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Subase Pearl Harbor Det 716 

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The Traveling Rock

By: ET1 William Lord USN/USNR (ret)

 

I'll never forget the time Steve Balsis, Tommy Fabricus and myself (Bill Lord) were sightseeing on Oahu. For some reason Steve got his kicks tormenting Tommy, and had been giving him a hard time all weekend. We stopped to look at the scenery and Steve found this almost perfectly round rock that must have weighed 35 to 40 pounds. It was about the size of a cantaloupe. Steve showed it to me and said "let's put this in Tommy's sea bag before he goes home". Now I, not being one to pass up a good practical joke said, "Let’s do it". So we put the rock in the trunk of the rental and covered it with something so Tommy wouldn't see it. When we got back to the Base we put the rock in one of my storage drawers where it remained until the day of departure. As I watched Tommy pack his sea bag I was hoping he would leave the room before he finished. But that was not meant to be, as he finished packing and put a padlock on the bag. I was disappointed that we were not able to pull the practical joke off. I then decided to take the rock down to the grounds (we were in the berthing up on the hill) because I didn't want to leave it in the room. As I am carrying it down the passageway Mike Dunham saw me and asked what the rock was all about. I told him the whole story and he said, "Let’s put it in Jim Doll's sea bag". Now as I said, I am not one to pass up on some fun so I agreed. We then took the rock to Jim's room and luck was with us as he was not there and there was his sea bag fully packed and open. Mike reached in the bag carefully and pulled out about one third of the contents and I put the rock inside. He then put the contents back in the bag being careful so it wouldn't appear that anyone had touched it. Tommy Kramer drove Jim and a couple others to the airport for the flight home. When he got back to the Base he told me everything that had happened at the airport. He said Jim was complaining about how heavy the bag was and started dragging it across the floor in the terminal. When he got up to the ticket counter to check his baggage and get his seating assignment he was informed that he would have to pay a surcharge as the bag was overweight. Jim not wanting to pay the surcharge asked the agent if he could avoid the additional charge by putting some of the contents in another container to lighten the bag. The clerk told him that would work and I believe she even provided him a box. Now here's Jim unpacking his bag at the counter and comes upon the rock. He lifted it out of the bag and had this look on his face that I know all of you have seen before, and everyone near him that was aware of what was going on busted out laughing.

 

Sam Wolvert took the rock and put it in his bag as his was light. It is my understanding that he still has it. I always wanted to get it to Jim's wife and have her without Jim knowing, put it back in his sea bag for a return trip to Hawaii. But to do so would have been a lot of work so it never happened. I would have felt bad if he would have had to pay the surcharge and would most likely have paid him back....NOT! 

 

Thus ends the story of the rock and the best practical joke I ever played on anyone in my lifetime. By the way, it was a long time before Jim ever found out who set him up.  

 

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