Buying cherry pie with ice cream on a Sunday in Kansas.
|Flickr photo by jeffreyw|
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That sentence may strike fear in the hearts of men and women all across the country. Because many people think it's illegal or that it was illegal at some point, to go to a restaurant and order cherry pie with ice cream on Sunday in Kansas.
That's balderdash my friends!
Why do I know this and why do I care? Because I was sold a bill of goods while playing a board game this weekend. We were playing Balderdash, by Mattel to be exact. And it was really fun!
To get points, you try and convince people to believe your definition of something and you have to try and guess the correct answer. One of the categories is Laughable Laws. According to the game, the law about cherry pie and Kansas is true.
I didn't believe it. So today, I decided to do a bit of research. In addition to several different websites about wacky laws and trivia, I found two law firm websites, and a major insurance company website stating that this law is true. Whatever happened to fact checking?
I checked the Kansas Legislature for a statute, but realized that this would take too long and could prove to be a fruitless search. So I thought about who could get this kind of information quickly and be friendly enough to actually give it to me. A law librarian!
Lucky for me, I found the perfect person. Pamela Tull, Wheat Law Library Head of Public Services at the University of Kansas School of Law, has encountered this question before. She says that she's worked there for years, and every year, she gets a couple of calls about it. Which makes it doubly surprising that this incorrect information persists.
Tull says that there is nothing about cherry pie or ice cream being illegal to sell in Kansas on a Sunday or any other day for that matter. She pointed me to some very old statutes. Going all the way back to 1855. Sections 31 and 34 became part of Chapter 21, Article 9 of the statutes dealing with crimes against public morals and decency. They were repealed in 1963, according to Tull. Below is the wording from the books.
Sec. 31. Every person who shall either labor himself, or compel his apprentice, servant or slave, or any other person under his charge or control, to labor or perform any work other than the household offices of daily necessity, or other works of necessity or charity, on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and fined not exceeding five dollars. ...
Sec. 34. Every person who shall expose to sale any goods, wares or merchandise, or shall keep open any ale or porter house, grocery, or tippling shop, or shall sell or retail any fermented or distilled liquor, on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, shall, on conviction, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, and fined not exceeding fifty dollars.
So there it is. Maybe this will put an end to this very long lived myth. And the good people of Kansas can start enjoying their cherry pie and ice cream on Sundays in peace. Because really, nobody should mess with dessert.
*Updated 5/30/2016* If you like this post, you may be interested in reading a related post about potluck dinners in Arizona.
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