Look to the right and you'll see an opened case of Ozarka bottled water. My wife drinks that stuff because she doesn't like the tap water here. She didn't like the well water she drank in Texas either, so she bought Ozarka water there. When the doctor here told her that she wasn't drinking enough water, she went out and found Ozarka for sale here at the CVS drugstore. After a few days, I noticed the packaging. As you can see in the open case pictured, the top of the case has emblazoned in huge type "Made in Texas." I looked at each bottle and there it is, too, "Made in Texas."
I asked my wife, "Are you sure you bought this here? Or did you bring this back from Texas?" She assured me that she bought it at CVS. She knew why I was asking.
"You'll never see anything that says it's 'Made in Missouri' like that," she said, meaning in huge letters on the case label.
I shook my head. "No," I said. "You are absolutely right. Not in Missouri. Not anywhere but Texas. There's no state like Texas."
That's a state that is proud of its histroy, proud of its culture, proud of everything that makes it distinctive. Proud of everything it produces. And Texans are proud to declare they are proud of their state. I think that's a reason it has such a sound economy.
Why can't Missouri be like that? Although Ozarks businesses in the tourist trade have managed to use the name distinctively, in too many cases, they have branded it to mean backwoods and ignorant, rather than hard-working, reliant and quality workmanship.
Maybe a new governor and new state leadership can do something to make "Made in Missouri" or "Made in the Ozarks" mean something great.
Maybe businesses will promote "Made in Missouri" and "Made in the Ozarks" as imprints to be proud of.
I won't hold my breath, though.