Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Frances Crooks, from left, Corrine Cotten, Linda Bandy and Maxine Carrway joke with each other while playing bingo Friday morning. Every Friday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. the Council on Aging hosts bingo for the elderly in the Vidalia, Ferriday and Clayton.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Frances Crooks, from left, Corrine Cotten, Linda Bandy and Maxine Carrway joke with each other while playing bingo Friday morning. Every Friday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. the Council on Aging hosts bingo for the elderly in the Vidalia, Ferriday and Clayton.

Through the viewfinder: It’s a BINGO

Published 12:07am Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Vidalia — Amidst laughter and the steady alphanumeric calls, 15 bingo players quickly scan their five-by-five cards, hoping for the chance to shout “bingo” Friday morning.

“I’m a bingo fiend,” Lois Felpenberger said. “I started playing back in the 70’s at the Elks and VFWs”

Now Felpenberger comes to the Masonic hall on Carter Street in Vidalia almost every Friday from 10 to 11 a.m. to play bingo through the Concordia Council on Aging.

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — The hands of Lois Felpenberger, left, and Louise Dawson search for the B5 on their bingo cards Friday morning. Felpenberger and Dawson have been playing bingo since the 1970s.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — The hands of Lois Felpenberger, left, and Louise Dawson search for the B5 on their bingo cards Friday morning. Felpenberger and Dawson have been playing bingo since the 1970s.

Spread out in front of Felpenberger are 24 bingo cards, 10 of which are hers. The other 12 belong to friend and bingo companion Louise Dawson.

“O65,” Council on Aging Director Marjorie Bowman calls out. “O56.”

Felpenberger and Dawson quickly scan their cards pulling red taps across the number 65 in the ‘O’ column. “B23, come on B23,” Dawson whispers to her cards.

As soon as Bowman calls out “G43,” another player responds with a triumphant “bingo!”

“I battled for nothing,” Dawson said with a laugh as she cleared her cards. “Everyone fights for the Dawn dish soap with the Olay in it.”

For those that make five spaces in a row, they win a prize of any household cleaning supply spread out along a table in the front of the hall.

“We’re winning household stuff so we can hurry up, go home and clean,” Corrine Cotten said jokingly from the next table over.

Bowman begins a new game, and the chatter dies down to hear what she called out.

“We have a good fellowship here,” Maxine Carrway said with a smile. “We usually sit at the same table each Friday to play bingo together.”

For Cotten, who hasn’t played from June through last week because of heart valve replacement, coming back to bingo was an enjoyable way to start the New Year.

“You miss it when you can’t come,” Cotten said. “It keeps you young.”