Monday, April 13, 2009
Cheers - A My Town Monday Post
Most of my posts about Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle are positive, or at least neutral. I try to shy away from politics and my own opinions on this blog. I try to look at the bigger picture and present things that highlight the cultural differences between my home and yours, but this week I'm going to tell y'all about a common practice in these parts that is asinine regardless of how you paint it. I'm gonna ramble for a minute, but stay with me.
Canyon, Texas is but a short hop to the south of Amarillo. Twelve or so miles but there are enough businesses and homes along Interstate 27 that it only seems like four or five. Beyond Canyon, on Interstate 27 a traveler will pass through the towns of Happy, Tulia, Kress, Plainview, Hale Center, Abernathy, New Deal, and finally Lubbock. There Interstate 27 ends and since it beings in Amarillo the term Interstate is a misnomer, as all 112 miles of the road resides within the confines of The Lone Star State. So let's call I-27 an Intrastate Highway. But the wrongly named roadway isn't really what this post is about. There is actually something else odd about the byway.
No, I''m not talking about the lack of rainfall, or the evaporating playa lakes. I'm talking about booze. Until recently* you could not buy a single drop of alcohol anywhere between the outskirts of Amarillo and the far side of Lubbock.
HAPPY, TX - THE TOWN WITHOUT A FROWN ... OR A GOOD STIFF DRINK.
And even odder, Canyon, Texas is a college town. The home of West Texas A&M University.
Simply put, I do not get dry counties. I understand the theory. The entire remove from temptation rhetoric, but I ain't buying it. People that wanna drink are gonna drink regardless. Prohibition failed miserably and went a long way to creating organized crime. So how does anyone think regionalized prohibition is a good idea? Yes, bootlegging of a sort is common. Not like the rum runners and moonshiners of old that created NASCAR, but many a guy can make a few bucks by hauling back a case of brew for his buddies after a trip to Amarillo or Nazareth. Nazareth is a small German community that sits a ways off of the interstate. Despite having less than 400 residents the tiny rural town supports two or three liquor stores because all of the surrounding areas are dry.
I'm open for discussion on the benefits of a dry county, but I am of the opinion that the policy creates problems rather than solving them. I say it creates drunk drivers. If a guy has to get in his car and head a county or two over he's not going to wait until he gets home to crack that first beer like he might if his trip was only to the convenience store around the corner. And when the boys at the frat house run out of beer,a s they are eventually going to do, isn't it better if they have the option to walk to a store on the edge of campus, or ride a bike? Not in Canyon, they have to hop in a car and get on the interstate no less.
Ohh ... but the tee-totalers would have you to believe that the frat parties at WT involve Hawaiian Punch and Kool-Aid, because it's too much trouble to import beer from that ungodly big city twelve miles to the north.
Okay I'm going to step down off my beerbox and say there are a number of counties in the Texas Panhandle that have restricted liquor laws. Some are completely dry - no booze whatsoever. Others you can join a private club and drink there - again forcing you to drive home at the end of the night. Some sell beer and wine only. Most places in the entire state restrict hard liquor sales on Sunday or after 9 PM the other days.
Now I'm in no way condoning drunk driving. I'm all for designated drivers, heck I'm all for drinking in the safety of your own home, but when rules go overboard and create more problems than they solve, I just don't get how they remain in place.
So I'm curious. Is this dry county business a bible belt side affect or do you have such in your area. Can you buy hard liquor on Sunday? Or after 9? What unique laws do you have? And yes, I am fully aware that I am stumping for what many consider a sin on one of the most religious days of the year. But after all, Jesus turned that water into wine, not grape juice.
* The city of Plainview recently voted to lift the no booze ban in order to recapture the tax revenue they were losing to other counties.
Thirsty for more MY TOWN MONDAY posts? Check out these links.
Yellowdog Granny - West, Texas
David Cranmer - Castine, Maine
Barbara Martin - Toronto, Canada
Debra - Village of Peninsula, Ohio
Gary Dobbs - South Wales, England
Lana Gramlich - Abita Springs, Louisiana
Barrie Summy - San Diego, California
Reb - Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada
Passage of Woman - Kingston, Tennessee
Chris - India
Terrie Farley Moran - New York City, New York
Patti Abbott - Hamtramck, Michigan
J Winter - Cincinnati, Ohio
Cloudia - Honolulu, Hawaii
Carolee Sherwood - Ogunquit Beach, Maine
A.K. - Delhi, India
Clair Dickson - Livingston County, Michigan
Junosmom - Kentucky