Northeast Georgia's Best Variety of the 80's, 90's, and Today

What are Tales from Tibby?

During my 41-year career doing morning show radio, what I found most rewarding was taking the slices of life I observed and making them into fun, funny or satirical stories that, hopefully, the audience would enjoy.

That usually involved altering, embellishing or flat-out lying about an actual incident, but I got pretty good at it.

When the time came to back away from the microphone, I realized that I still tend to see life as a morning show host. My brain still processes everything as a possible story to tell on the air.

So this blog is a written extension of my radio show, a series of true or semi-true stories could just as easily be called, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ALLEN.

Born and raised and still living in Georgia, my stories often have a Southern slant. I offer no apologies for that. I know how to properly prepare grits and cannot imagine life without them. I can also fry up a rabbit.

While I cannot avoid a little commentary now and then, the aim is to entertain, and I hope you enjoy reading these Tales From Tibby.

Tales from Tibby by Allen Tibbetts »

The Pecan Pie Problem

I’m not sure when ‘The Season’ begins.

Is it Thanksgiving into Christmas, then into New Years? Or do we back it up to Halloween? Halloween into Thanksgiving into Christmas into New Years?

And why do we say ‘new years’ like there are several of them?

All I know is I eat a lot in ‘The Season.’

I’ve made pecan pies before, but making them this year was different. For some reason, this year I paid attention to what actually goes into making a pecan pie.

It may be because I’m trying (in vain) to reverse the slow trend of becoming a slightly larger person every year. I’m still trying to get my brain wrapped around this notion that what I put in my mouth has some direct correlation to the size of my midsection.

So... pecan pie:

-syrup
-sugar

That’s your pie: liquid sugar, granular sugar.

The sugars need something to hold them together, so let’s toss in a few eggs.

Of course there are pecans, but it could be anything. Want a peanut pie? Walnut pie? Use dill chips and it becomes a pickle pie.

The point is, we’ve named the pecan pie not after the mainingredients but after the only healthy ingredient in the thing. Rightfully, it should be called a sugar pie.

“Oh, you’re making sugar pies for the holidays? Do you do anything special?”

“Well, I like to top mine off with pecans. Adds a little crunch to the sugar.”

Years ago, I made a ‘dark’ version of pecan pie. Instead of a light corn syrup, I used molasses. Instead of white sugar, I used dark brown sugar.

I called it Pecan Mud Pie. I should have called it Pootie Pie. It hung around for days in unfavorable ways.

Pecan pie is hard to turn down, especially if you know the reputation of the person or restaurant that is offering it. Once you become known for making a good pecan pie, you are considered an excellent cook for anything else you make.

You could prepare an entire meal from canned food, nuke it in the microwave and serve it on plastic plates, and it would be the best meal ever.

Because we’re all just waiting on your delicious pecan pie at the end of the meal.

My pies this year were a failure. While they looked good coming out of the oven, apparently, I did something wrong. Serving them was serving a soupy, syrupy mess. With pecans.

They had good pecan pie flavor and got eaten (with spoons), but I doubt I will be asked to make them again for the family gathering.

I’m OK with that.

Maybe it’s just to discourage myself from eating something that will only make me a little rounder in the middle, but next time I’m serving pecan pie, I’m gonna call it like I see it.

“Alright now, I’m serving diabetes for dessert. Who wants Cool Whip on theirs?”

Mouthful of Nasty

Kids like gross. Always have. Toy makers know this and have been delivering gross toys for decades.

Garbage Pail Kids, Burp Balls, Queasy Bake Oven…. do a search for ‘gross toys’ and you’ll find not only the toys currently vying for your kids’ attention, you may also find what appealed to you as a child.

Anyone remember making creepy crawlers? Then eating them?

Seems like Santa Claus himself brought that one to my childhood house.

With no children of our own, our home these days is generally gross-free. (Pay no attention to anything my wife might say about me and Mexican food.)

But kids occasionally show up, and the ones we see most frequently know my wife and I are gamers. Ping pong, basketball, board games… we’re usually all in for whatever challenge gets thrown at us.

And that brings us to Bean Boozled.

For those not familiar with this game, allow me to introduce you. I’ll call it a board game but if it has a board, I’ve never seen it.

It does have a spinner. And jelly beans. What could go wrong?

The rules, as explained to us by the kids, are simple: Flick the spinner and whatever color it lands on, you eat a jelly bean of corresponding color.

That’s it. You now know how to play Bean Boozled. When you eat up all the jelly beans, refill bags are available at places like Cracker Barrel. That’s how wholesome the game is.

