folk flag photo

A note from the author:
I became acquainted with the works of James Whitcomb Riley after moving to the Hoosier state in 1958. For some reason I "took" to the dialect of Riley's poetry and soon became an owner of his Complete Works. I have studied Riley, visited his Lockerbie Home often, have given talks and programs on the beloved Hoosier Poet and have been deeply touched by the humanness in his poems. Sitting on the dock one day after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, I wondered, "What response would Riley have made to this?" The following "Pome" is something Riley might have written, though so much better. But you know what? I "shore felt good after writin' it." I did go to my scrap bag and make the flag, and I must admit, "it is fittin' fer a Presidint."

A Flag fer the Presidint
by Joanne J. Hannon

"Will you make me a flag, Ma?" queried the little boy.
A real one fer flyin', not jest a toy?"

"My son, I p‘haps c'uld, but I'd ruther, my honey,
Buy a brand spankin' new one - ‘cept we ain't got the money."

"I know you don't Ma, but you got you some thread,
An' that ol' sewin' ‘chine that sets by yore bed."

"Well, I reckin' yer right son, now that's an idee,
Fetch me our rag bag, and let's have a look-see.
The stars they'll be easy- I got this old sheet.....
An' the blue from them over-alls shore w'uld look neat.
We kin use this old quilt fer the stripes o' white,
It shore suited Grandma on a cold winter nite.
Here's a strip o' red from the perjammers you wore,
An' ‘nother one from that piece I bought to the store.
Here's a bit from your Daddy's cowboy shirt
An' the red checkered flannel he wore when he'd flirt.

"Now, how many's that, let's see, that'd be four........
Hmmmm....My red flannel nitie, that'd work for shore.
Now son, keep on lookin', you got any other?
Oh, that red checkered ging'am was a shirt for yore brother!
Jest one more piece will settle this-------
Well if my eyes ain't spotted Mama's dotted swiss,
That she wore to the picnic at ol' Mill Bluff
Where she met your granddaddy, ol' ruff and tuff.

"Enuff o' that ramblin.' Let's put her tagether,
An' see if she'll fly in this Hoosier wether.

"Now there, my son, I reckon she's done,
I hope that you like her, she's not like the bought ones."

"Oh, Ma, she's so purty, she's the best of ‘em all,
An' I know when he gits it he'll come round fer a call."

"Gits it? What's the meanin' o' that?"

"Well, Ma, I dint tell ya on account o' yer nervusmint,
But the flag aint fer me, it's fer the Presidint.
Ya see, Ma, he's so busy an' worried.
The cuntry's all jangled, it's got him all hurried.
I'm thinkin' it might he'p him to have his own flag,
And I know that he'll love that it's from our rag bag.
Culd you write a note, Ma, culd ya please?

Dear Presidint Bush,
Here is my dollare. I earnt it rakin' leaves fer Mr. Webster. Ma makes me pray ever day for them younguns in Afganerstant. We also are sendin' you a flag fer yer own. This flag is just chocked full o' good stuff cause it come outta our rag bag and the stuff kinda hugged everbody. So I'm thinkin' that makes this flag like our hug to you. I shore am mad at them terrist people, an' Ma and me do wanna thank ya fer tryin' to do somthin' about it.
Me and my Ma.

"Thanks, Ma, you shore done good."


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Copyright 2001 by Joanne J. Hannon. All rights reserved. You may distribute free electronic or printed copies of this poem to family and/or friends, but you may not sell or use for commercial purposes without written consent of the copyright holder.

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