Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Invasion of the Blue Coats

Ah, June, it is usually hot and humid, good corn growing weather, here in Mooland. And June brings throngs of teens, all clad in blue corduroy coats with gold insignias on their backs, flanked by Indiana FFA and their chapter names. For those who have never seen such an invasion, it is annual here, as predictable as the state wide squabbles about whether or not to go to DST (that was just settled, btw, we now leave AZ and HI as the only states where one gets relief from the twice yearly ritual of clock changing).

The young men are in their (thick) blue coats, white shirts, black pants and ties. The young women, the same, though some have skirts up to there. FFA used to stand for "Future Farmers of America" but I have been told it stands for "nothing" now, as agriculture, agribusiness, take most FFA'ers to many other jobs than tilling the family plot. FFA is serious business in the cornbelt...where I grew up in western MA, it was vaguely acknowledged as a school club. Here the FFA state officers take a year off before college to meet their obligations.

Our "Ag Ed" faculty used to be housed in my college, but they lobbied successfully to alter their split formula with Agriculture, and now are primarily in that college, and moved their offices to that college too. Salaries are better in Agriculture too, though Ag Ed is pretty low on the totem pole there, as it is not considered a "science" like agronomy or biochemistry. Still, more money and a change of scenery. I miss seeing them around; their academic advisor gave us a rhubarb plant from northern Indiana that my wife prizes, and I always asked them tidbits of info about my surroundings here, such as what a "pole barn" is.

Well, this year, it has cooled off a bit, and is quite windy this week. Maybe the blue corduroy coat will come in handy!

Update, 6/28: Just watched Napoleon Dynamite last night, loved it, and FFA bluecoats figure in this funny, quirky film.

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