My Broad Ripple pals did not respond to The Story of the Stump when it was posted. A few days later around the lunch table I asked if any of them knew the scoop. One enthusiastically talked about the various pictures she recalled but no one knew who is responsible and the whys behind it. One stated, that would be a great story for our BR paper. I sent the story idea and link to the post and didn’t hear a word other than the automated response from the Gazette.
Since then, this little berg or village has been besieged with gun violence and safety threats. Businesses, residents, and leaders ban together enforcing curfews and increased police presence. Broad Ripple and Indianapolis are wounded and bleeding over the murders of police officers. These are urgent needs that leaves most hearts heavy. And yet the Stump now wears a smiling sunshine face.
I like to look for the good these days, to recognize, capture and celebrate joy. I felt compelled to dig just a little. I stopped at the well loved home and property almost directly across the street from the stump in question. That lawn and home had a few displayed embellishments. There was evidence of whimsy at this home. I stopped, pulled into the drive , climbed the stairs and rang the bell. I stood nearly empty- handed to diminish the resident’s fear of a summons, evangelical visit or solicitation.
Handing her my business card explaining why I had stalked the stump, she relaxed and came out onto the porch. She looked across and said, “No, we don’t know who does it. I think it began out of concern for safety. After that I don’t know” She then became more animated as though sharing a well kept secret. “Whoever it is. (We think it’s a he) does this in the dark of night. We’ve watched in the evening and I get up by 5 in the morning and have never seen who paints it. Why he does it now? I have no idea.” We laughed together, shrugged and parted. A smiling Sunshine face is exactly what Broad Ripple needs. We all need to be a bit lighter, curious and a tad daring.