by Jane Green
Special to the Farm Forum
It is daylight saving time again. It’s that time of year to set our clocks ahead one hour and to check our fire alarms. And for me, it’s that time of year I miss a very special family member. He has been gone for close to twenty-five years, but daylight saving time always brings back the Rayford memories like no other time. And the story goes like this…
Just a bunch of hooey
His name was Ray R. Green, and he was my father-in-law, and I miss his presence every spring. I miss him at this time of year in particular because Rayford hated daylight saving time.
He disliked it so much so that if you asked him for the time, he always answered with what he called real time. The kids and I always had to remember to add an hour to his reply. We called this living on Rayford time.
In his book, daylight saving time was absolutely a waste of time because there was only so much daylight in a day. By changing our clocks ahead one hour, it certainly didn’t add another hour to the day nor did it give us anymore daylight. There were only twenty-four hours in a day, so why change our clocks. Rayford felt daylight saving time was just a bunch of hooey.
Before I continue further, maybe I should explain the name Rayford. Everyone in this community knew Ray Green, but they called him Rayford. Our children even referred to him as Grandpa Rayford. I don’t really know who gave him the name Rayford, but nickname or not — that was how the people who knew him well referred to him.
In fact, on our very first date, my hubby introduced his dad to me as Rayford. And so I thought Jim’s dad’s real name was Rayford and so I called him Rayford. I was kind of embarrassed later to learn his real name. Oh, well, he didn’t mind, but just welcomed me into the family with open arms.
Why I miss him
Now, why do I miss him at this time of year? I miss him for a lot of reasons; not the least of which included his passion for farming.
Rayford loved being a farmer. He loved to plow and plant and bring new little critters into the world. Baby pigs were his favorite animals followed by baby calves. He just relished seeing all the new babies in the spring of the year. They were his joy to watch.
We spent many a night together up in his little barn waiting for a cow to calve or watching for one of his sows to farrow. And while we waited for the big event to happen, Rayford would tell one of his stories. He always had a good one to tell, and we always learned something of value from the stories.
I miss hearing those old stories even though some of his stories I had heard many times before. Somehow, when Rayford told the stories, I always learned something new. He had such a zest for life and willingly shared it with me and the family. There was always a joke or some funny little saying included within the story. And for that reason, everyone enjoyed being with him.
Leaving a mark
Now, don’t think for a minute that Rayford didn’t have a gruff side to him. He did. The gruff side only came out if you didn’t follow his rules. For instance, if you borrowed his shovel, return it to its proper place in good order — that meant cleaned off of any debris. Or, if you borrowed his pliers or his hammer, to return them promptly or else. Or, “For crying out loud were you born in a barn, remember to shut the gate behind you!”
Oh, I can hear him saying that last sentence. Some of our children, I won’t name names, were notorious for leaving the gate open by Rayford’s barn which caused the whole herd of cows to get out. Uffdah! Not good. When that happened, Grandpa Rayford’s gruff side came out in full force. Woe to the hombre that left that gate open!
But, I must admit that I miss that gruff side also because it left an indelible mark on me. Each time I use my super dooper new garden fork, I can almost hear Rayford reminding me to put it away in good order — and I do. And, if someone borrows my good step ladder, they make sure and let me know that they are borrowing it and that they have returned it to its proper place. Hm? Maybe a little of Rayford’s way of doing things rubbed off on me.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, it is daylight saving time again. It’s that time of year to set our clocks ahead one hour and to check our fire alarms. I did both of these actions on March 12, but as I did them, I couldn’t help but reminisce about my dear father-in-law.
Rayford definitely left his mark on our entire outfit, but his struggle with daylight saving time left a lasting humorous legacy. However, all jokes aside, “living on Rayford time” was one of the best times for our family and was a good reminder that spring was just around the corner.
Thanks for the memories, Rayford.