Archive for August, 2014


Tibbitts Lake

A few days ago I was at Tibbitts Lake standing on the bridge.  I was thinking back about my childhood growing up on the lake.  I’m 40 now,  I built my house, got married and moved out when I was 20. So, I spent 20 years living at my parents house on the lake and 20 years with Wendy in our house in the woods.  The two areas are so different but are less than a 1/2 mile apart.  Mom and Dad’s house sits on a hill above the lake and has a huge two acre yard.  Lots of grass to cut. There’s fruit trees,  grapevines,  pecans,  blueberries and lots of sunshine.  After growing up cutting all that grass each week and then working in the landscape industry during the summer starting when I was 14. I didn’t want any grass at my house.  When building our house we keep as many trees as we could.  I have two very small patches of grass that may only get mowed 5 times a year.  It doesn’t get enough sun to grow.  The trees keep us several degrees cooler here too. We are in a hollow at the base of a small mountain.  So there are no long distance views like a mom and dad’s but there is a lot more wildlife.  Just the other day I walked out on the front porch and two twin deer fawns were in the woods 40 feet away.

Growing up, when people found out l lived on the lake they would say “if I lived on a lake I would go fishing everyday”. Well I didn’t.  I did a little fishing but mostly social fishing.  It was mostly some friends would want to go and I would take them.  I would go by myself some.  I liked to walk to a small cove on the other side of the lake.  Dad’s side of the lake was open and no trees. The west side was wooded. From the open dam, I would walk a path next to the lake in the woods to my spot at the cove. This is where I caught the biggest catfish I ever have caught.  I also liked to go below the dam and fish in the spillway.  It was also wooded and was a challenge to get to. First you walked over the dam by the fish hatchery.  Then cross over the spillway.  It was a ditch as deep as I was tall. I had to pull myself out using exposed tree roots. Then down hill again and cross the small stream to the little fishing hole.  Fish that had been washed out of the lake would get trapped here. There was always someone, a friend,  a cousin or someone fishing.  I would go down and hang out but did little fishing.  Jonathan was who would fish every day.  He lived just up the road a few houses.  His grandmother and my dad are brothers and sisters.  She built a house across the lake from dad. Jonathan is two years older than me.  Just about every day after school he would be fishing.

I did like to go on fishing trips.  Mostly for the trip.  I love a adventure. If it was some where other than the house,  if there was a boat or best of all if it was saltwater. Dad bought a boat when I was 10 or so. Not much, but it was a boat. I remember going with him to pick it up.  He bought it used from a local man. We took it to Altoona a few times and down to lake Oconee to our deer hunting land a few times. That place had a really nice big cove that was just below deer camp. Between hunts we would fish.  Dad would let me drive the boat some.  Then as I got older I would take it out by myself on Tibbitts Lake. I have talked about our deep sea fishing trips in other post so i will not recap here but to say they were really fun.  One summer just after Wendy and I were married,  Jason bought a old bass boat.  I think he paid $300 for it. Trailer and all. That guy needed the money bad. Jason and I wore Corley’s Lake out. We had a lot of fun catching bass.

I have covered the catfish farming before to but that was a big part of my childhood working on the lake.  I was doing something just about every day on the lake from feeding the fish, to gathering fish eggs, to working the fish from one lake to the other, and then selling them.

When I started to write this story it was to be about deer hunting not fishing.  I got distracted.  I will have to do a follow up on hunting and the history of Tibbitts lake.

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By TRENT TIBBITTS

 

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My Papa Tibbitts, Joseph Hollis Tibbitts,  who was born in 1903, would tell us, as kids, short stories,  poems and songs. He called them speeches.  His mother taught them to him during his childhood, a time before television,  phone,  electricity,  computers and all the other modern conveniences.  These speeches were part of their entertainment. When he was raising his own family he taught them to his own children.  He gave each child one that was theirs to learn.  They would recite them while doing chores and one they learned it, they could be done with that chore. Around the age of 80 he recorded several and I have transcribed them here.  They tell of life on the farm in the Rural south.

