I Come From a Dry Town

18 02 2011

No, really, I do.

I grew up (for the most part) in a small town outside of Dallas where the sale of beer, wine or liquor was prohibited (and for what it’s worth, most stores were closed on Sunday). So, I am most familiar with what the term “dry town” means, in all its Southern glory. I think, though I am not sure, this town now has a drive through Beer Barn, so the whole dry thing sort of went out the window at some point. no_wine

Earlier this week, while telling you about our great enchilada debate, I mentioned that words and phrases can have dual meanings around our household. I grew up in various parts of Texas. 2Chili grew up in Northern California and, though he hates to mention it, Kansas. And though we’ve both been in Washington for more than 10 years, it turns out our vocabularies are a little different.

I will get to the story, but it requires just a tad of lead up, so forgive me in advance here!

Every summer when I was a kid in the 80s, my brother and I would pack up and go spend a few weeks with our grandparents in the deep south of Texas in Corpus Christi. We’d go to the beach, hang out at the pool, and generally just do what kids do in the summer. When it came to getting around, our grandpa was the driver, and he carted us to the mall, the skating rink (remember those?!), and out for the occasional hamburger. Our grandma was the conductor, telling Grandpa where to turn, when to stop, to speed up, slow down – you know, the usual married couple driving scenario. I remember he would drive clear across town to get gas to save $.02/gallon. Gas was around $.80/gallon in those days and she would chide him about the extra gas burned up just to save the two cents.

One thing they agreed on in the car was the music. The radio was always set to a country music station, and, they both hummed along under their breaths to pretty much every song. Grandma didn’t like the female singers, but she tolerated Reba. Grandpa knew to like everything she liked without question. This was how I was introduced to country music, and, while I listen to other genres, I still listen to country.

Fast forward to the summer of 2009. 2Chili and I were wrapping up construction on our remodel, and, as a rare treat we took a Saturday afternoon off and went to see the Kenny Chesney concert at Qwest Field in Seattle. 2Chili is a little like my grandpa. He knows to like the singers I like, even though country music certainly isn’t his cup of tea. Occasionally I’ll catch him singing the lyrics to a country song to himself, and I find that highly amusing.

Anyway, at the concert there was a line up of quite a few different acts before Kenny came on stage, including Miranda Lambert. Miranda introduced herself to start her set. “”Well, you know, I like to drink,” she said in a fairly strong Texas twang, “but I’m from a dry town.” Then, she proceeded to sing some song I don’t really remember, but it’s focus was beer. MP900428000

2Chili turned to me immediately and said, “What does she mean, like her town had a drought or something?”

I could barely answer him through the laughter.

“No, no! Her town doesn’t allow the sale of beer or liquor, it’s a dry town.”

This was the best conversation ever, because it took quite a bit more explaining until he finally understood the concept. Being from California, he was used to seeing beer and liquor on the shelf at the grocery store. The concept of a town banning it entirely just didn’t resonate.

So, there you have it – two different interpretations of a phrase I thought was universally understood. Happy Weekend!

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