The pawpaw's stamp of approval
A fan of the native fruit makes a postal proposal -- a stamp with the pawpaw on it.
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“For centuries, Americans – from the Indians to the settlers, from George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, from the members of the Lewis and Clark expedition to today's devotees – have harvested and relished pawpaws on late September or early October days. Some consume pawpaws right after being picked, while others puree the meat and fold it into the batter for cakes, cookies and quick breads or blend it into custards, ice cream and smoothies, the last with a healthy splash of dark rum, if your please. Pawpaws are also part of American folk culture, along with crazy quilts, tadpoles in Mason jars, and classic folk tunes such as "Shenandoah," "Barbara Allen," and, of course, "Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch." Pawpaws belong on back porches on golden September afternoons, at suddenly conceived Indian summer picnics and at the family dinner table after Sunday services with the first hints of autumn in the morning air. Pawpaws belong to the world of red and black-checked wool shirts, dungarees and grandpa's fedora, and where children still read and dream about Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Mike Fink, as well as Tom, Huck and Jim. And some varieties of pawpaws are named for some of America's most storied rivers: Allegheny, Potomac, Wabash, Susquehanna, and Shenandoah.Skip to next paragraph
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"Hold a booklet of current-issue "forever stamps" in front of you, and instead of a monotonous array of Liberty Bells, imagine an alternating two-stamp depiction of pawpaws, the first focusing on the deep purple flowers with foliage, the second on a cluster of ripened fruit with one in the foreground cut open to reveal the subtle yellow meat and the chocolate-colored seeds: One can almost smell the tropical scent and savor the unique texture of the fruit. One might also well wish it were still necessary to lick a stamp.
"Asimina triloba, the North American pawpaw, has been, and still is, a part of the texture of American folk culture, in food, in music and in history. Pawpaws are found along ridges and in the shadow of mountains, and along creeks and streams that empty into rivers that are part of the land itself, as the pawpaw is of the land itself, inseparable from the land, America."
Surely even a Washington bureaucrat would be touched by this.
What you can do
To keep informed of developments in this process, e-mail email@example.com. To add your support, after Labor Day send a postcard to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee c/o Stamp Development, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300, Washington, DC 20260-3501.
What else I’m into this week: Our new puppy, a Bernese Mountain Dog. [See second photo at left; click on arrow at right base of first photo.]
Craig Summers Black, The Transplanted Gardener, is an award-winning garden writer and photographer who blogs regularly at Diggin' it. You can read more of what he's written by clicking here. You may also follow Craig’s further adventures in gardening, music, and rural life on Twitter.