 

Hollis Tibbitts recordings:

 

Number One.  The shortest speech.

 

A squral is a pretty thing, carries a brushy tail, cuts down the farmers corn, he shells it on the rail.

 

Our old Sandy sow is next.  Number two.

 

Our old Sandy sow she had a great long snout,  she stuck it in the potato hill and rolled all the potatos out. Same old sow had eleven pegs,  she razed them all on nuts and twigs. She razed them all to be seven months old. We sold them all for weight in gold.  So what we going to do for bacon now.  Sambo shot the Sunday sow. She jumped a fence, she broke a rail.  Sambo shot her through the tail.

 

We ain’t got no bacon yet.

 

Next the little bird. Truth in it.

 

Once there was a little bird that lived outside the door,  wanted to go inside and hop up on the floor.  No, No said the mother bird, you must stay with me, for little birds are safer sitting up in the tree.  I don’t care said the little bird,  he gave his tail a fling.  I don’t think you old folks know, quite everything.  So down he flew,  and the cat grabbed him before he had time to blink.  He cried, I’m sorria (sorry) but I didn’t think.

 

He should have minded his Mama and been all right. That’s the way little children ought to do. Mine Mother, be good.

 

The raccoon,  opossum and the rabbit.

 

The raccoon tail is ringed all around but the opossum tail is bear, the rabbit hadn’t got no tail attail (at all), just a little white bunch of hair. But in the night time, is the right time, so I’ve understood, is the habit, of Sir rabbit, to dance in the woods. The opossum was in the persimmon tree and the raccoon on the ground.  The raccoon said to the opossum,  shake me some persimmons down. Raccoon and opossum were both walking across a log, Raccoon said to the opossum, I think I hear a dog.  Raccoon and the opossum,  they travel after dark,  but they don’t ever think to be afraid to they hear my hound dog bark.

This is a fellow that had a yellow cat and he couldn’t get shed of him no way.

Because the cat came back the very next day, the cat came back,  because he wouldn’t stay away.  Old Bill Jones had troubles of his own, had an old yellow cat that wouldn’t leave his home.  He tried all plan he thought was new, none of these plans it never did do. Because the cat came back the very next day,  the cat came back,  because he wouldn’t stay away.  Old Bill Jones done what he thought was the best,  he gave him to a Niger that was going out west. He went around a corner and struck a broke rail, wasn’t a soul left for tell the cat tail. Cat came back the very next day,  the cat came back, because he wouldn’t stay away.

Now next is our friendly cow.

Our friendly cow all red and white, I love with all my heart.  She gives us cream with all her might,  to eat with apple tart. She wanders low, here and there and yet she can not stray. All in the pleasant open air, the pleasant light of day.  She is blown by all the wind that blow and wet by all the shower.  She walk along the meadow grass and eats up all the meadow flowers.

These speeches and sayings covers most everything on the farm in the old timely days of life.

Next is a chicken speech.

The old roster was named Barn Door. The little hen was Little Wife.  Barn Door stayed up at the barn and he said to Little Wife,  come along my Little Wife let’s take a walk today.  There is barely in the barely field and hay seeds in the hay. Thank you said the clucking hen, I’ve got something else to do.  I’m busy sitting on my eggs,  I can not walk with you.  The clucking hen had made a nest,  she had made it in the hey. Warm and snug,  beneath her breast a dossen white eggs lay. Crack, Crack went all the eggs. Out dropped the little chickens small.  Come along my little chicks, now I have you all. Good morning old Barn Door.  We’ll all take a walk with you.  Hello said old Barn Door.  Cock A Doddle Doooooo!

This is a cow in a garden. Don’t sound like it but that’s what it is.

When I went into my wherely whicky whacky.  I met old Boom Bicky Back and I called old Tom Ticky Tacky to come run old Boom Bicky Backy out of my wherely whicky whacky.

