Monday, June 24, 2019

Milliron Monday: The Parking Lot - Peacocks 6 24 19

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Above, Dr. Smith's Milliron Clinic, Athens, Ohio. 
June 16, 2017Photo courtesy Joy Miller-Upton

Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; 
peacocks and lilies for instance.
John Ruskin

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

The Milliron Clinic parking lot holds lots of memories for so many people. The era of the peacocks - those beautiful menacing birds that monitored the parking lot; nosing into other people's business, flaunting their proud disposition, and possibly thinking of flogging you as you made the trek to the clinic door. 

The peacocks were the guardians of the outer limits – the parking lot. Pete had acquired peacock chicks as a barter for vet services. “I had nothing to do with the peacocks,” Jody, Pete’s widow, makes clear. “One time Gil Whalen’s killer turkey attacked a peacock. The peacock went away for a while. It came back and would tromp around on the roof of our farmhouse, on our metal roof. You could imagine the noise. 

“Another time, one of the peacocks flew off the hill to the clinic parking lot, swooping and calling. Pete was working on a paint mare that was being a real jerk, jumping around, being difficult. When the peacock swooped down into the parking lot where the horse was standing, the horse just froze. The horse never moved again until Pete finished vetting it. 

“The last peacock was stolen when someone broke into the clinic and lifted eleven dollars, some rabies vaccine, and J.B., short for Jaunty Bird, the last of the peacocks. The night of the robbery, we could see the tire tracks up our hill to the farmhouse. We could also see by the scratches on the inside of our kitchen door that Puff, my Belgian sheepdog, had greeted the burglars with growls and barking. They stole J.B., we weren’t upset. J.B. had already cost Pete plenty when the bird decided to roost on top of a client’s car and scratched it, requiring Pete to pay for a new paint job. After that, I said, ‘No more peacocks!’”  

Hearing a peacock (listen below) in the heart of southeastern Ohio made you feel like you were on an exotic island – a scene from Hatari or The Jungle Book, maybe Mowgli was somewhere nearby. But, alas, it was just the Milliron Clinic parking lot, where peacocks once roamed. 

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

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