The Price You Pay

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Bryce Angell – The outdoors has always been a large part of my life. My father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years and I was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. We took many great trips into the Yellowstone area. Even now that I’m older, we still ride into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. My poems are mostly of personal experience. I am now retired and enjoying life to the fullest. I plan to do more riding and writing.

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?

  – Bryce Angell

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