my dad how to skip rocks and i taught my son.


Skipping rocks...great memories of innocent days gone by.

Posted by: bleeding brain on December 18, 2003 12:09 AM

Ooops .. sorry about that

Posted by: bleeding brain on December 18, 2003 12:09 AM

Doesn't take that much to entertain a grown man, either. I still enjoy skipping rocks, and I'm not far behind your venerable age (50 last August).

Posted by: wheels on December 18, 2003 05:37 PM

Hi...Im just surfed in and want to say hello!
Regards George


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