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.

 

 

 

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