Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has been busy signing bills and vetoing bills sent to his desk from the state legislature. With the stroke of his pen, he has made some folks happy, others not so happy.
He killed a bill that would allow motorcyclists to ride without helmets. Libertarian, born-to-be-wild, poppin’ wheelie, road-wizard types aren’t happy. They will continue the fight to keep the government out of their riding gear.
Parson did sign a bill to make the paw-paw tree the official state fruit tree for Missouri. Libertarian, grow-native, eat-more-strange-fruit types are happy. They are rejoicing. The fight for paw-paw respectability has been a long, hard slog, but its time has finally arrived.
Carol Davit, editor of the Missouri Prairie Journal, sent out an effusive press release praising the paw-paw fruit, which she says is a cross between a banana and a papaya. It is a delightful, sweet-flavored fruit to top ice cream desserts, or to cook in pies or a custard.
Davit goes on to praise St. Louis New City School students who wrote letters and lobbied the legislature to pass the paw-paw measure. They even went to Jefferson City to explain agricultural, conservation and economic benefits of paw-paw power in Missouri.
I suspect Parson’s OK of the paw-paw law was an easier call than telling Easy Riders they must continue to strap on their brain buckets. After all, who wants the Hell’s Angels upset with you?
In the case of the paw-paw law, what’s not to like? Who is going to oppose a law giving more visibility to that great, delectable fruit found in Missouri’s partially-shaded, deciduous woodlands?
Sure, there are some fruit snobs who dismiss the incredible, edible paw-paw fruit as merely “the poor man’s banana.” And raccoons and possums are not going to like all the paw-paw publicity. These rodents will not relish competing with Show-Me-State humans this fall for a chance to chow on the ripening bounty of our official state fruit tree.
In any case, besides rodents and fruit snobs, who could possibly oppose the governor signing paw-paw bill into law?
Me, that’s who!
My complaint stems from a terrible song called the “Paw-Paw Patch.” Back when I was in grade school, starting to get my Motown groove on, my sister came home from summer Girl Scout Camp with a very stupid song.
Hour-after-hour, day-after-day, I had to listen to Kathy sing, “Picking up paw-paws; put ‘em in a basket.” She repeated this refrain 50 times, only to break it up with, “Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.” Then, she’d start it all over.
I will not go after Parson with my paw-paw complaint. He will have his hands full with the brain bucket brigade.
Besides, I’m pleased he signed the bill to make Ozark Hellbenders the official state endangered species. To my knowledge, there are no obnoxious songs about our beloved Missouri “snot otter.”