My Ag Teacher

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Transitioning from junior high to high school weren’t no treat.
For a country boy who despised sitting all day in a seat.

So, my father told me, “Sign up for the Agriculture class.
There’ll be days out in the field and that will get you off your rear.”

The year was 1969, or somewhere there about.
The class would teach me confidence.  A man can’t be without.

The teacher called the roll he’d pulled out of his leather bag.
Said, “This class is Agriculture but we just call it “Ag.”

The Ag instructor looked to be a solid six-foot-three.
Intimidation was the word for me at five foot three.

He had a reputation with the paddle on the wall.
And I’ve watched a quivering lip come from the toughest of them all.

I weren’t the brightest student to have walked the halls at school.
But I soon deduced the paddle came from trouble acting cool.

That year I kept my nose clean and the paddle off my butt.
And I learned the FFA would build me up, not in a rut.

In my second year of Ag and at the end of class one day.
My Ag instructor asked me, “Got a project on the way?”

I told him that I promised Dad, I’d build a new squeeze chute.
The project would require some skills and confidence to boot.

If I took on this whole project, all alone, I’d soon be lost.
Now the project would have two of us, me and my cousin Ross.

We honed up on our welding,  learned some fabricating skill.
But class time cutting into shop proved little more than thrill.

As seniors we spent every day, two hours in the shop.
The time worked on the squeeze chute kept us busy, on the hop.

We welded every piece in place. Then ground the bad welds down.
One student asked if they’d been welded by a circus clown.

We’d weld the iron, then grind it down to look better than before.
We sprayed two coats of red they said would last ten years or more.

Our project was complete. I never thought was possible.
Our Ag instructor taught us how to reach into our soul.

I walked away with confidence on graduation day.
The Ag program and FFA proved worthy all the way.

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Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.

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