I was shuffling toward the basement
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 counting your marbles.
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 whoever 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." He said.
"Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital."
"Let me tell you something Tom," He continued.
"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 arithmetic.
The average person lives about seventy-five years. "Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52
and I came up with 3,900 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 of a large, clear plastic container.
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 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 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,
make your Saturdays count for something and I hope to meet you again here on the band.
73 Old Man, this is 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 go fishing with some of my buddies this morning, and then
I was going to work on the antenna so I could listen to the game.
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.
Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out?
I need to buy some marbles..."