The Spring Birthday 2021 Trip, Part 7 of 8: Nature and Other Valuables

Indiana purple flower.

Longtime MCC readers may recall I’m not great at identifying pretty flowers. This might be a thistle? the ones in Skyrim are flatter.

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…

Lest I fixate too much on the Bob Ross Experience, Minnetrista has more to offer the Muncie community and guests like us. Their welcome center has rotated exhibits since our last visit in 2014, but their springtime outdoor decor game remains competitive.

Indiana purple flower.

Same grounds, different pretty purple flower.

Indiana flower garden.

I am NOT Googling all of these. Score yourself one point for each flower you recognize. Whoever has the most points wins the honorary title of Outdoors Overlord.

Minnetrista wishing well.

Special features in their garden path include a wishing well purchased in Venice by the Ball family, the local benefactors whose name pops up here and again around town.


An alternate view of “Beverly Stucker Precious’ sculpture Catalyst”, which we caught last time.

Minnetrista garden pool.

Gentle pool for contemplating and meditating and so forth.

tadpole sign.

But what seems a tiny pool to us will soon host a whole new tadpole neighborhood, the sign promises.

Meanwhile indoors, their welcome center hosted a temporary exhibit showcasing a selection of sundries chosen from Minnetrista’s own collection by their Director of Special Projects, soon to retire after three decades with the institution. Many museums have far more collectibles and artifacts than they can display at any given time. It felt like a three-dimensional “overlooked gems” listicle.

Wendell Wilkie stickers.

Campaign stickers for Indiana’s own Wendell Wilkie, who was born and raised in nearby Elwood, and who ran against FDR in the 1940 Presidential election.

glasses and jars.

Mandatory Ball family inclusion includes a selection of jars and other glassware, where they made much of their fortune back in the day.

shiny glassware.

Closeup of one of the shinier, more prismatic specimens.

jelly making kit!

What better way to fill your Ball jars than with a jelly making kit?

coin banks!

A collection of children’s coin banks that belonged to a local bank president. The fat one is modeled after Boss Tweed and stuffs your coin in his pocket.

Woman's robe.

For the fashion mavens out there, this robe came from the closet of a longtime Muncie resident.

silk top hat.

For the gentlemen, a silk top hat like in ancient films. This one was the property of one Otto Carmichael, noted early 20th-century journalist and onetime publisher of the Detroit Free Press.

pith helmet!

On the opposite end of the haberdashery spectrum is an old USPS pith helmet.

It's a gun.

A country doctor’s revolver.

Remington's Coming Through the Rye.

A bronze recast of Frederic Remington’s 1902 classic “Coming Through the Rye”. Curiously, we’ve run across these four horsemen before in a different size and state.

Midwest in the Media!

Other vitrines and displays in the lobby are devoted to history, local affairs, racism, pride, and here’s me gratuitously gravitating toward the one with Parks and Rec on it.

The Crown tea set!

I bought myself a couple of Bob Ross decorations at their gift shop, and was so tempted by this cute tea set starring the first two Queen Elizabeths from Netflix’s The Crown. I’m holding out for the complete trifecta after Imelda Staunton takes her turn in 2022.

To be concluded! 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 6: Tangents from the Joy of Painting
Part 8: Mondo Muncie Miscellany

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