Except…

Each color jelly bean can have one of two flavors. One of those flavors is tasty; the other, not so much.

That brown jelly bean might indeed taste like chocolate pudding. But it might taste like canned dog food. The white jelly bean? Could be coconut, could be sour milk.

I will attest that while I don’t really know what some of the gross flavors taste like (slimy socks?), they’ve done a pretty good job with replicating the taste of sour milk!

My wife and I weren’t the only adult players, but we hung in there longer than the others. One of them got a booger-flavored bean and dropped out immediately. My wife grabbed a trash can after her first bad bean. She was willing to keep going but prepared to unload any further undesirable flavors.

She didn’t last long.

I became a case study for stupidity. Not only did I hang in there until I had tasted all the flavors, good and bad, but when asked to play again the next night, I agreed.

My wife declined. So did the friend who went down on his first bean. “Tasted boogers all night,” was his excuse.

Nasty.

Which of course is why kids love it.

A word for new moms

Let’s jump right in.

Today’s gripe: Moms who put bows on their babies’ heads.

I seriously don’t get this. Every single girl child that pops up on my social media feed has a bow on her head. What’s going on here? Trying to make your baby look like… Dumbo? Minnie Mouse? A rabbit?

I have a niece claiming that just as with big hair, the bigger the bow, the closer to Jesus.

Yeah, we say that in that South, but it’s only because bad style needs an excuse, if you ask me.

A random baby that may or may not be family.  

Not only is this a silly trend, some of y’all have pretty rotten tastes in bows.*

Somebody needed to say that.

What you see in those pictures is your little angel looking so precious. What I see is trouble looming. So let me just go ahead and prepare you for the conversation your surly teenage daughter is going to have with you in about 17 years:

“Can I ask why you ruined all my baby pictures by wrapping my head up like you were going to give it away for Christmas?”

“Can I get a tattoo? What do mean, you think it will make me look silly? Didn’t seem to bother you when I was a baby.”

“What’s with that bow? Had Wal-Mart run out of pretty ones or was Dollar General having a sale?”

I have another question. All of the babies I see have known fathers. Where are the fathers? Why are the dads not stepping up and saying something?

Be a man! Assert yourself! Or at least claim half ownership of rights to decorating the baby’s head and take the bow off.

I’ve never had children but I can assure you if my wife wanted to put a bow on Dumpling’s head, we’d be striking a deal. "Sure, you can put a bow on her head if I never have to do poopy-diaper duty again for the rest of eternity."

Something like that. I’m a b-a-a-a-d man!

Oh, I can feel your eyes rolling, moms. I know what you’re thinking.

‘Grumpy old man.’

But I know what you’re really doing. You’re trying to mask your baby’s fat head. 

Look, that’s just the facts of life. Most babies’ heads are too big for their bodies when they are born. What happened to just saying a ‘bless her heart’ and knowing she would grow into it eventually?

Has anyone considered that a fat-headed baby with a bow only makes fat-headed baby’s head look bigger?

Moms, trust me on this. Do your baby a favor. Buck the trend.

#saynotothebow (You can steal that; I stole your baby’s picture.)

No need to thank me. Just doing what I can to make you a better parent. Heaven knows, y’all need help.

*No specific accusations are intended for the babies pictured in this story. Although if the shoe fits…

The Eclipse: Just add water

It was something, the eclipse.

Especially to be in the path of totality where the moon would completely block the sun for a few moments.

The stars had aligned for us. And we were ready.

Plans had been in the works for months. One neighbor had ripped off some images from the internet and designed t-shirts celebrating the event. Another neighbor had purchased moonpies and sun chips for snacks.

There was beer.

About the only issue facing us was where to see it. In our area, watching the eclipse start to finish would take about 3 hours and options on where to see the sky for that amount of time were limited.

The few houses that make up our community are in a deep valley, heavily wooded, and a lot of the neighborhood only gets sunshine filtered through the oaks, maples and tall white pine trees surrounding us.

The day before the eclipse, several neighbors wandered up and down the lone dirt road that connects us and determined that the cabin on the end offered the best viewing from both the lower porch and in river itself. Sitting in the river is where many of us wanted to be.

More planning. A small tree would be harvested. It would be wedged between the rocks in the river so that floats could be attached. Further, the river was shallow enough at this spot that chairs could be put in the water.

Bonus: this cabin had a refrigerator in the basement. Those sitting on the porch didn’t have to walk very far to fetch and toss beers to those in the water.

The neck on this event was getting redder by the minute.

Everything went exactly according to plan. The sky was blue, the day was warm, the water was cool. And man, down in our valley where we have limited sunshine to begin with, when totality came, it got dark!

