Written May 2014

Magic Show and Guide Dog Talk


Leonard A. McHugh

What a wonderful feeling. It was almost 19 years since my last public appearance for a magic performance. The last show, November 21, 1995 was the night before the surgery that left me paralyzed for a while. With limited use of my arms I did not think that I could ever do any magic again. A few years ago with the help of Gary Barker Sr. of The Magic Emporium I started with a few illusions for my church picnic and built up from there. The talk and show was held at Christmas Pines campgrounds . I first spoke a little about my Freedom Guide Dog, Toga, explaining the no petting when in harness rule. Then I removed Togaís harness to show how she instantly changes from work mode to play mode. Karen then took her around the room so that the kids and parents could pet her if they wished.

I then started the magic show. It went extremely well. I always try to present with humor or a message. I did quite a few illusions with a Christian theme. There were a few that really got the audience attention. I also always try to put as much humor in my talks and shows. It helps to keep the audience attention. I have no idea what made me think of this one. Karen and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary next weekend on May 25. So I mentioned that we will celebrate our 40th anniversary next weekend. I promised Karen before we were married that we would have many magical evenings together. I then said I donít think that this is what she had in mind. I did get the response that I expected, some applause for our anniversary and a lot of laughter for the last part.

I used a lot of new illusions that I performed for the first time. I think that Karen was more nervous than I over using them. Near the end of the show, I talked to the kids. I explained if I can do this being blind and limited use of my arms that they can do anything that that they wish. I always called my magic Motivational Magic and hope that it motivates at least one individual in the audience.

I knew the owners and before the performance showed them some photographs of my woodworking. Clyde put them up front and told me that everyone should see them before they leave. For me, that was quite a compliment since he was a finished carpenter. He was shocked when I told him that I feel safer using my table saw than letting a sighted friend use it. I explained that sighted people take things for granted and I cannot afford too. After the show, so many came up to tell me how much they enjoyed it. There were also a lot of positive comments on my wood working. Dorrie was looking at my web page before the show. She wants Karen to have a copy of the poem that I wrote describing the parts of her plant table and what they each mean to me. I will try to print it on the back of that photograph.

At the end when I put Togaís harness back on her, I asked the kids if they can pet her. They all yelled NO. After everything was packed up, we went back to the camp store for some ice cream. One of the kids came in and did not try to pet Toga because she was in harness. I am sure that these individuals will remember the rules.

The illusion that had the most impact was my Bible. I talked a little about some of the Bible stories. And that God created the earth, water, wind and fire. I mentioned the burning bush and several other references of fire. I told them that I often visualize that and opened my Bible. Flames about six inches high came out of the book. You should have heard the crowd. There was a pastor in the group. Later he talked to me and said that he could come up with some great messages using my book.

And here is the poem that I wrote for Karen when I gave her the plant stand. To Karen with Love,
I am a closet romantic, meaning that I often have warm thoughts that I just canít seem to be able to say. When I was designing and building this special table for you I had these thoughts:
The strong white oak legs remind me how supportive you have always been to me.
The gentle taper that I made on the legs reminds me of how gentle and kind you are.
The rich red cherry table top reminds me of all of your overflowing Love, color red is the color of the heart.
The classical three bead decorative design in the aprons reminds me of how classy you are.
The decorative Forget-Me-Not flower tile in the table top makes me think of all of the wonderful times that we had.
The warm color purple of the flowers is most appropriate since it is a blend of red and blue, or hot and cold, since you indeed are a very warm person. Purple is also the color of royalty again most fitting.

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