Thursday, July 22, 2010
I'm not much of a liquor drinker. Never have been. But I understand those who like to have a cocktail at the end of the day or enjoy a drink before their meal at a nice restaurant. I also understand the people who are against all kinds of alcohol and do not want it in their community. It can come with its share of problems for people who can't have their drink in moderation. But I also understand and know for a fact that if a man wants to have a drink, he will have a drink whether the community in which he lives likes it or not. So you may be asking yourself right about now, "Where is he going with this?"
The local paper here in Fitzgerald reported yesterday that we the citizens of Ben Hill County will have the opportunity to vote on a liquor by the drink referendum in November. This will be the third or fourth time that we have tried to get this law passed. It has been defeated every time. You may say, "well a lot of small communities in the heart of the bible belt still do not allow alcohol in their county". This is where the "backasswards" part comes in. Ben Hill County is not a dry county. We have a liquor store on every corner. It is considered just fine if you wish to bring your own bottle of liquor into a bar and serve yourself drinks all night. You just CANNOT purchase liquor by the drink. In other words, you can get a licence to sell hundreds of gallons of liquor at you liquor store, but you can't get a licence to sell a man one drink at your restaurant. Backasswards!
Being a banker, I am trying to see the economic side of things. If we pass this law, it will increase tax revenues and hopefully provide Fitzgerald with a decent restaurant. Our country club might still be open today if we were able to make revenue on the sell of liquor. Businesses looking to locate to south Georgia may just find us to be more attractive because of our willingness to accept changes for the good in our economic culture. To me it is a no brainer that we need to vote for this law.
Being a baptist, I'm going to be asked by people to see the moral side of this argument. I have to admit that I just don't see the problem with it. We already have liquor in Ben Hill County! People already drink liquor in Ben Hill County! People already purchase liquor in Ben Hill County! What's the difference and what does it matter? Currently a bottle of liquor in Ben Hill County is purchased and the taxes are collected one time. That same bottle purchased by a restaurant in Ben Hill County can be taxed every time a drink is poured from that bottle. That could be 20 times!
The people who are against liquor by the drink argue that it will put more drunk drivers on the road or more drunk citizens on our streets. Let me remind you that beer and wine is currently served everyday by local establishments. Doesn't seem to be a problem. Also, under current laws a citizen of Ben Hill County can bring his own bottle of liquor to a bar and serve himself. Now wouldn't you want to have a bar tender telling a customer that he can no longer serve him because he has had too much to drink rather than that same customer serving himself past his limit. A friend of mine put it this way. "If I bring a bottle into the bar, I am going to finish that bottle before I go home. It's an ego thing. If I had to pay for my drinks one at a time, I would definitely not drink as much for the simple fact that it would cost more and I would not be tempted to finish my bottle to prove my manhood to myself." Fairly well put.
I had the privilege to live in Statesboro, Georgia for a spell. Bulloch County was and still is a dry county. You can not purchase a bottle of liquor in Bulloch County. All of the college kids have to head for the county line on game day to get their bourbon. Due to the efforts of some smart economic minded people, Bulloch County passed a liquor by the drink law in 1996. Statesboro took off! I can't describe how fast restaurants went up in Statesboro. It was already a growing community due to the success of the college, but it really started growing in 1996 and Statesboro has never looked back.
Tift County did the same thing a few years back. They now have some very nice restaurants. Guess where people from Fitzgerald go to eat on a Saturday night. I have never been to Tifton Georgia to eat when I have not run into someone from Fitzgerald.
It's time to move forward and embrace the economic opportunity that is before us. You are never going to stop people from drinking cocktails. We might as well make some extra money off of the ones who do.
Friday, July 9, 2010
I'm a Frat boy! I have been one since the day that I took my first breath. I was born in Statesboro, Georgia only minutes from the campus of Georgia Southern University, where both my Mom and Dad had attended and graduated. Daddy was a Kappa Sigma. In fact, his first cousin David was a Kappa Sigma founding father at Georgia Southern and Daddy was in the first pledge class. In a great deal of my childhood pictures, Daddy still wore a Kappa Sigma jersey. I followed in his footsteps and became the first father/son Kappa Sigma legacy at Georgia Southern. To say that the brotherhood that you experience with your fellow brothers is strong is really an understatement! It is something that last a lifetime and if you are fortunate enough to experience it, consider yourself privileged.
I am often reminded of the great bond that I have with my fraternity brothers. Two of them live right here in my hometown and I see them often. Others call frequently or we keep up on facebook. We even have reunions every five years to celebrate our past and catch up on what is new in each others lives. What is amazing to me is the way that we all seem to pick right up where we left off when we stepped off of campus in the years that we graduated. It is almost like no time has passed between us and our friendships are as strong as they were almost 20 years ago. Now some people will argue that fraternities are just a way to "purchase" your friends while away at college. I will argue that "purchased" friends can not be called your brother, or still care about you years after you last saw one another.
I have been privileged enough to not only share a bond with my brothers, but I have also been able to watch the bond that Daddy shares with his. It is really no different. Sure the time frames are different and the school might have changed over the years, but the stories are very much the same. The respect for each other is the same. The love for each other is the same.
Kappa Sigma has a saying that goes something like this.... Not for a day, an hour, or a college term only, but for life! I happen to be one of those people that believe that. Now I have some brothers that have put their fraternity days behind them and do not participate in our reunions or do not speak of their time in Statesboro. I find that disappointing. How can anyone not want to continue friendships with the very people that helped to shape part of who you are? I am one of those people that believe that you get out of something only what you are willing to put in. I gave my heart and soul to my fraternity brothers in my time at Georgia Southern, and I am still reaping benefits to this day! I am proud to be a Kappa Sigma Frat boy and will always be AEKDB!
I am writing all of this because our fraternity house is currently receiving a makeover and I have been taking some trips down memory lane as we are receiving updated construction pictures. I helped in the fundraising efforts and it has been nice to watch as some of my hard work is finally coming to light. The new construction on the house will help ensure that Kappa Sigma will remain the number one fraternity on the campus of Georgia Southern for years to come. The best part of the entire project was getting in touch with some of my brothers that I have not talked to since 1995. Again, we just picked up where we left off and the next thing you know I would get their pledge to help Kappa Sigma in its rebuilding efforts. I am hoping that when we have the ribbon cutting on the newly refurbished house that my brothers will join me in Statesboro to celebrate our future as well as relive some of our past! My time as a Kappa Sigma in Statesboro, Georgia was some of the best years of my life and I enjoy sharing those memories with my brothers as well as making new memories with them as we continue to be part of each other's lives. You see, on the day that I became a Kappa Sigma I took an oath and I plan to follow that oath and be a Kappa Sigma for life because...
ALWAYS BE AEKDB!!!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Today is my Mama's __th birthday. Let's just say that she is old enough to be my Mama, but her looks will make you think she is much younger. I was once asked at a fraternity parents weekend in college who my date was. It was Mama. I won't repeat the rest of that conversation. She is good looking and I hope I age as well as she has, even though I look just like Daddy.
It is hard for me to write about my Mama. Daddy is easy but there is just something about Mama's and their little boys that is hard for us macho men to put down into words. I guess it is hard to admit just how much they really mean to us and as in my case I am reminded just how little I tell her that very thing. So today on you birthday Mama I want to tell you that you are loved and thank you for all that you do for me. I am in no way the perfect son, but you have come pretty close to being the perfect mother. Thank you for always being there!
Happy Birthday Mama, and just so you will know,
I would still take you as my date anytime!!
I love you good lookin'!!