A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement
with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the
morning paper in the other. 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. 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 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 roundup 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.
75 year Old Man, this is K9NZQ, clear and going
ART, 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."