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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, 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 volume up on my radio, and 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."

"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 75 yrs
I know, some live more and some live less
but on average, folks live about 75 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."

"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 75, 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 with 1000 marbles.
I took them home and put them inside a large
clear plastic container 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."



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