If you've read my blog you know I have had a tumultuous past with men named Rob, even as recently as this last week ... oh... sweet, adorable 24 year old Rob...And I spent the entire day after Thanksgiving watching a marathon of Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine (have you SEEN his arms?).
Roberts haunt me.
The summer my father died, Bob Ross became a consistent male presence in my life. Every day at 3pm J.S. and I would talk on the phone during The Joy of Painting. And when we'd sign off (this happened for years not just that summer) we'd repeat Bob's well wishes of "Happy Painting and God Bless."
That was also the last year I attended Vacation Bible School. I LOVED Vacation Bible School and that year was probably my favorite. One project was to come up with a slogan for a bumper sticker- after our ironic viewing of the OH GOD! movies, J. and I submitted THINK GOD! for our sticker. I was sure ours was most clever... but another group had "SIN HAPPENS." Way funnier.
We also made shrinky dinks that summer. Remember when you could draw on a piece of plastic... bake it in the oven and TA DA! Magic! It was a tiny rendering of your original work! I think most kids drew crosses or something related to the material. J. drew Rainbow Head (Played by Christopher Walken on Saturday Night Live) and I drew Bob Ross. We were 12 and clearly... very hilarious. These shrinky dinks were then made into pins which we stylishly affixed to our jean jackets, etc.
I have no idea where mine is now... but I drew Bob as a skinny guy in a green t shirt... Bob's afro was mainly just a big brown circle around his head and his skin was yellow so... he looked jaundiced. They didn't make flesh colored markers in 1990.
Later that summer PBS announced that Bob Ross would be appearing 30 miles away in SPRINGFIELD MISSOURI! AT MICHAELS! the sky opened and heavenly sunshine came through. Happy Days are HERE AGAIN! J. and I would meet our idol. Screw you, New Kids on the Block!
Before I go further I should mention, Bob was the first in a long string of celebrities I've embarrassed myself in front of (all of Radiohead, Dave Schools from Widespread Panic, Cheryl and Kim from Dancing with the Stars, Brad Pitt... but I'll save those stories for another day.)
Bob was a ladies man, let's face it. There were women EVERYWHERE. And they were fawning all over him! He looked exactly like he did on the show. And was just as pleasant and kind as you might imagine.
J. and I arrived and waited in line with all the other ladies, and when it was finally my turn I stood next to him wearing... My Bob Ross shrinky dink pin. What happened next was probably the first moment I realized that I could be funny for people outside of my family and friends...
Bob Ross: What a beautiful lady on your pin!
Kacee: THAT'S YOU BOB!!!!!!!
Laughter and applause from the crowd. Sheepish smiling and nodding from Bob Ross. Invisible pat on my back from a million angels.
Like most adolescents I was terribly skinny, had bad skin, and hadn't quite grown into my hair. But Bob autographed my piece of white notebook paper "To Kacee, a beautiful young lady."
That day will always be such an important part of my life. I was just talking to my boss about how we affect others lives in ways we may never know... maybe just saying hello or giving a compliment could turn someone's day around.