James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

The Squirtgun Uncle Maked Me


Uncle Sidney, when he wuz here,
Maked me a squirtgun out o' some
Elder-bushes 'at growed out near
Where wuz the brickyard--'way out clear
To where the toll-gate come!

So when we walked back home again,
He maked it, out in our woodhouse where
Wuz the old workbench, an' the old jack-plane,
An' the old 'pokeshave, an' the tools all lay'n'
Ist like he wants 'em there.

He sawed it first with the old hand-saw;
An' nen he peeled off the bark, an' got
Some glass an' scraped it; an' told 'bout Pa,
When _he_ wuz a boy an' fooled his Ma,
An' the whippin' 'at he caught.

Nen Uncle Sidney, he took an' filed
A' old arn ramrod; an' one o' the ends
He screwed fast into the vise; an' smiled,
Thinkin', he said, o' when he wuz a child,
'Fore him an' Pa wuz mens.

He punched out the peth, an' nen he put
A plug in the end with a hole notched through;
Nen took the old drawey-knife an' cut
An' maked a handle 'at shoved clean shut
But ist where yer hand held to.

An' he wropt th'uther end with some string an' white
Piece o' the sleeve of a' old tored shirt;
An' nen he showed me to hold it tight,
An' suck in the water an' work it right
An' it 'ud ist squirt an' squirt!

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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