It was just a cow in a garden is all it was. The garden was the whicky whacky.  The cow was a Boom Bicky Backy. My dog Tom Ticky Tacky had to run Boom Bicky Backy out of the wherely whicky whacky.

Little Robin Red Breast.  This was mothers first speech that I ever learned.

Little Robin Red Breast, he’s coming in the snow.  He peeps in the windows while the cold wind blows.  He’s waiting for his breakfast with a merry song. He comes every morning all the winner long.

The faithful dog.

The only unselfish friend that a man may have in this world is his dog. His son or a daughter that he has reared with great love and care my prove unfaithful to him when misfortune sets his clouds up on your head. The dog will stand by his master in health, sickness and poverty.  When the wind blows cold and the snow drifts appear,  if he’s only near his masters side. When riches takes wings and reputation falls to pieces, the dog is constant in his love, as the sun in it’s joinery  through the heavens.  Finally last of all when death takes his master, in it’s embrace and his body is to be laid under the cold grave and all other friends pursue their way from the graveside,  there by the graveside may the noble dog  be found with his head between his paws but his eyes alert.  Fateful and true even in death.

Here’s another old speech that I learned when I was very small.  It tells you something little children.

Old lazy sheep now tell me why all in the sunny field you lie.  Your doing nothing all the day if what good are you I pray. Little boy I thought you knowed on my back your coat once growed. If no more knowledge you can show,  you better go to school and wiser grow. For you must be an ideal boy, you better now your time employ. Stop not over that fence and peep, but grow and be useful like a sheep.

This is a little girl speech about a doll.

Suppose my little lady, your doll should break it’s head. Could you make it whole again by crying till your eyes and nose were red? Wouldn’t it be wiser just to take it as a joke and say you was glad that dolly’s head and not your head that broke.

Now here’s a little boys speech.

Drive the nail aright.  Hit it on the head. Strike with all your might.  While the iron is red. If you got a job to do,  do it with good will.  For they that reach the top, first must climb the hill.  Standing a the foot gazing at the sky how can you get up there if you don’t never try.

Here’s some poems of ryms now. I’d knowed’em a long time.

Man of words and not of deeds, is like a garden full of weeds. When the weeds began to grow,  when the weeds begin to grow,  it’s like a garden full of snow. When the snow begains to melt,  it’s like the gardens full of himp. When the himp begins to rust, it’s like a garden full of dust. When the dust began to fly,  it’s like a Eagle in that sky. When the sky begin to roar,  it’s like a lion at the door.  And when the door begin to crack, it’s like a Hickory on your back.

Here’s about a common little house fly. Now lesson at it.

Baby by here’s a fly, let us watch him, you and I. How he crawls up the wall, yet he never falls. I believe with those such legs, you and I could walk on eggs. I can show you if you choose where to look to find his shoes. Three small pair, made of hair, these he always wears. So there he goes on his toes, tickling the baby’s nose. Spots of red, dots his head. Rainbows on his wings are spread. That small speck is his neck,  see him nod and beck. Little fly, mind your eye, for spider is near by. If a secret let me tell, spider will not treat you well.  For in the sun, webs are spun. What if you were to get into one. But when it rains, he complains, with his busy wings on the window pane. So little fly heed your way, little fly good day.

The Lullaby Lady.

The Lullaby Lady from Hushaby Street, come stealing, come creaping, with the popys that hang from her head to her feet, they each have a dream that are tiny and sweet, and she bringeth her popys to you my sweet, when she finds you sleeping on Hushaby Street.

This is the old farmer of years ago.

