A Word from Curt
The following is a second draft story that still astounds me. It will be featured in my upcoming book, A Pineywoods Manifesto: Field Notes on the Full Life. I’m writing it for my grandsons and other young men.
I write because
1. I’m curious .
2. I’m always amazed
3. I love to share remarkable stories.
I think you’ll agree this is one of those stories.
I’d appreciate any background any of the Green or Frazier families have. I’d especially like to have contact information on any of Dr. Frazier’s family. I’ve been told a daughter lives in Alexandria. I also invite the Green siblings to supply/correct any details on this remarkable story.
Integrity: Your Word be Your Bond
In the Pineywoods, major business deals have been sealed with a handshake and a man’s word.
We have a saying: Let Your Word Be your Bond.
If you promise to do something, do it even on the promise of pain. Keep the word of your forefathers.
Donald Lee Green, a fellow Dry Creek native told me this story. His brother, Conrad, standing beside him added details. They are the sons of Nelson and Janie Green and the brothers are from my dad’s generation. Conard died two weeks ago, leaving only _ of the ___ siblings still alive.
The story begins in DeRidder, Louisiana in the years after World War II.
Donald Lee and Conrad’s father, Nelson Green, had a serious heart attack at age 39 that nearly took his life. The year was 1949 and Nelson Green spent months in the DeRidder hospital owned and operated by his doctor, Dr. John Frazier.
When he was finally released to go home, the amount owed was beyond the Green family’s ability to pay. Dr. Frazier and Nelson Green agreed on exchanging a forty-acre tract of Green land in lieu of cash payment.
We Pineywooders don’t like to let go of our land, but it was a gracious way for Dr. Frazier to receive payment and leave the Green family with the dignity of paying their debts.
Now, I never knew Dr. Frazier. He died about the time I was born in the mid-fifties. In addition to being a doctor and owning his own hospital, he also served as Beauregard Parish Sheriff.
Back to our land exchange story. A generation after the deaths of both Dr. Frazier and Nelson Green, the family of late doctor contacted Donald Lee Green. “We’re going through my dad’s papers and found a land deed you evidently exchanged for services provided to your father. It was evidently my dad’s wish that if the land was sold, it would be offered to your family first since it abuts your homeplace.”
Donald Lee Green asked the question you’re thinking. “Well, we would be interested, but what price would you want?”
The young Frazier said, “The deed says it was valued at forty dollars an acre, so that’s the price we’d sell it back to you. That’s the way our father would’ve wanted it.”
As Donald Lee and Conrad told me this story, these two raw-boned country men had tears in their eyes, and so did I. In fact, I’m fighting tears as I put it on paper.
I never knew Doctor John Frazier or his children, but evidently, he was a man whose word was his bond. Evidently, it was passed down another generation, because the family didn’t try to take advantage of the drastic increase the land was worth now. It sure was a lot more than forty dollars.
Grandsons, let your word be your bond. If you say you’re going to do something do it. Be careful on making promises, but when you do, hold to them.
Promise little, but deliver much.
It’s the Pineywoods way, best told in this story of two Beauregard Parish families linked forever through this story and a parcel of land.
Let your word be your bond and always do the right thing.