Texas Blue Law Memories

Houston Autumn

Fall day in Houston

It’s a beautiful Fall Sunday in Houston – only 68 degrees early morning with a high of 88 today, no humidity in the air. This morning I was thinking of the Blue Law years ago in Texas. According to Britannica.com, the Blue Law forbade certain buying and selling on Sunday, and blue referred to “rigidly moral”. It was considered the Lord’s Day and a day of rest.

Heroes Cafe, Cleburne, TX

Everything is big in Texas – especially the hamburgers like this one at Heroes Cafe in Cleburne, TX

Stores weren’t open for shopping back in those days due to the Blue Law, but a few restaurants were. People did still have to eat. In the East Texas town I lived in, if you considered hamburger joints like Dairy Queen and Dairy Circle Inn (you had to order at the window).  On Sundays, though, a cafeteria opened for a few hours which made it nice for my family. Dad was a pastor of a church, and we had morning and evening services. We were usually the last ones to leave because people would want to talk to the pastor after church.

I don’t remember my mother cooking much on Sundays, although I recall going to homes of people in the church for Sunday dinner. Many of the people were farmers. Two particular foods stand out in my memory – chicken and coconut cake with white frosting. The reason for my chicken memory is that all of the farmers had chicken houses. One Sunday afternoon the lady cooking the meal we were invited to had to go out and kill the chickens we were going to eat. She grabbed those chickens and wrung their necks. That stuck in my brain’s media file forever. How in the world I ever ate chicken again after that day, I do not know.

The cake memory is the best one. I can picture it now. The farmer’s wife had prepared a coconut cake either on Saturday afternoon or early Sunday morning. When we arrived after the morning service, she was cooking the meat, vegetables, and rolls. However, the only thing I focused on was the beautiful big white coconut cake set in the center of the table. That was all I cared about but had to wait until after eating the main meal.

Life is so hectic now that families nearly have to make appointments to eat meals together. Bringing back the Blue Law could have a positive effect on families today (not that I’m promoting the Blue Law).

The first time I visited California, I went with my friend to the mall one Sunday and felt so strange shopping that day. That was in the ’70s. Boy howdy, haven’t we come along way, Texas?




  • I remember when “they rolled up the sidewalks on Sunday.” That was my daddy’s expression. Not many places were open, and you had to plan ahead so you didn’t run out of something on Sunday. It’s nice to take Sunday off from errands and shopping and to just go to church and visit with friends and families.

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