I spent my first year of college as an ag major--"Mechanized Agriculture," it was called.

I did OK, but several of the courses made me realize I needed to find a different line of work, and that's what led me to where I am now, and have been for more than 40 years.

One course I went into with little or no residual knowledge was Welding, in the SDSU Engineering Shops Department.

We had an arc welder on the farm, and while I did use it some, I was not good at it. However, I held own in the class, but when we got to gas welding, I was a rank beginner.

One day we had to gas-weld two pieces of steel. We did it once for practice and the second time it counted.

My practice weld went fine, with just the right mix, I guess, of  oxygen and acetylene. But the second time, the time that counted, was a disaster.

As it happened, the instructor was standing over me, watching, and he could tell it wasn't going well.

I can still see his face, and I remember his name,, as he stood there, hands on hips, and said :"Yer havin' a helluva time, aren't you?"

He was right--I was. And the phrase lives to this day, at our house and in our family.

.Even one of my sisters-in-law, in the right situation, will stand there and say, "Yer haviin' a helluva time, aren't you?"

True, it's crude, but it applies.

And 44 years later, it was my last attempt at welding. By the way, I got a "C" for the course.