When I graduated from high school I was 5’9” and weighed 140 lbs. —soaking wet. Four years later, when I got out of college, I had shot upward to 6’1” and ballooned outward to a whopping 175 lbs. I figured I was finished growing and settled into pants and shirt sizes that I could remember for the rest of my life. Over the years, I have had to readjust occasionally, but not without a fight.
 A 32” waist size was just fine for a few years after college until, as Dolly Parton once said, it looked like someone was trying to fit ten pounds of potatoes into a five-pound bag. I conceded and started purchasing 34” jeans. That lasted another ten years until I graduated to a 36” waistline and that’s where I drew the line. For with a 36” inseam, I concluded that there was no way I was ever going to be bigger around than I was up and down. Never say never.
About this time last year, I started complaining to my wife that she must be screwing up the laundry somehow, because my pants were shrinking to the point that I could barely get them on and fastened. She informed me very quickly that she was just as good at laundering my blue jeans as she was cooking and all I needed to do was back away from the feed trough about ten minutes earlier each feeding. Did she mean I should eat faster?
No big problem since I always beef up a little during the winter months.  Hey, that’s just nature’s way of protecting from the cold of the winter with an extra layer of insulation. I was sure I’d slim down this past summer with all the field work and heat. I didn’t, but I secretly slipped out and bought a couple of pairs of 37” pants. I didn’t tell anyone, but Judy often asked me why I was doing laundry every couple of nights while sitting around in my underwear. “Just trying to do my part,” I lied.  
Here lately, even the “secret” 37” pants were becoming tighter and tighter. On my annual trip to the doctor last week, the old physician checked me out and lectured me on how my blood pressure was running high again. He was about to prescribe a more powerful drug than the one I presently take — until he looked at my weight chart. “Jerry,” he began, “if you would lose about 20 pounds, I think your present prescription would be strong enough.”  He continued, “It looks to me like your pants are so tight, that that in itself may be causing your heart to pump with a little extra pressure.”
“Couldn’t I just wear a smaller hat, Doc, and equalize the pressure?” I asked. He failed to see the humor.  “Will my insurance cover the purchase of bigger pants, since it sounds like that may be a doctor’s order?” Again — just the look. I may need to find a doctor with a better sense of humor.
Since my nurse wife goes to the same Doctor, I knew I had to ‘fess up to her with my new dilemma. Diet or wardrobe change? Her answer was, “Both.”
More salads (without the half bottle of dressing that I normally use), less bread, smaller portions of meat and absolutely no dessert, was my wife’s instructions. She even suggested I cut out the mountains of cookies, chips and popcorn that have always been the long winter night staples around here. Just go ahead and shoot me now.
“And what about the pants?” she asked, adding insult to injury.  
Reluctantly, I replied, “Only if you’ll get them for me. There’s no way I’m going to take a pair of 38 x 36’s up to the counter and embarrass myself.”
Yesterday, she brought in two pairs of the gigantic, cowboy-cut, blue jeans.  They look like they must have been made by Omar the tent-maker, but I slipped them on anyway.
“How do they feel,” she asked.
“Hmmm…I thought they would seem looser.”
Jerry Crownover is a farmer and a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University. He is a native of Baxter County, Arkansas, and an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry about his books, or to arrange speaking engagements, you may contact him by calling 1-866-532-1960 or visiting www.ozarksfn.com and clicking on 'Contact Us.'

Melissa FullerEditorial / OpinionsArkansasWhen I graduated from high school I was 5’9” and weighed 140 lbs. —soaking wet. Four years later, when I got out of college, I had shot upward to 6’1” and ballooned outward to a whopping 175 lbs. I figured I was finished growing and settled into pants and...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma