Thursday, November 13, 2008

Frost is on the punkin

I grew up hearing the phrase, "the frost is on the pumpkin". So naturally, I use the phrase a lot myself. Once when my oldest was in preschool, I repeated the phrase to him. He insisted he could not go to preschool until he saw the frost on a pumpkin. We hadn't bought our halloween pumpkin yet, so off we went in search... Luckily, we found a pumpkin on a porch pretty quickly. I asked my little sweetie if he *saw* the frost and he insisted that he did ;-)

Fast forward to last autumn. I was enjoying Lana's lovely blog - Simple Joys where she had posted a poem titled "When the Frost is on the Punkin" by James Whitcomb Riley. So this is where the phrase came from! I was so thrilled to read it and just loved its folky vernacular.

I was even more thrilled to find Lana's lovely frosty pumpkin creations. It represents warm and happy memories for me...
Recently I was at an estate sale and discovered this wonderful book:
This edition has a copyright of 1915 (originally published in 1883) and is inscribed: "To my dear Anna Mae, so she won't forget, Claire". The binding is loose and the pages quite yellowed, but what a treasure it is to me! James Whitcomb Riley was born in Greenfield, Indiana in 1849. His poetry was considered "childrens verses" and thus this "reader" for children. The Riley Reader even contains "A Suggestive Program for the Observance of Riley Day". "Because Riley Day is already on the Hoosier calender of public observance, some suggestions that may help to give variety are made in the following pages." Suggestions include songs, recitations and quotations... What a treasure!
The illustrations are beautiful as well.
Here is the poem for you to enjoy... The vernacular takes a little effort, but really makes the poem just perfect.
When the Frost is on the Punkin
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here--
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries--kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below--the clover over-head!
--O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!
I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me--
I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whole-indurin' flock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!
James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)
Wishing you frost on the punkin, angels wantin' boardin' and all that comes with this lovely season
Blessings, Patti


Tina said...

What a nice post. You made me smile warmly this morning.

Lana said...

That book is certainly a treasure! I'm remember when your son wanted to see frost on a pumpkin... so sweet!

Lana said...

Gee... I need to slow down, lol!
I meant "I remember..."

Suzanne said...

Such a wonderful poem, thanks for sharing. Aren't Lana's pumpkins the best?

La Donna Welter said...

What a beautiful post!
La Donna

Petra said...

How sweet!
That book is a real treasure!