The Orrery in the above photo has been in our home for about 8 years. My oldest son gave it to my husband and me one Christmas. It started out in the living room then migrated to a small tonsu in the dining room and finally when we remodeled our office/computer room into a library/reading/computer room, we moved it to a credenza sitting below our wall map of the world. Somehow during the last move we lost Mercury. We looked everywhere. We even went through the vacuum bags for the next few times. It was no use--Mercury was gone. The little wire stub that the tiny stone planet had been attached to completed its battery-driven orbits conspicuously empty. It's been that way for some time. Finding a new Mercury just never made it to the top of our "To Do" list. Still everytime someone came to our house and asked what that contraption was, we'd say nothing about the fact that our little solar system was missing a planet.
Last night I was in my art room working on some Art Trading Cards for April's trade meeting when Bob came in to find me chasing loose beads that had spilled out onto an uneven foam board and were rolling everywhere. He helped me retrieve them and as he returned some to their plastic container, one small clear bead remained in his hand. Suddenly both of us had the same idea: that bead was the perfect size for Mercury. Twenty minutes later our little plastic planet--mounted on its wire stub--was twirling around in orbit with its polished stone co-planets. Our solar system is once again complete.