Temperance Still Alive
Ocean City, a seashore town located at the north end of Cape May County, New Jersey, was founded in 1879 by four Methodist ministers. The town is a popular resort, with plenty of beaches, a Boardwalk, amusement rides, restaurants, retail stores, etc, even the Ocean City Pops. The year-round population of about 15,000 swells to 150,000 on any given day in the summer.
Ocean City gained notoriety for its idiotic Blue Laws, which designated Sunday as a day of no driving, no ocean bathing, no retail sales of any kind, no recreational activities. I guess the only thing you were allowed to do was go to church ...oops, walk to church. In 1985 and ‘86, most of the remaining Blue Laws were finally repealed. Amazingly, it was a very close vote.
Ocean City does still carry the torch outlawing liquor. The town is "dry", meaning no restaurants can serve alcohol and naturally there are no packaged goods stores. Heck, you can't even be seen in public drinking a beer.
So imagine the the gall of restaurant owners this winter in proposing permitting BYOB, which stands for Bring Your Own Booze. They weren't asking to sell beer, wine or liquor, just to allow customers to bring a bottle of wine to consume with dinner. The nerve!
The backward temperance folks were outraged. "Not while I'm mayor," said the reigning mayor. I was waiting for him to add, "You'll have to pry the gavel from my cold, dead hands." The argument, of course, is that Ocean City is America's "Greatest Seaside Family Resort" and the town would shrivel and die if alcohol of any sort is allowed. How dare we subject little Johnny and Susie to have to sit in a restaurant while the adults at the next table each sip a glass of wine. Blasphemy!
The debate will carry on this winter, but by spring no doubt the temperance clan will prevail. In Ocean City, BYOB will still mean Bring Your Own Bible.
- Mountain Man