Saturday, May 8, 2010

Smokey and Magic



I think Traci was trying to help the kids get a perspective on volunteering and serrvice when she brought home our new little friend, Smokey. Smokey, a pomeranian dog, had recently suffered a fractured leg and the owners were unable to help him rehabilitate or afford care for him. He was taken to a shelter after having a cast placed on his foreleg. He was distraught in the kennels at the shelter and the organization running the shelter feared his recovery and healing would have been slowed by the stress and chaos in the shelter. Traci stepped in and volunteered our family to provide a stable home for the dog until he recovered.

We pondered the nature of his injury, how had he broken his leg? We postulated and soon enough a possible answer came to us. It seems Smokey hated human feet and this would prove to be his undoing in the Miller household. He attacked my toes through my shoes the first day he was with us. He quietly rested on the living room floor and as I walked past him he threw a terrific fit growling, barking and biting in every direction at once. He looked like he was giving a brief interpretation on the Tasmanian devil of Looney Tunes fame. My shoes held fast protecting my toes and I stepped back in a somewhat bewildered shock and ire. I held my foot in check from kicking and wondered if he had displayed this behavior for his previous owners who were less restrained causing both his fractured leg and his immediate eviction. A swift kick at this small dog and he would not have had a chance.

The plan was for Smokey to recover with us for the ten weeks it would require his leg to heal then be sent out for adoption through the kennel organization. Traci and Smokey had developed a special bond and they spent several hours a day together, snuggling and playing. Smokey had failed to extend any such attempt at friendship toward anyone else in the family. He bit several of our guests' toes (the toes were inside shoes), our neighbor's son, and the evicting, aggressive nibble on our youngest child's bare foot. Sophie had walked past him and he Tasmanian Devilled her foot leaving bruises and scratches. Her foot would heal but Smokey would have to leave our house. I suspect his dispassion for feet has always been and always would be his one fatal flaw.


We didn't find the magic we sought in caring for Smokey so we went to the Magic House, a children's science museum in St. Louis, Missouri. The Magic House was built from a house converted to a museum and expanded to include a day's worth of activities for children young and old. There were rooms filled with hands on stuff to do with themes about recycling, renewable energy, gravity, light, electricity, human physiology, physics and history.

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Shane and Sophia Evans worked to find a new solution for energy storage in the form of batteries while Savannah and her friend Laura practiced driving a Smart car.





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Shane took a look under the car to see what needed to be done. He called in several of the other people with us for a second opinion. His cousin Anne decided the exhaust system was in good shape and she moved on to other activities.





The wheel of chimes was irresistable. The ringing tones emitted from the spinning wheel were magic. Uncle Tom couldn't resist clanging the wheel. Sophia just wanted to catch a few fish.
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We took a break for lunch eating PBJ's out in the garden under the gazebo. The finishing touch of the meal was provided by our friend Jeff. He had brought a watermelon. The only way the kids could eat the watermelon was if they broke it open first. Everyone took turns being blindfolded, spun three times and released in the general direction of the watermelon wielding a long stick meant to split the melon open. It was entertaining to have the person wander over and just nearly hit the target. Some were closer than others. The crowd cheered and tried directing the players. Some people helped direct toward the melon while other people shouted directions away from the melon. We started the activity with just our little cluster of people and eventually drew a small crowd of onlookers as an entire scout troop finished lunch and joined in the cheering and misdirection.



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Jeff finally ended the game with a solid thunk into the watermelon and everyone jumped in and quickly ate up the prize.




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