Marbles and Saturdays

Lately, I have been thinking about how I use my time and have been debating about some changes but an email from a friend made me consider things a little more clearly.  I have been the treasurer for the WV Beekeepers Association for about a year now and it has become a task that takes a good bit of time and has not been especially enjoyable.  I resigned from that position today.  It has nothing to do with the organization, the people, the work of the group, etc.  I just don’t like worrying about other people’s money.  I don’t like calling people on the phone.  I don’t like going to Saturday meetings.  Instead, I am reclaiming a few more of my Saturdays.

More changes are coming though I am not as clear on the form of those changes. 

I never forward emails like this so it is odd to me that this one stood out.  I have no idea if any of this story is true but it made me think for some reason (sometimes it seems like I don’t do that very often).  Anyhow, here is the email:

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 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 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 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.


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