In 1974, I moved from Orlando, Fla., to Birmingham, Ala. Talk about culture shock. Alabama still enforced blue laws, which meant virtually no businesses were open on Sunday. The state owned and operated all liquor stores, which meant few hours of operation and very high prices.
Life and time were stuck in the '50s, but I could buy wine and real beer in grocery stores. National chain stores like Publix competed with innovative local grocers like Bruno's, and Costco and Sam's were in a constant race for the lead in wine sales. Relatives from Oklahoma would come to visit and ask to go to Bruno's because there were so many things they couldn't find in the Oklahoma stores.
I spoke with a colleague from South Carolina recently. As we compared opinions about our respective state politicians, she was stunned when I said that at least she could buy a bottle of wine with her groceries.
Why can't we? Pressure from religious zealots? Can ours be any stronger than those in Alabama and South Carolina?
My money is on the liquor lobby, and I bet their money is in the pockets of a lot of state lawmakers. Since we are in the 21st century, isn't it time Oklahoma made it into the 20th?