The price you pay

corn kernels and dollar bills
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

My eyes are glued up to the shelf, a brand-new pair of Mucks. They’d be in my 

possession, but I lack the certain bucks. 

I could go without my Pepsi for a month or maybe two. But the headache would 

be pounding like a freight train passin’ through.  

I’ve got my Visa plastic for emergencies and such. The boots are kinda spendy. 

Do I really care that much? 

 I grab my precious cargo and I’m tingling to my roots. The clerk says, “Hundred 

eighty.” Must be gold in them there boots! 

To purchase I can justify. It’s more than just a treat. No more sittin’ in the saddle 

with my cold and frozen feet.

I’ve waited days to wear them. Time to saddle up Ol’ Blue. But my boots won’t fit 

the stirrups. What’s a broke cowboy to do?

The boots ain’t never goin’ back. I burned the dang receipt. My wife will never 

know the cost. Is that what’s called deceit?

The Co-op might be open. I’ve seen stirrups there to buy. They close at 6:00. It’s 

6:05. No use to even try.

I’ll drive out to the shoppin’ mall. They’ve got a western store. But their prices 

are extravagant, not for the country poor. 

I’m riflin’ through the stirrups. Find a pair that fits my Mucks. I take ’em to the 

clerk. She says, “Two hundred twenty bucks.”

This time I cough and choke on down my Wrigley’s Spearmint chew. The clerk 

said, “Sure they’re spendy, but they’re made for guys like you.”

I wonder what she meant ‘cuz I ain’t got the cash to spare. I swear she meant 

hi-rollers with their nose up in the air. 

Still, I bought the brand-new stirrups with my plastic, once again. Does it hurt to 

use my Visa card, every now and then?

The smuggish patrons, back in line, are giving me the stare. They’re prob’ly 

thinkin’, “Poor cowboy.” I hurry out of there!

I’m addin’ up my purchases. Looks like four hundred bucks. And with the 

Gov’ner’s share I’m in the class of stupid clucks.

I burned the Visa card receipt. That’s safe from where I stand. I’m wonderin’ now 

if my warm feet are worth the half a grand?


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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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