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1000 Marbles

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. I especially find the first few hours of a Saturday morning  most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, what began as a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. I’ll 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 great signal and a golden voice. He was telling whoever he was talking with something about “1000 marbles”. It was intriguing enough that I stopped to listen to what he had to say. The conversation went like this:

“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. It’s hard to believe a young person has to work 60-70 hours a week to make ends meet.”

He continued, “Let me tell you something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.” That’s when he began to explain his theory of “1000 marbles”. “You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years. Some live more, some less.. So, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 – that’s the number of Saturdays an average person has in their entire lifetime.”

“It took me until I was 55 years old to think about all this in any detail and by that time, I had lived through over 2800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be 75, I had only about 1000 Saturdays left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the ham shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I’ve 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.”

He said, “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.”

He went on, “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, signing out, 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 on working that morning. 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, while we’re out, can we stop at a toy store? I need to buy some marbles”.

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