Come wife said good old farmer Gray, put on clean cloths this market day. We’ll be off to the nearest town, we’ll get back before the sun goes down. Old Spotty barked, Spotty wined, he maid up his doggish mind to follow along under the wagon.  So they went, the route not paved, joy came into the farmers face. Spot said he wants to come, but I’m awful glad he’s left at home.  For he minds the barn, he gides the cot, keeps all the cows run into the lot. I’m Not so sure of that thought said Spot. Because the big dog was under the wagon. On to town, all the produce sold, they got their pay in yellow gold. Started back after dark,  through a lonesome forest.  A robber sprang from behind a tree. Your money or your life said he. The moon was up, but he didn’t see the big dog under the wagon.  Spot didn’t bark, nor he didn’t wine, but he quickly cought that theft behind.  He drug him down,  in mar and dirt, he tore his coat, he tore his shirt. Two front feet the farmer bound, come Spot up into the wagon.  He rode grand and gay. A silver collar, Spot wares today. Among his friends and among his foes, every where that farmer goes, he follows on his undercoat the big dog under the wagon.

This is what king Kanbo wanted.

Mr.Frorg went a courtin, he did ride. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. Had a big pistol on his side. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. He rode up to Mis. Mouse’s house. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. There he gave a great loud squawk. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  He says Mis. Mouse are you within. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Yes kind Sir, I sit and spin. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  He took Mrs. Mouse upon his knee. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Says Mis. Mouse will you marry me.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. No kind Sir, I can’t do that . A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  With out consent from old Uncle Rat. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Old Uncle Rat, he gave consent.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  So they got married and away they went. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Where shall our wedding super be. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Way down yonder in a hollow tree. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  What should our wedding super be. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Two butter beans and a black eye pee. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  While they were eating what did happen.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Great black cat, she made a snap.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  The mouse went a running up the wall.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Her foot slipped and she got a fall. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  (The cat eat it up) The frog went a swimming across the lake. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  He got swallowed by a snake.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  That was the marriage of the frog and the mouse. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Neater one of them lived to need a house. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Cairo, Cairo Captain Pharaoh, fem fom, shem shom, roddle bottle, Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. 

Well we have had a few funny speeches, a few funny songs. Lets get back and sing some that’s not so funny.  I will sing the old Uncle Ned song.  He was an old Niger long time ago, but we still got his song if he is gone.

Old Uncle Ned was a good old Niger and he died a long time ago. He had no hair on top of his head, the place where the wool ought to grow. So he layed down the shovel and the hoe, and he hanged up the fiddle and the bow. No more work for old Uncle Ned,  done gone where the good Nigers go. His fingers was stiff like the canes of the break. He had no eyes for to see. He had no teeth for to eat a whole cake, he had to let the whole cake be. So he layed down the shovel and the hoe, and he hung up the fiddle and the bow. No more work for old Uncle Ned, done gone where the good Nigers go. Old Uncle Ned was sitting on a stump. Just as happy as a Niger could be.  So Along comes death, thumped him on the head. Come on Ned with me. Had to lay down the shovel and hoe, had to hang up the fiddle and the bow.  No more work for the old Uncle Ned,  done gone where the good Nigers go. So his poor old dog, he lay on the grave,  howls by the light of the moon, waiting for old Uncle Ned to catch a opossum and a coon. Done layed down the shovel and hoe, done hung up the fiddle and the bow.  No more work for old Uncle Ned, done gone where the good Nigers go.

Well that’s the Uncle Ned song.  Heres another, sort of like it. Fits me pretty good, I tell you thetruth about it.

Still to come:

I am getting old and feeble

Rich old merchant

Put my little shoes away

Little Mary Phagan

When the evening sun is setting

Lost child

There are more that I need to record here but I want to get these published for now. If you have a story of Papa’s or a story about Hollis I would like to here it.

 

 

 

