Holy moly, have you seen the prices on pumpkins lately?

This has been a rather rough year to get ready for Halloween but I’ve tried to get into the spirit. More than a month ago, I purchased some new Halloween decorations at a local store.

I hung them up and obtained a stash of candy for the trick or treaters.

All I had left was to purchase a proper pumpkin to make a Jack-O-Lantern or two. It’s a tradition that I don’t want to leave behind and I love Halloween.

At the stores, pumpkins are $8 to $10 this year. I even saw a big one at a grocery store and it was $54.

I know I sound like an old curmudgeon but $10 for a pumpkin? $54 for a really nice one? No, that’s not going to happen. The dang thing is going to sit on my porch and eventually be stolen by some kid or thrown into the trash bin.

At the risk of sounding like my father, who was born in 1913, everything has gone wacko.

There’s a computer chip shortage, a delivery shortage, a supply-chain shortage, a turkey shortage, a labor shortage and even a cash-in-my-wallet shortage.

Everything is spiraling out of control, but will it ever stop?

Prices at the gas pump inch up and up. It’s getting serious and the thought of even taking a day trip seems like a dream. A couple years ago, I purchased a hybrid gas/electric car for only one reason — high gas mileage. As I’m getting nearly 50 miles per gallon, those high prices at the pump are not impacting me as much as they could be.

For once, planning to fix a problem that didn’t exist at the time has paid off.

Now I can go a month or more between fill ups. I have also curbed a lot of my driving with a recent move from southern Pinetop to central Show Low.

In that move, my rent also jumped dramatically so trimming all spending was required.

Fast food has left my diet. First, it’s not healthy but it’s also no longer cheap.

Remember when going to McDonalds was possible for just a few dollars? Remember the “dollar menu?”

Well it’s gone and an Egg McMuffin meal will now cost you $9.

I’m sticking to a bowl of cereal at home in the morning, even though that box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is about $5 and milk is $2.50 a gallon.

Toilet paper and paper towels are not only expensive, they seem to be missing from local store shelves lately.

Growing up as the son of a grocery store owner, I can’t imagine having shortages of things selling on the store shelves.

“We live in the land of plenty,” or at least we used to.

My father used to talk about how inexpensive things were when he was a child. We would just roll our eyes when he brought it up. Now I get it.

As we age, so does our economy. Everyone is trying to make more and more income, creating inflation, higher prices, hunger and poverty.

A dollar is no longer worth what it was yesterday.

If you can continue to make more money – you survive and even prosper. If you can’t get an increase in wages, then you move into the poor house and struggle for shelter and food.

This is why there are more homeless people on the streets.

While I am longing to make a Jack-O-Lantern, my brothers and sisters are hungry tonight. I think that $10 would be better spent if I donated it to the local Salvation Army or a food pantry.

My neighbor’s kid is just going to have to steal someone else’s Jack-O-Lantern this year.

{tagline}Jim Headley is a lifelong journalist and photojournalist and served as a reporter and editor in Nebraska, Wyoming and Kansas for more than three decades. Reach the Editor at jheadley@wmicentral.com{/tagline}

Jim Headley is a lifelong journalist and photojournalist and served as a reporter and editor in Nebraska, Wyoming and Kansas for more than three decades. Reach the Editor at jheadley@wmicentral.com

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