It’s Good Friday.
Other than knowing that it ushered in Easter when I attended sunrise sermons and brunches with friends, I hadn’t given much thought to the day. (See Ash Wednesday post)
Until I worked as a reporter for The News-Times in Danbury, Connecticut.
I interviewed Kathleen Tenk, a barmaid who was arrested on Good Friday in 1981 after serving alcohol to patrons at the Countryside Inn in Newton, a favorite watering hole of residents and reporters. The police had responded to an anonymous phone call turning her in.
“If they had to have a national holiday for every religiouos holiday, we wouldn’t have to worry about anyone working,” Tenk said. “You can’t run government with religion.”
At the time, Connecticut’s “Blue Laws” prohibited the sale of liquor on Good Friday, Election Day, and Sundays and Holiday Mondays. These laws, dating from Colonial times, regulate behavior and business on the Sabbath. The prominence of Sunday shopping evolved from the repeal of Blue Laws and varies state by state. Connecticut and Indiana are the last states in the union to ban Sunday liquor sales.
Thankfully, to Tenk’s relief, Connecticut struck down its Good Friday rule shortly after her incident, making her arrest moot. The state is still trying to repeal the Sunday and holiday restrictions, to keep residents from crossing the state border to buy their holiday booze.
And that of course, isn’t without controversy. As much as we’re used to buying anything, anytime, there are many who cling to Sunday slowdowns.
We’re heading to Connecticut for Passover. No worries, we stocked up in New Jersey.