Building a Home

By Trent Tibbitts

Dunning science class in the 9th grade a little girl started hanging around me and stole my heart. We went to our freshmen Homecoming dance together and dated most of the year. We would be on and off until mid 11th grade, and have been together since then. One of our first dates after I could drive was the North Georgia Fair. We went to the Prom together our Jr. and senor year. Wendy was in the color guard and I was at every football game to watch her perform. She would get to seat with me during the third quarter. I also went to several Band competitions where they always won Grand Champion. She got to perform at the Citrus Bowl too. I played Soccer and ran Cross-Country. She would come to my games. We were out every Friday night somewhere. A lot of times we would double date with friends. We had a lot of fun in high school. Our class voted us Cuties Couple for sensor superlative. After graduation we took at trip to visit Wendy’s grandmother in Miami. We drove back up to Orlando and went to Disney World. The first of many trips. Her cousin Amanda was young and we took her to the beach with us one of the days. As we drove by a power plant and white smoke was coming out of the stacks. Amanda said “so that’s where clouds come from”. We spent a few days on the beach and a few days at Disney. Wendy showed me all the places around where she grew up. Her Grand dads hotel that he managed, her old schools, places they would go and things like that. We took a dinner Cruise to no where. It was really a casino ship. There was not much for us to do after dinner so we just walked the deck through the night. I had been planing this trip for sometime. I had bought a ring with money I saved from working summers at Post Properties in the landscape department. Brandon was the only person who knew I had bough the ring. I knew there would be a full moon while we where there, and I knew when it would rise. I decided to ask Wendy to marry me in her home town on her home beach of Fort Lauderdale. I had the ring in my pocket, after dinner we stopped and parked at the beach for a moon light stroll on the sea-shore. It was around 10 PM and no one was around. I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. When she said yes, there was a continues streak of lighting that circled us around the horizon. We came back home and continued our plans of going to college. I was going to what was the called Southern Tech and Wendy went to West Georgia. The plan was to finish school the get married. Well we couldn’t wait that long. It was getting harder and harder to say good-by each night. I thought I wanted to be an architect, but I didn’t. I went to school full-time the first year. Then started working more and more at Post. I would sit in class and think about all the money I could be making if I was not in school so I started going nights. I got raises and promotions at work and felt I was doing pretty good for a nineteen year old. We decided to move up the date of the wedding and we started to build our house. Dad gave my brother Todd, my sister Tammy and myself all about three acres next to each other when I was ten. So I had the land. Wendy and I were able to get a loan. I acted as the general contractor. First I got a drive way permit. Then I got a septic tank permit. We had to get a soil scientist in to sign off on it because of the perk test failed. I started clearing trees and debris for the driveway and house site. I cut a lot of wood and had a lot of brush fires. Wendy was still going to school and planning the wedding. The first real activity was cutting in the driveway and digging the basement. Dad helped out a lot. He worked with the bulldozer operator and helped cut trees as they were pushed over. Where the driveway started was an old dumping ground. Back in the day people would just through their trash out in the woods and this area became popular. There were old washer, dryers, refrigerators, sinks, along with household garbage. We dug a big hole and buried it along with the tree stumps. We loaded the Pine trees on my uncle Fed’s dump truck and sold them at the lumber yard. The Oak trees I split by hand and sold as firewood for the next few years. The next project was getting power. We were the first to build on our road so power lines had to be installed all down the road. That made a big difference in the way our little dirt road looked. Before then the trees would touch one another overhead like a tunnel. The foundation was next. The ground was to rocky to dig in the foundation like we did by hand at Todd and Toni’s A frame house they built. We poured the foundations on top of the rocks and a few days later the basement walls were poured. Two concrete trucks got stuck and I had to pay to get them out. We had to fill the basement floor with gravel to raise it up before pouring the concrete floor on top. The water proofing was done Easter morning. Dad and I used the farm tractor to back fill around the basement. We had a well dug. It only took a few day for the framing. Once the roof was on, the electrical and plumbing was in I started installing the insulation. The drywall was installed in one day. Wendy and I did a lot of painting with moms help. Wendy did most of it. Dad did a lot of the door trim. We had the house bricked and a very nice fireplace made. We had a lot of help when we built the porch and deck. Keith was a big help cutting out the steeps. We help, I did all the things I could. Wendy and I built our house with our own hands at the age of 19. I turned 20 on May 6th, we closed the loan on May 13th, Wendy turned 20 on May 22nd and we were married on May 28th. We spend the first night in the house on our wedding night. We Honey Mooned in Destin.

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