A Week in a County Jail: Hot Bologna, Eggs and Gravy

Blogging has been light, admittedly in part since I ‘discovered’ iTunes, but this favorite Tom T. Hall gem made me think about bologna sandwiches in the Travis County Jail. After being arrested for speeding while ‘sitting at a red light’, the narrator discovers the pleasures of what can only be small southern town 60s or 70s justice:

Well, they motioned me inside a cell with seven other guys
One little barred up window in the rear
My cellmates said if they had let me bring some money in
We ought to send the jailer for some beer

Well, I had to pay him double 'cause he was the man in charge
And the jailer's job was not the best in town
Later on his wife brought hot bologna, eggs and gravy
The first day I was there I turned it down

Well, next morning they just let us sleep but I was up real early
Wonderin' when I'd get my release
Later on we got more hot bologna, eggs and gravy
And by now I wasn't quite so hard to please

I sometimes ask clients what they were given to eat during their overnight stay at Downtown Travis County, and while the majority insist they weren’t in the mood to eat at all, many of them tell me it was bologna sandwiches, sometimes with cheese, sometimes with a small cup of jello.

My theory is that the Travis County Sheriff’s Office deliberately makes the stay unpleasant. My clients tell me they run into some recently arrested that act like they were there last weekend, and expect to end up in jail the week after that. 

I doubt the bologna has much effect on them. But for the others? You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.

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Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jamie - May 12, 2008 11:27 PM

I was sittin' at a red light when these two men came and got me
And said that I was speeding through their town

mk - May 13, 2008 7:58 AM

That's what I had imagined Golden Corral would be like.

nezua - May 14, 2008 9:34 AM

That's jail for you. It's like that. They serve cheap, fibrous white bread, boloney with little pieces of gristle in it, oily mayo, mealy oatmeal...they use surplus food and they just don't really care too much if you "like" it. From what I've seen. But I'm talking about County. And not your county, I don't think. But I imagine it's the same all over. When I was arrested as one of the RNC 1800 in NYC in '04 and kept at Pier 57, it was the same deal.

Jamie - May 14, 2008 10:01 PM

Nezua:

Congrats on being one of the RNC 1800. Sorry about the baloney.

MK:

Nope. GC is waaaaaay better than Luby's, and I know you loooove Luby's.

Herb - January 6, 2010 6:17 PM

I have always loved to listen to Tom T. Hall and this is one of my favorites.

I spent four days in a county jail in south Georgia thanks to a supplier that my company owed money. Seems he used the county to help him with his receivables. We got 2 meals a day and I stuck to the meat only to limit the use of the facilities. A big house version of the South Beach you might say. I walked out 10 lbs lighter!

When I got bailed out, my buddy asked me about the baloney, eggs and gravy. I didn’t think it was funny then, but man it was true! Small town justice is still alive and well in the 21st century.

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