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Get Directions to Lakeland Table Tennis AssociationThe Villages Local Weather
Lakeland Table Tennis Association
Ray Spann-Information Officer/Webmaster
(352) 600-0864
1039 Aloha Way
The Villages, Florida

Note: At the last table tennis tournament, several players asked if we would consider bringing back the old "WORDS OF WISDOM" articles and whatnot. So, due to popular request, here is another one. I suppose each time we have a tournament or any table tennis event that provides us a time to meet old friends and make new ones, we should consider how our sport can be the vehicle to promote friendship and the enjoyment of life. HAVE FUN AND ENJOY LIFE WITH TABLE TENNIS. Now for the article...

A RED MARBLE                                                                                          

During the waning years of the depression in a small southeastern Idaho
community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller's roadside stand for farm-fresh
produce as the season made it available.

Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used,

One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I
noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean,
hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my
potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a
pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't
help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy
next to me.

"Hello Barry, how are you today?"

"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas ... sure look

"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"

"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."

"Good. Anything I can help you with?"

"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."

"Would you like to take some home?"

"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."

"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"

"All I got's my prize marble here."

"Is that right? Let me see it."

"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."

"I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go
for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"

"Not 'zackley .....but, almost."

"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this
way let me look at that red marble."

"Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller."

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a
smile she said: "There are two other boys like him in our community, all
three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them
for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their red
marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and
he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one,

I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time
later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot the story of this man, the
boys and their bartering.

Several years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently
I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I
was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing
that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany

Upon our arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives
of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us
in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two
wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts ... very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed, by her
husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke
briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes
followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed
his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the
mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the
story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes glistening she took my hand
and led me to the casket. "Those three young men, who just left, were the
boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things
Jim "traded" them. Now, at last when Jim could not change his mind about color
or size... they came to pay their debt. "We've never had a great deal of
the wealth of this world," she confided, "but, right now, Jim would consider
himself the richest man in Idaho."

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased
husband. Resting underneath were three, exquisitely shined, red marbles.

Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life
is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our

I wish You a day of Peace, Balance and Happiness.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate
them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.

The next time you play that special game of table tennis,
take a moment to consider how great it is to have such great table tennis friends!

You may contact us at

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