Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
For the past several years my wife Anne and I have made a tradition of going somewhere — anywhere but home — for each of our birthdays. Last year my birthday trip was among the billions of traditions ruined by the pandemic, all of which paled in significance to the millions of lives lost (and still counting). This year is a different story. Anne and I have each received our pairs of Pfizer shots and reached full efficacy as of April 24th. This past Friday and Saturday the two of us drove out of Indianapolis and found a few places to visit in our eminently imitable road-trip fashion…
The tour of the original house where PBS legend Bob Ross filmed his cult-classic instructional/mediational series The Joy of Painting up in Muncie was the centerpiece of my birthday weekend, but creativity continued to surround us as we left the Lucius L Ball Home and explored more of the Minnetrista grounds. We didn’t have to walk any farther than the Ball House’s backyard to find inspiration and tranquility, much of it geared toward kids who might prefer an augmented outdoor setting to indoor history.
Next door to the Ball House is Oakhurst Home and Garden, likewise formerly owned by the namesakes of Ball State University. On its second floor was a gallery of paintings by Bob Ross as well as by other folks he inspired, including his own station manager. How many TV stars can say they inspired their bosses to follow in their footsteps? Well, maybe Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards for two weeks, but otherwise, that’s a rare feat. Such was the power of Bob.
Unfortunately due to copyright issues, photos of the Oakhurst gallery were forbidden. The rest of the place was fair game. The Balls who last resided there were big on literacy and left a fair cross-section of their library inside for display, along with a selection of old-timey artifacts from the Good Ol’ Days.
To be continued! Other chapters in this very special MCC miniseries:
Part 1: The Animal Refugees
Part 2: Muscatatuck Everlasting
Part 3: Had Myself a Ball in a Small Town
Part 4: Donut Turn Your Back on Family
Part 5: Maximum Bob Ross
Part 7: Nature and Other Valuables
Part 8: Mondo Muncie Miscellany