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
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
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
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 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.
A friend sent this to me, so I to you, my
And so, as one smart bear once said...
"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a
hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you."
Winnie the Pooh.