Meet Ray Tweed; “Rayboy” to everyone who knows him.
Rayboy picked up his unusual nickname as a child. The local school principal was also named Ray Tweed. To differentiate between the two, people started referring to the younger as “Rayboy” and the name stuck.
Rayboy was raised in the Shelton Laurel Community of Madison County by his grandparents, Ted & Lula Tweed. His life has been one of conquering social adversity and stigmas, having been born out of wedlock at a time when mothers & children of that circumstance were not socially accepted.
Rayboy was his grandpa Ted’s shadow, tagging along with him and the family mule (Kate) to the fields. He developed a work ethic and determination that is beyond compare.
Ted & Lula took a second mortgage on their farm, which they had owned since December 7, 1941. Ted became sick and bed ridden with emphysema in 1965. For Rayboy, there was only one thing to do: He quit high school to work the family farm.
Although it was common place to quit school and go to work at that time, Rayboy still encountered bias, being told that he would ‘Never amount to anything’…….but they forgot about his work ethic & determination, not to mention his uncommonly good common sense.
Rayboy tended the farm, raising the tobacco plot along with the massive garden, potato patch, sorghum field as well as taking care of all the livestock.
He also started his own career with a modest crop of tomatoes and two calves.
In just a few short years, he single-handedly saved the farm and had a sizeable herd of cattle, as well as raising acres and acres of tobacco every year.
In spite of everything, Rayboy’s sense of humor and work ethic are the hallmarks of his life. His practical jokes are well known, His unmistakable laugh, which sounds a lot like crows calling, can brighten an entire room.
He officially “retired” two years ago, no longer raising tobacco. He went and gave his daughters their inheritance, each getting a sizeable farm including thee one he grew up on.
As his 70th year on Earth looms in the not to distant future, he has no regrets. He simply says “A man does what he has to do for his family and to make it”.
Y’all have a great week!