Friday, 4 March 2011

I Am Losing My Marbles

I have not been on the blog for a couple of days, not that I had forgotten or anything like that, it was simply a case of other things getting in the way.

The first thing of course is the need to dig my large garden plot. I have this week spent ten hours digging and have managed to dig two thirds of the ground.

Other things have gone to make this an exciting and strange week. I sold three paintings, simple, but with me nothing ever is. When I went to collect two of the paintings from where they were hanging and replace them, it seems somehow I had managed to sell one twice.  Then I discovered I had misplaced, lost is probably a better word, my spectacles.  And so it has gone on, one thing after another.

I was telling my friends about this. One of them laughed out loud and said, “Ralph, you’re losing your marbles.”  It is an age thing indeed, I am sure.

Where does that lovely saying come from? Well here is one contender.

An old man relates the following event. In telling it I will try to get the Math correct.

The old man began.

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, of 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 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 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 "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. 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 round-up 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 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 God has blessed me with a little extra time to be with my loved ones...... "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," I said. " It has 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."
I was actually thinking about going out today and buying some marbles, if for no other reason but to replace the ones I am losing.
Have a wonderful day and weekend.

This blog is linked to my other.  Bridging The gap


  1. Hah Ralph! That last line is priceless. Now I must say, will you keep a look out for mine too? They have certainly gotten off to somewhere...?

  2. Mine rolled off under the bureau..time to retrieve them! Great story Ralph...My Saturday will be spent with breakfast with a dear friend and then we go to meet Amy the German Shepherd. Then home to hang out making little things with a dog at my feet....Yay..what I consider a good Saturday. I prefer not to count them...because I love Saturdays and early Sunday mornings...

  3. I love this story. Hmmm, I wonder what my husband would think if I gave him a big jar of marbles!

  4. Great story! The older I get the more 75 doesn't sound very old at all. I love this painting you included in today's post. You sell a lot of paintings! I think it is because your work is "sincere"!