The unthinkable happened this weekend: the city of my birth, Lubbock County, Texas voted to go wet. By a nearly 2-1 margin. With more than 40,000 people showing up to vote early.
Those of you not from God's Country cannot possibly understand the significance of this vote. Lubbock is one of the most conservative cities in America. Its preachers and community leaders did all they could for the last 82 years to keep most liquor sales restricted to a classy place known as the Strip. As Texas Monthly reporter Katy Vine notes, George W. Bush lost his 1978 Congressional race in part because he had a keg party in the district. Lubbock going wet is so bizarre it's almost impossible to contemplate
That sound you just heard? It's the city's former leaders rolling in their graves. My great-grandfather, who decades ago was pastor of the largest Church of Christ west of the Mississippi, probably wouldn't believe it, but you'd better believe he would've preached against it. (I'm not so sure what his wife would've thought - or how she would've voted. The first thing my grandma did upon learning of her mother's death was book it to Lubbock in order to get the bourbon out of the pantry before the good ladies of the Church of Christ got to the house.)
I have a feeling that the legalization of package liquor sales in Lubbock won't change the culture that much, although it will certainly shut down the Strip. As a TABC official told KCBD television, state law prohibits alcohol sales within 1,000 feet of schools and daycares and within 300 feet of churches. There aren't many commercially-zoned places in Lubbock that meet those criteria.
Still, if I were in Lubbock, I'd be keeping an eye out for four horsemen and flying pigs. Next thing you know, they'll let the Dixie Chicks back into town.
UPDATE: Daddy informs me that my great-grandmother actually kept the bourbon hidden in her closet. She used it in her boiled custard recipe, but he can't figure out how she got it. Neither of us can see her trekking out to The Strip, that's for sure!