Friday, January 7, 2011

A Thousand Marbles

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 kitchen 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 could only give you every once and a
while.

I turned the volume up on my radio in order to listen to a
Saturday morning talk show. I heard an older sounding chap with
a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be
in the broadcasting business himself.

He was talking about "a thousand marbles" to someone named
"Tom."

I was intrigued and sat down 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 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 my workshop next to the radio. 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 talk to you Tom, I hope you spend more time with
your loved ones, and I hope to meet you again someday.

Have a good morning!"



You could have heard a pin drop when he finished.

Even the show's moderator didn't have anything to say for a few
moments. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about.

I had planned to do some work that morning, then go to the
gym. 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."


~Author Unknown~