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 study 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 whomever he was talking with something about
"a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen.
"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. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance
recital." He continued, "Let me tell you something Tom,
something that has helped me keep a good perspective
on 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 math. The average
person lives about 75 years. I know, some live more and some
live less, but on average, folks live about 75 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 55 years old to think
about all this in any detail"; he went on, "and by that time
I had lived through over 2800 Saturdays. I got to thinking
that if I lived to be 75, 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 of a large, clear plastic container. Every Saturday
since then, I have taken one marble out." "I found that by
watching the marbles diminish, I focus more on the important
things in life." There is 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. 75 year Old Man, this is
K9NZQ, clear and going, 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 Saturday together with the kids. Hey,
can we stop at a toy store while we're out?