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Saturdays

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KU4MY

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Sorry if this is off topic or doesn’t belong here, but I thought that some of you might get something out of this. Things seem to have changed quite a bit here on RR, no chat lounge, etc., so if it's not appropriate, I will understand if it's not posted.

The text that follows is a forwarded email received from a fellow ham named Tom and it’s about yet another Tom and a gentleman he was fortunate enough to have a QSO with and my reply to the Tom that I know. It does seem that I had received this from someone else years ago, but today it meant something to me.


Subject: Saturdays

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 whomever 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.'

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.


<<callsign removed>> - Tom

True words of wisdom indeed Tom and that have really hit home. Now I am off of 12 hour shifts, where I actually had some time off, well, a lot of time off and never seemed to have a moment to spare, I am on 8 hour night shift. Now that I am on 8 hour night shift, I feel less tired both before and after work now I have had a few days to adjust.

Yesterday I pulled a 'stay up about 27 hours' marathon, during which time I went for a job interview that I had after being up right at 24 hours, for a second job loading trucks in Spartanburg for 4 1/2 hours per day. Why? The money, something that seems to elude us due to mismanaging our personal finances. Yeah, it really is that bad, but, Sheryl, Dorey and I have each other. I may have to do this job for a while, maybe a considerable while and every moment of time spent doing it will be deducted directly from the new found time that I am enjoying with Sheryl and Dorey. Sheryl is not innocent of this either as you know. Her weekend crew schedule has become a constant quest for overtime which now keeps her at work 6 or 7 days or nights a week.

Are we happy? Generally speaking, yes, but the constant stress and worry over the apparent diminishing available funds in an attempt to make ends meet through ever increasing gas prices and such has almost become unbearable to us both. There has to be a better way and it's a shame that finances and financial obligations must take such a front burner priority, over not only our family, but also over friends and time that we should be able to use as 'down time', time for ourselves and our interests, like amateur radio, eating out, shopping, what ever.

I don't usually air my dirty laundry for all to see Tom, but, after sitting down today, this Saturday morning with my first cup of coffee as I enjoy my quiet time and considered going upstairs to the hamshack, but decided to check email first and reading this gem as my first email of the day, I felt I had to thank you, because of it's timeliness based on the day, the similarities in my life as well as the general mess we have gotten ourselves in as compared to the message of another poor Tom that you have shared with us. I will be forwarding this one immediately, likely to many we share on our email lists too. Consider this fair warning to all who may read this, if you are NOT in the same mess that my family and I are in, do all you can to stay out of it, those that are in it, do as I am trying to and find a way to get sorted out as quickly as you can because anyway you look at it, life is too short and was never intended to be spent enslaved to money.

Thanks again Tom, you are a true friend and one I miss as my time for myself quickly approaches 'zero'. My marbles left in my imaginary jar are also fast approaching zero, my best estimates is it now contains a little over 1,300........ minus one for today.
 
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