When I graduated from high school, I was 5-foot-9-inches tall and weighed around 145 pounds. By the time I came home for the summer, after my first year of college, I was 6-foot-1-inch, 160 pounds, and had finally finished growing….up.

My girth increased, ever so gradually, for the next 30 years; so slowly that hardly anyone noticed, and I was fortunate enough to be able to eat just about anything I wanted, and in whatever amount I chose – and I did. Somewhere around my early 50s, either my diet or my metabolism, or maybe both, changed. Suddenly (at least it seemed that way to me), I was buying the next waist size bigger, every time I went to purchase a new pair of Wranglers. The old loose-fitting, size L, Carhartt feeding coat, which I had worn for years, was replaced by a rather snug-fitting XL size.

I also began to notice a trend, when I would meet old friends, that I hadn’t seen for a couple of years, and receive not-so-subtle comments like, “You’re wife must be a really good cook,” or “Looks like you’ve kicked that anorexia in the butt.” My farming buddies would pile on with statements such as, “I sure wish I could buy a load of stockers with your rate of gain,” or “What do you suppose your yearling weight EPD is?” Real friends, huh?

Over the past 10 years, I’ve noticed that I don’t get out of the way of wild calves, protective momma cows or angry bulls nearly as fast as I used to. I blame it on age, and a recent check-up resulted in a check-LIST of all my aches and pains that I experience. After a couple of minutes in silent review of the rather long list, the learned physician stated, “You know, Mr. Crownover, if you could lose a few pounds, that would take a lot of the stress off your feet, knees and hips.” She went on to add, “It would also reduce your chances of a stroke or heart attack, by quite a bit.” 

“Yeah, yeah,” I replied. “That’s the same thing my last doctor said, and I out-lived him.”

Then, yesterday, all the subtle little signs, as well as the not-so-subtle warnings, from people I care for and respect, came to fruition in a life-changing event.

I was on my way back from the creek place, where I had finished feeding hay for the morning. I was driving the tractor on a straight, level, paved county road, when all of a sudden there was a huge POP!, then a WHAM!, followed by an immediate drop of my posterior, of about eight inches, and it felt like my spine had suffered a compression fracture. Immediately, I stopped the tractor and got out to see what the problem might be. Upon exiting the tractor, I quickly discovered that one of the two springs that keep the tractor seat suspended, had broken in half.

I start my diet tomorrow.

Jerry Crownover farms in Lawrence County. He is a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University, and is an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

Jerry CrownoverEditorial / OpinionsA new Jerry,A new year,diet,Jerry CrownoverWhen I graduated from high school, I was 5-foot-9-inches tall and weighed around 145 pounds. By the time I came home for the summer, after my first year of college, I was 6-foot-1-inch, 160 pounds, and had finally finished growing….up. My girth increased, ever so gradually, for the next 30...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma