I need stability in my life – always have.  I wear the same style and brand of blue jeans that I did thirty years ago.  They’re a different size, of course, but surprisingly, not that much more expensive.  When I had to quit wearing boots because of my back, I switched to a style of shoe that I’ve also stuck with for many years now.  My work shirts have been the same brand for at least fifteen years as well – plaid design, button-down collar, long-sleeved in the winter, and short-sleeved in the summer.  Heck, my wife never worries about me leaving her because she knows I detest change too much to even think about breaking in a new woman.  I guess my need for stability is why my life seems to be out of whack right now.  
Last week, I went to the feed store to pick up a load of the same bag feed I’ve fed the bulls for the last ten years.  When the proprietor gave me the total, and before I wrote the check, I asked him if he was sure about the sum.  “Yep,” he answered confidently, “that’s $6.75 per bag.”
 “But wasn’t it $6.50 per bag just two weeks ago?”  I asked.
 “Yeah, but that was two weeks ago.”
The sad thing is that it was $6.25 two weeks before that. Yesterday, I filled the truck with diesel fuel at the local station.  Even being familiar with the volatility of fuel prices, I was a bit shocked when the pump clicked off at $116.74.  I looked down at the price per gallon and it showed $3.29 per gallon.  As I paid, I couldn’t resist a little good natured ribbing toward my neighbor that runs the station.  
“Wasn’t the price $3.19 yesterday?”
 “It sure was,” he declared, “and it may be $3.39 by tonight so feel thankful.”
Thankful was not the emotion I was feeling, but I paid him anyway.
Today, I called my propane supplier to order a tankfull for the home place.  “Do I dare ask how much it costs?” I queried.
After a rather long silence he sheepishly answered, “$2.09 per gallon.”
“But it was just $1.59 when I filled it last fall.”
The standard answer followed, “But that was last fall.”  
After the propane guy left this afternoon, I called my fertilizer dealer.  As soon as I asked about prices he just started laughing to the extent that I couldn’t clearly understand what it might cost, but I’m pretty sure I heard something close to $600 per ton IF they could even get it.  
 “But it was only $400 last year,”  I pleaded.
 “But that was last year,” he said.  
Depression was beginning to set in until the phone rang.  My oldest son called from graduate school to tell me he needed money for books.  Then, my youngest son called from college to tell me that he had gotten yet another parking ticket.  Finally, my wife got home from work to tell me she received a speeding citation.  At last, some stability had returned to my life.
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 through his website at www.jerrycrownover.com


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