Monday, December 22, 2008

3900 Marbles

This time of year there are a lot of emails with all the stories that circulate year after year but I hadn't heard this one before and it really touched me so I wanted to share it.

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's

the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe

it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the

first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming

cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What

began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons

that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham
radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the

way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal

and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be

in the broadcasting business. He was telling whom-ever he was

talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued

and stopped to listen to what he had to say

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure

they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and

your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to

work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad

you missed your daughter's "dance recital" he continued. ;"Let me

tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities." And

that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The

average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live

more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which

is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their

entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this

in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through

over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays." "I got to thinking that if I

lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left

to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble

they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up

1000 marbles I took them home and put them inside a large, clear

plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear."

"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown

it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused

more on the really important things in life. There's nothing like

watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your

priorities straight."

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and

take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very

last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until

next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the

one thing we can all use is a little more time."

"It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your

family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75

Year old Man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed

off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to

work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up

with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon

honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast." "What brought this

on?" she asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special, it's just been a

long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey,

can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles.

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