The phrase "Noon-time, June-time, down around the river" has been in my head all week. It's from the poem by James Whitcomb Riley, known as the "Hoosier Poet". Hoosier is a term used to describe those of us from the state of Indiana. The word is derived from a pioneer days greeting. When approaching a home, you shouted, "Hello, the cabin!" to avoid being shot. The inhabitants would then shout back, "Who'sh 'ere?" Hence, over time the slurring became "hoosier".
At the end of the nineteenth century, when he was at the height of his career, James Whitcomb Riley was the most popular poet in America. Few literary figures have ever become so popular in their own lifetime. His poetry anthologies were best sellers and his public live poetry readings were sellouts.
As a little girl in Indiana, I fondly remember sitting in the big green vinyl covered rocker, on my grandmother's lap, listening to her read such poems to me as Little Orphan Annie, The Raggedy Man and When the Frost is on the Pumpkin. Despite dismissals by intellectuals, Riley has often been referred to as the Charles Dickens of the Midwest. Of his thousand poems, over half of them are charmingly written in the dialect of the day. I always keep my eye out for volumes of his vintage poetry, published by Bobbs-Merrill, which are often graced by lovely illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy.
vintage book from Willow's collection