|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 tea 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 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 "Kelly."
I was intrigued and sat down to listen to what he had to say.
"Well, Kelly, 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 woman 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 Kelly, 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
"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 out 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 Kelly, I'm getting to
the important part." "It took me until I was fifty-four 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 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
"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 Kelly, 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 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.
Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out?
I need to buy some marbles."