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 basement shack 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 conversation. 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. 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 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
"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
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 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, 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 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. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're
out? I need to buy some marbles."