The older I get, the more I enjoy
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 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 to what he had to
"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.
"No, 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
right here in the sack 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 focus 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
"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 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..."