Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Here, by the Owl

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Here, by the Owl

Article excerpt

A while back I was asked who has had the greatest influence on my live. I hadn't ever given it much thought, like most folks, I guess. After considerin' for a while I came up with five people that I could say actually affected the direction of my thinkin'. My dad, Doc Brimhall, John Basabe, Red Steagall and Rupert Mansell.

Mr. Mansell was my agricultural education teacher in Las Cruces, New Mexico. "Here by the owl. The owl is the symbol of knowledge and wisdom..." It's hard for a 16-year-old kid to evaluate wisdom. I remember Rupert, as we referred to him behind his back, tryin' to teach that rag tag bunch of boys anything (it was all boys back then). Lots of us really didn't have much in the way of money. Our projects included 4 or 5 scraggly sheep, or a couple of steers, some pecan trees, rabbits or whatever. Sure, there were a few boys whose folks were good farmers and had impressive projects but most of us didn't. Rupert treated us all the same.

What we all had was a love of agriculture and the optimism of youth. That was what Rupert had to work with. He taught us that dirt was under your fingernails and soil was what you tilled. He tried, often in vain, to teach us how to weld and work on machinery. How to block sheep, fit a steer, castrate a hog, and how to tell a rib steak from a chuck. It was not until much later that I came to realize how much an agricultural educator has to know.

I said Rupert treated everybody the same. …

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