Perfect.

Except…

Many had gathered in the water a good hour or so prior to the start of the eclipse. The event had come and gone, and people were still in the water. Happy people, lounging in their chairs and tubes.

And there was beer.

We were into about the 4th hour of the party when someone just had to point out that no one had taken a bathroom break.

Here we are, lined up one behind the other in the water, and no one had stood up and announced that they would ‘be right back.’ No one had left the water to ‘take a break.’ We just sat in the river.

And there was beer.

These things go unspoken. Or should. But when someone speaks of it, smiles turn to sneers. Suspicious eyes are cast to everyone around.

Further, in the last couple of hours two pairs of those cheap eclipse-viewing glasses had come floating by us, meaning someone we could not see was upstream from us. At least two people, based on the number of glasses.

Were they also in the water? Did they also have beer? These are questions best unanswered.

But the subject had been broached. Resolution became necessary.

In the end, we all agreed none of us would never do anything like that. Despite being older men and women, our friendship was strong and our bladders stronger.

Everything’s cool, everything’s OK.

One day, when you and your children are visiting the loveliest place on God’s earth you’ve ever seen, and you happen upon a pristine little trout stream, gurgling its way over the rocks, tumbling merrily to a larger river somewhere, and Little Precious looks up at you and asks, “Can I take a drink from it?”

Don’t be my dad.

My dad said, “Sure. Why not?”

Myself or Someone Like Me: The Avatar

When you’re 14, you’re never going to be old. Until one day you are. 

When you get older, the best you can hope for is to be cool - the cool mom or dad, the cool aunt or uncle - and hope the young'uns around you see Rico Suave instead of Ricky Ricardo (who would have turned 100 this year).  

That’s not the way it works, of course, but it’s really all most of us have to hang a hat on. That and our increasingly shiny heads.  

Part of the perception of cool in this digital world is the ability to keep up with the latest ‘thing.’ Or at least to be perceived as trying to keep up.  

So, when my teenage companions suggested I needed to be on Snapchat, I surrendered my phone.  

“Set it up.”  

If you’re not familiar with Snapchat, my best and shortest description would be that it’s texting with pictures.

There’s so much more to it, but that’s the basic function.  

Further, unless you make a special effort to save a Snapchat, it disappears for good, typically after 10 seconds. There is a lot to like about that, especially if you are fond of sharing pictures of you doing stupid or illegal things (I’m guessing).  

I suppose it’s because your chats disappear the Snapchat logo is a ghost.

The ghost is actually a blank canvas. You can insert a photo of you or anything else in that space. I had chosen to do nothing, and it was not sitting well with the 16-year old beside me.  

She suggested I needed an avatar. In digital-speak, an avatar is a digital representative of you.  

Think of it as a personal emoji.  

For example, take your basic smiley face emoji 😊. Now, give Smiley Face some of your features, like the same color hair, that same skin tone, your dimples, glasses, if you wear them, etc.  

You’re basically creating a cartoon character in your likeness.  

You bet there’s an app for that. Several, probably.  

Let the games begin.  

She would look at me, then look at her options for designing me. “You need a longer face,” she commented as she picked a template to make that happen.  

“His nose isn’t long enough,” her brother offered, thus involving himself in the process.  

It started getting personal. Really personal.  

My wrinkles were discussed. Scars and moles were talked about. And I guess I had bloodshot eyes that day because the question, ‘can you make the whites of his eyes red?’ was asked.  

Assigning my avatar white hair was a no-brainer, but they argued over which available option looked most like a guy going bald.  

Ultimately, my avatar was finished. It's not easy seeing yourself through the eyes of a teenager, but I wasn’t too disappointed. Given that they were only creating my face, I avoided some other pitfalls common to men of a certain age:  

-pot belly 

-corroded toenails 

-ear hair 

-nose hair 

-turkey neck 

-baggy pants (‘cuz you got no butt)  

I thought I got off pretty easy. The 14-year old thought his sister could have done a better job around my eyes.  

“He’s got some pretty gnarly eyebrows.”  

I do. And he will too one day. As we’re all fond of saying: There’s only one option to getting older, and you ain’t gonna like it much.  

But I’m good with where I am in life. And I'm keeping busy by working on my own app, inspired by Snapchat. Since it will only work on teenagers, its working name is Teenzap.  

Here's how it will work: use the app to take a photo of any teenager, and in 10 seconds, they will disappear.  

Not the photo. In fact, you may want to keep the photo. It will be all that remains of that precious pimply face.  

I'll keep you posted.