Passport-stamp collecting is somewhat equivalent to the Louis Vuitton/Coach/Gucci/Dooney & Bourke lettered-purse affair. Both are colorful things that fancy types want to show off, and both try to prove something. Only one succeeds -- that's right, the passport stamp. It shows everyone just where you've been, no faking, and now these ink stamps aren't just for signifying foreign countries and national parks. The Missouri State Parks Passport Program has its own system of inscription for the ten state parks and historic sites along the trail of 2004's most-talked-about couple -- not Justin and Janet but, you guessed it, Lewis & Clark. Of course.
Just call 1-800-334-6946 (1-800-379-2419 TDD), visit select state parks and historic sites, or go to www.mostateparks.com and click on "Parks Programs" to get your very own authentic Missouri passport. These special books will cost you $4.95 plus tax and shipping and handling, but that's much less than the federal passport (or that handbag). Think of all the fun you'll have traipsing from the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site in St. Charles, west along the Missouri River (either by foot or highway, your call), through Arrow Rock State Historic Site and onward and upward to the oxbow-shape lake Clark mentioned in his journals (Lewis and Clark Lake in Rushville; it probably wasn't always named that). And you get a fashionable patch when you visit all ten. -- Alison Sieloff
South by Midwest
Grow your own kudzu!
The prevalence of beer, red brick and Germanic surnames obscures the truth about St. Louis: We're as much a southern city as a northern one, as much Memphis as Milwaukee. The Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard) brings that genteel tradition to your literal backyard with the Southern Living Magazine Gardening School, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dr. Richard Ludwig, Southern Living's garden specialist, will demonstrate how to prepare, plant and maintain colorful annuals and perennials. He'll reveal ways to personalize your garden with herbs, greens and "water features." The only thing he won't do is pour you a mint julep and light your cigar. ($40 or $35 for Garden members; see www.mobot.org or call 314-577-0254 to register.) -- Jason Toon
Irish Eyes Are Blackened
St. Louis hurling resumes "play"
Modern man is soft. He sits at a computer or behind a steering wheel all day, his muscles congealing into toneless pouches of jelly. Craving the brute physicality of his forebears, he pantomimes through phony "extreme sports," trivial stunts devised by marketing experts. The ancient sport of hurling demands far more blood and sacrifice. A frenzied crowd of men hammer the baseball-like "sliotar" around a soccer-size field with "hurleys" (blunt Ice Age ancestors of the hockey stick). As a new hurling season commences, the St. Louis Hurling Association (www.stlhurling.com; 314-664-3134) invites beginners to test their fortitude on the field of honor. Do the few true men left among you dare answer the call? Practices are Saturday afternoons at 2 p.m. at Parkway Northeast Middle School (I-270 at Ladue Road), and "hit-arounds" take place every Tuesday night around 6 p.m. at Tower Grove Park (4256 Magnolia Avenue). -- Jason Toon
Our Friends, Herbs
We all need a little variety in our lives, a little more flavor, and what better way to get it than herbs? Several varieties of basil and tarragon, plus parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme will be available at the Webster Groves Herb Society spring plant sale held at First Congregational Church of Webster Groves (10 West Lockwood at Elm avenues) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more info consult www.wgherbs.org. Herb smokers, check out See/Be Seen. -- Guy Gray