Joe Scatterscrew is a fictitious agriculture teacher. He was a created in the 1950s by the Head of Agricultural Education at Texas A&M University, E. V. Walton. Professor Walton wrote the stories to use in preparing future teachers. The characters and setting are from Texas; yet the message found in each story is universal. The stories are funny but typically have a definite point to them about conducting a quality agricultural education program. Professor Walton wrote at least 25 Joe Scatterscrew stories.
I was first introduced to Joe Scatterscrew as an undergraduate student at Tarleton State College (now a university) in Texas. The Scatterscrew stories were a regular fixture in our classes and I looked forward to reading each new one. I have attempted to collect them all and have even written three new Scatterscrew stories, trying to imitate the style of Walton.
These stories have been used over the years with agricultural teacher education classes in Texas and neighboring states. They basically point out how NOT to teach agriculture. In reading the stories one must remember the era in which they were written — the 1950s. Therefore, there will be no female students and the curriculum and technology was different back then. However, the humor does remain and the points are still valid today.
Since we are fast approaching the Christmas season, it would be appropriate to share the letter that Joe wrote to Santa. From time to time in future Friday Footnotes, I will share some of the other Scatterscrew stories.
This will be the last Friday Footnote until January. I am taking a break to spend time with family and friends and encourage you to do the same.
JOE WRITES SANTA
E. V. Walton
Dear Santy Clause,
It may seem a little strange to you, me, Joe Scatterscrew, writing to tell you what I need for Christmas but it helps a little for a man to get it off of his mind. For one thing, I sure would appreciate a new Area Supervisor. This one I got is mean. He’s always a doggin a man to death to do a better job. I would like an old wore out one who is wise enough to let a man alone. Another thing I want is for them fellers at A&M to quit sending out so much stuff. I only got a small waste paper basket and all them teaching plans and stuff like blueprints and so on, overloads my waste paper basket. Besides, it makes me feel like maybe I ought to be doing a better job.
I would also appreciate some disaster like a cyclone or a bad spell of lightening which would eliminate my superintendent and principal. They keep a hounding me about my housekeeping and not attending faculty meetings and keeping boys out late from classes and other unreasonable things like that.
Also I sure would appreciate it if you could see that PeeWee, Willie, Adolph, and 8-Ball would quit school. Them boys deal me misery.
I would like for the Jackson Motor Company to give me a new pickup without having to turn this one in. I’m pretty sure they ain’t going to understand how it’s possible for a pickup to get so beat up in one year.
Santy Clause, I would be definitely in favor of Mister Bob Craig getting called back in the Army or transferred over to LSU or something like that so he would quit teaching these welding courses. Four or five teachers around me took them courses. Now they have adult classes going and that sort of stuff makes me show up bad in district meetings.
If possible I wish you would transfer Old Lewis Taylor off to some desolate place like Texas Tech or Muleshoe or maybe back to Shelby County. He’s so close down there at Austin that the first thing you know he’s going to be a wanting some of us to get busy on our own pay raise. Why can’t he be satisfied to let it just take care of itself. Wouldn’t cost us more than about two hunnert dollars apiece to ignore the whole business.
Give all us Ag teachers less work, more money, 3 months paid vacation, and retirement at the end of ten years.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL