Ray Lemon is an amazing man in many ways
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 10:00 PM
In many ways, Ray Lemon, is an amazing man. Born in Indianapolis, at age three the family moved from their Plainfield home to North Salem where Ray's father worked halves with a dairy-grain farmer. In 1949, another move with their household belongings in a wagon pulled by a horse, with the livestock tied to the back, this time to Fillmore.
Karen Zach taught English at Turkey Run HS, has written columns for local newspapers for decades and is happy to be honoring interesting people in, "Around the County," which appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. She is the editor of Montgomery Memories. Karen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ray's father passed away in 1951 and Ray and mom then moved to Parkersburg. Because of Ray's cerebral palsy, he had only had a teacher at home, so he was thrilled to go to a public school, New Market. However, this was when he was 13 years old and he was sadly put in the third grade. Testing followed and he was promptly put up with his age group. He graduated in 1958. During his last two years, he'd go to school three hours in the morning then work the 3-11 shift in Indianapolis at American Art & Clay. Starting out tough, Ray persevered!
Besides the obvious that Ray is disabled, although he has never considered himself so, what impressed me while talking with him is his work ethic. He has managed gas stations, worked at Plastenes, driven taxis for both Red & Yellow cabs, delivered cars for Kenny Vice and Larry Cummings and even spent 10 years in Baton Rouge, La. working for Enterprise Car Rental. He said when he was 11, and his father passed away, that he was going to take care of himself and not live off the government. His dream was to become a state trooper but of course that was impossible. He does occasionally get to ride with some of the patrolmen though, which he surely loves. Another fun thing Ray enjoys doing is writing to pen pals. Having no clue how to turn on a computer, Ray said he writes by hand to each and all of his 400 writing buddies.
His favorite job would have to have been his rabbit farm at New Market that he had in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He began with a few and in 1981, had around 500. Sadly, he sold the farm away as his interest waned after losing his wife.
Ray lets no grass grow under his feet. He's gone every day and especially enjoys his Burger King coffee club. He loves racing which took him of course, to not only Indianapolis, but also to Mexico for dog races and Tennessee for horse races, cautioning me, that he only went to watch, not bet. He'd love to go back to Baton Rouge to visit old friends but has been having mini-strokes and broke a hip quite awhile back, so it would not be easy now.
He's happy, though, and says he really has no aches and pains and praised Dr. Hornbeck and the late, wonderful Dr. Blood for taking good care of him. Speaking of that, he feels his children and four grandsons take wonderful care of him. Ray also has a four-year-old granddaughter but she is obviously too young to help; however, he hopes she will be there for him too as he plans on being for her as much as he is able. He also works hard helping anyone he can and particularly praised Cheryl Farr at Pam's Promise. Ray said he's not overly religious, but reads his bible and attends Faith Baptist Church with Rev. Tony Roe when he does go to services.
As far as having Cerebral Palsy, having gone through several operations, leg braces and special shoes, he noted that, "It's the way I am. Been this way for 73 years and gonna' stay that way!" He's literally thankful for every God-given day, and I give gratitude to Ray for being my Around the County subject this week!