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Excerpt of an e-mail 24 Sept. 1999
Got a call this evening from the Riley Festival Poetry Committee Chairman telling me that my poem for this year's contest was selected as the first place winner.
They want me to attend the poetry seminar on October 8 to read it to the masses. 
The theme this year was based on Riley's poem, "When The Frost Is On The Punkin".
As you know, I entered in 1994, 1995, and 1996 and took two first place ribbons and one second place ribbon. I hung up my pen (retired) in 1997 and 1998 then decided to make a comeback this year.
Anyhow, I thought you might be interested in my latest poetic endeavor.
And The Winner is...
In the 1999 James Whitcomb Riley Poetry Contest
as penned by Robert L. Harrison   The Sagamore of The Wabash

When The Frost Is On The Punkin’

When the frost is on the punkin and Halloween draws nigh,
An’ the kids are all excited ‘cause they know that by and by
They’ll all go "trick or treatin’" in their costumes bright and gaudy,
Then Thanksgivin’ will be comin’ round ‘fore you can utter "howdy",
And last of all, but not the least, for all folks, young and old
Will be that grand occasion of the Greatest Story Ever Told.

When the frost is on the punkin and the younguns want a story
From us oldsters ‘bout the times gone by when we wuz in our glory,
How we overturned outhouses an’ soaped winders by the score,
An’ left wagons on the farmers’ barns; (they don’t do that anymore).
How we tick-tacked neighbors’s winders, an’ with two cans an’ a string
Made a noise that wuz more scary than almost anything.

When the frost is on the punkin, us old folks can remember
How it wuz when we wuz young from October to December,
How we dug the spuds an’ turnips an’ picked apples, big an’ red,
And stored ‘em all for winter out in the old root shed.
How we gathered walnuts by the bag an’ hulled ‘em out and dried ‘em,
An’ how our hands wuz black with stain but we never tried to hide’ em.

It sometimes seems our youthful days improve as time goes by,
Old Father Time, he has his tricks, just the same as you and I ,
He’ll make us wish for bygone days that can never come again.
How easily do we forget the times of strife and pain.
And Memory, that fickle dame, can bring tears to these old eyes
When the frost is on the punkin ‘neath the cold October skies.

Robert L. Harrison
September 1, 1999

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