Bio: My name is Ray Nabors. I have a Ph.D. in Agriculture Biology. That is a doctor for cultivated plants. It has been an ideal career. I diagnose diseases and pests of plants, working outdoors all the time.
When the plant dies, no one cries. Working in hospitals without windows was depressing. Sick people are difficult, they feel bad all over. Those that will recover are fussy because they feel bad. The ones that are at the point of death are unusually serene given the circumstances. I was always sympathetic and close to those near the end. When they died, I cried. Veterinarians have attachment to their patients and death is yet sad. They also work in animal waste much of the time, if they are farm veterinarians. For me, the logical choice was plants. It does not pay as well but my life work has been satisfying.
My summers were spent on a farm in Mississippi. My grandfather never owned a gasoline engine. He had a pair of matched Tennessee mules. I have plowed cotton with a mule, not many people can claim that skill. He had a few dairy cows, pastured his hogs and had egg chickens as well as meat chickens. We had fresh eggs, fresh chicken, the best honey cured pork, and fresh milk. He always sold the calf when a cow was freshened. Beef was a big paycheck. Time on that farm made a big difference in my life. My grandparents had little money, but we ate like kings. They had a huge garden, they grew their own tobacco and just bought the cigarette papers to roll the smokes. My grandfather built his own house, adding on as the family grew. Raymond Nabors the First was the most independent man I have ever known.
It was fortunate for me that I had the privilege of attending Catholic schools. My mother was abandoned by my father when she was pregnant. He left her with his parents on their farm in Mississippi. We moved to the city, but my summers were spent on the farm. Grandparents cared for me while mom worked at a Catholic women's college. She had no high school diploma, but the nuns helped her learn medical technology by allowing her to audit classes. There was no government help. The nuns felt sorry for mom. We were in poverty. I did not realize it, but food, shelter and clothing were difficult for us to acquire. Four years into that program, when I started school, mom applied and got a job as a medical technologist. Her salary went up considerably. She bought a house and sent me to Catholic schools. She was the first EEG technician in that city and spent her career working at St. Jude hospital. I want those who read this story to understand how proud of her I am. Her EEG's were published in most of our medical journals and Katie was listed as one of the authors. She never did get a high school diploma. She has passed away. She grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River. during the great depression. She wore flower sacks for dresses and no shoes. Her father lost his job, her mother died. My grandfather fed his family, mom and two uncles by fishing, hunting and gathering. He made moonshine for sale and that was all the money they had. Mom knew what real hunger was. After seeing what she accomplished, I knew I could do anything. I love biological science. Domestic plants and animals are easy to study.
If you have any doubts about the discovery of evolution by Charles Darwin, look at agriculture and animal husbandry. Our first domestic animal, the dog, is a different species than the wolf from which it was selected by our ancient ancestors. That change can be measured. People took wolf pups and raised them starting 15,000 years ago. Those people in many places around the world raised wolves, selected them for work animals, guarding their homes and for companionship. Wolves live in families. They are very loyal to their families. That loyalty is to be seen with dog owners all over the world today. Trained sheep dogs are some of the most intelligent animals alive today. They love their work and their human family alpha males and females.
We have similar domestication with plants. The most widely grown grain today is what we call corn. The derivation of the word corn is from Europe referring to all domesticated grains. In Europe that would have been wheat, rye, and oats. The name was applied to maize. After the slaughter of Native Americans, the name stuck. The earliest known fossils of maize are cobs found in central American caves. These cobs are as small as your thumb and had only a few kernels. Our native American ancestors, my maternal grandmother was one, gave us the most important plant foods in the world. Corn is now grown world wide. The Native Americans had already selected for sweet corn and popcorn as well as field corn. We have varieties of corn today that produce 200 - 300 bushels per acre. An acre is about the size of a football field, in case you did not know. That is enough corn to feed a family and their chickens and rabbits for a year. Corn is the product of out-crossing. There are at least two species of plants, and probably more, that were crossed to make corn. We do not know how corn was first bred. The annual world corn crop today is worth more money than all of the gold and silver stolen by the conquistadors. Domesticated crops are different species than their wild ancestors. Wheat was derived from crossing two wild grasses. Wheat is the most widely consumed grain today. Corn used to produce ethanol for food leaves distillers grain as a by product. That distillers grain has twice the nutritional value of cracked corn f