STATE POEM
(Laws 1973, p. 568)

Howdy Folks: The Official Will Rogers Poem

by David Randolph Milsten

Well, here goes some scribblin' that's a little past due,
But I reckon I'm always a-thinkin' 'bout you.
I've been readin' the papers in my own little way,
And I see where you messed up my last birthday.
Through divine television I caught the dedication
And heard some tributes by a mighty swell nation.
Now that's a powerful nice shack you built on the hill;
But that's just like the Sooners, it gives them a thrill.
I never did nuthin' to cause all that fuss;
And sometimes, folks, I could almost cuss.
But, dern you, I love you, I guess it's my pride
That chokes me all up and hurts me inside.
I heard Jesse, Irvin, Cohan and Fred
And Amon and Eddie, what nice things they said.
I always called Claremore a big little town,
With guys like Mort Harrison and others around.
I see where Joe Crosson winged there for a day;
Remember him, Wiley? We slept all the way.
But I'll tell you the part which touched me the most,
And it ain't like me to speak up and boast.
It was when dear Mary pulled the curtain string
For my act in bronze -- what a homely thing!
But I guess it was sentiment that filled the place,
'Cause my kids kind of cried and I saw Betty's face.
God bless my old partner, she held up her head;
and though none of you heard me, she knew what I said.
And I spied Sister Sally with a shy little glance;
She's all the West means, charm and romance.
Old Jo had a job a-chisslin' my mug;
Why, I got more wrinkles than a Navajo rug.
So you're honorin' Oklahoma with a replica of me --
Move over Sequoyah, for another Cherokee.
Well, much obliged friends, for the money you spent,
And the words that were spoken by our President.
I wish you had erected a memorial to peace;
We'd be happy up here if war talk would cease.
But I ain't ungrateful, I just can't see
Such a hullabaloo 'bout a cowboy like me.
Well, so long folks, it's time to retire;
I got to keep a date with Odd McIntyre.

LEGEND "Howdy Folks," original poem of the State of Oklahoma and the Will Rogers Memorial at Claremore, Oklahoma, describes the dedication of the Memorial on November 4, 1938. In 1941, by House Concurrent Resolution No. 7, the Eighteenth Legislature of Oklahoma gave the poem official recognition. The characters mentioned are Jesse Jones, statesman, House; Irvin S. Cobb, noted writer; George M. Cohan, famous song and dance man; Fred Stone, stage and screen star; Amon G. Carter, publisher, Ft. Worth; Eddie Cantor, radio and stage comedian; Morton R. Harrison, member of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission; Joe Crosson, famous aviator who returned the bodies of Rogers and Post by air, from Alaska; Wiley Post, record flier with whom Rogers was flying at the time of his death; Mary Rogers, Betty Rogers and Sally McSpadden, daughter, respectively wife and sister of Will Rogers; Jo Davidson, sculptor of Rogers' statute; Sequoyah, famous Cherokee linguist; Franklin D. Roosevelt, thirty-second President of the United States; and O.O. McIntyre, noted columnist.

Copyright (c) 1939, David Randolph Milsten; Copyright (c) renewed 1966

This was retyped from the Oklahoma Almanac, 1997-1998, Oklahoma Department of Libraries.

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