Aunt Vidalia and going to jail for good


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Aunt Vidalia and going to jail for good
By Bobby Neal Winters
I wasn’t pleased when the phone woke me up last Saturday morning. In the time it takes to reach the phone, I have time to kill off every elderly member of my family. As a consequence, it was comforting to hear Aunt Vidalia’s voice on the other end of the line because she is one of the relatives that I worry about. It’s not that she is in ill health; it’s that she’d on the road so much. You never know whether she might’ve been in a car wreck or beaten up by casino thugs for counting cards.
“Good morning,” I said with as much courage as I could muster.
“Good morning, Nephew,” she said.
“Aunt Vidalia, is that you? Is everything all right?”
I must have sounded concerned.
“Everything is fine,” she said. “Did I wake you up? I’m sorry. Why don’t let me buy you and Jean breakfast?”
This is always a question that is guaranteed to get a positive response from me. I had a question of my own, though.
“Fat Daddy’s,” she said.
We arrived there in the time it took us to don our clothing and make the short drive. We saw her hairdo before we saw the rest of her. She had a pack of cigarettes in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other, but she still managed to wave us toward her.
“Where’s Bum?” I asked as I slid into the booth. “Did he go to the men’s room?” He’s in there a lot any more.
“I didn’t let him come along this time,” she replied. “The price of gas has gone down, so I don’t have to put up with his childishness.”
She explained that they’d had a disagreement on the occasion of the inauguration of our new president. She’d watched every minute of it, but he couldn’t understand why everyone was making such a big deal out of it.
“I told him that I’d give him some time to figure it out.”
Not eager to press this, I thought I’d change the subject.
“So, Vidalia,” I didn’t know you were such an early riser.
“I’m not,” she replied. “I haven’t been to bed yet.”
She then explained she’d been up all night. She’d had a run of good luck at Texas Holdem and had only stopped when the cards got cold.
“I’m glad to hear that,” I said, “because I’ve got an opportunity for you.”
“Opportunity?” I could tell from her body language she was a little bit leery. In my family, we are used to hearing that word followed by sentences containing the words “moonshine,” “won’t get caught,” and “probably.”
I explained to her how a friend of mine had given my name to the Muscular Dystrophy Association so that I could “go to jail for good.” The idea behind it is that folks so chosen are to raise money for bail.
“It’s going to be on the 12th of February right here at Fat Daddy’s.”
“So what’s the opportunity?” she asked.
“I’d like you to donate to the cause,” I said. “Just make out the check to MDA.”
“Well,” she said, “that’s a good thing, but all I have now are chips. I don’t even have my checkbook.”
I explained how that was okay because she could donate by going online to and donate using a credit card.
“If you decide to write a check,” I said, “I’ve got to have it by the 12th if it is going to go toward my bail.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Vidalia said. “I’ll do that when I get home. It’s a better bet than Texas Holdem, for sure.”
I’ve not heard from Aunt Vidalia yet, can I hear from you? You can either visit the link above, give me a check made out to MDA, or email me at It’ll help the kids with muscular dystrophy.
(Bobby Winters is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University.)