Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Thousand Marbles

I posted this back in December of 2006. I thought I would share it again.
“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 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.

Copyright © 1999, Jeff Davis, KE9V ( previously N9AVG )

(Start of Addition)
A friend sent this to me, so I to you, my friend.

And so, as one smart bear once said..."If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you." - Winnie the Pooh.

Pass this on to all of your FRIENDS, even if it means sending it to the person that sent it to you.

And if you receive this e-mail many times from many different people, it only means that you have many FRIENDS.

And if you get it but once, do not be discouraged for you will know that you have at least one good friend... And that would be ME.
(End of Addition)

Used with the permission of the author and these are the author’s comments –

The Author writes: I wrote this story a few years ago for the amateur community. In a very short time it became quite popular and was picked up by various email lists, newsgroups and 10,000 other Web sites.

It has since appeared in the Philadelphia Enquirer, Chicago Sun-Times and a dozen other newspapers. I've had friends and co-workers email it to me with "Author Unknown" on the bottom of it.

The "outside" world has sometimes modified it slightly to downplay the amateur radio in the story. You may see other variations but they all come from this one story.

In September 2000 Andrews McMeel Publishing asked me if I could turn the story into a book ... of a "thousand things to do on your day off" so I did. A Thousand Marbles will be on the bookshelves in June, 2001. I hope you pick up a copy. This has been an amazing adventure for me!

Jeffrey Davis, N9AVG


RUTH said...

What a coincidence...I saw this on a web site only yesterday...I must say it moved me greatly as I thought of those loved ones who never got use all their marbles. On the same site was this...
"A little boy and his father were walking on the mountains.Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain:"AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"Curiousthe little boy yells: "Who are you?"He receives the answer: "Who are you?"And then the boy screams to the mountain: "You're Stupid"The voice answers: "You're Stupid"Frustrated at the response, the boy screams: "I Hate You"He receives the answer: "I Hate You"
He looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?"The father smiles and says: "My son, pay attention."The man screams: "You are a champion!"The voice answers: "You are a champion!"The boy is surprised, but does not understand.Then the father explains: "People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want people to respect you, respect them.This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life. Life will give you back everything you have given to it.
Your Life is not a Coincidence. It's a Reflection of You!
Wishing you a happy and peaceful weekend

Jeni said...

I've read the "Thousand Marbles" piece several times before - never fails to blow me away though and I'd never seen it with the Amateur Radio aspect. Ruth's comment item though, I don't think I've ever seen it before. What a coincidence it is that just yesterday I attended a family reunion on my Dad's side, filled to the brim with so many family members I don't know, my kids, who went with me knew even fewer than I did and yet, we came away feeling soooo good -for having spent a beautiful Saturday getting TO KNOW some really fantastic folks I am proud to claim as being My Family! The atmosphere was charged with so much happiness and LOVE -really put some good use to one of my marbles I do believe and have hopes of doing lots more of the same. Also, the "echo" feature in Ruth's piece came through loud and strong with my family -smiles, friendly razzing, lots of hugs -yep, you get back what you give and usually when it is the good stuff, it comes back to you ten-fold.