Let Your Word be Your Bond
“Your word and integrity is yours and yours alone to keep or lose.”
In the Pineywoods, major business deals have been sealed with a handshake and a man’s word. We have a saying for it: let Your word be your bond. If you promise to do something, do it even on the promise of pain.
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. They have seven siblings, four of whom are still alive.
In 1949, their father, Nelson, had a near-fatal heart attack at age thirty-nine. 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 twenty-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 briefly as Beauregard Parish Sheriff.
A generation after the death of both Dr. Frazier and Nelson Green, a son of the late doctor contacted Donald Lee Green. “We’re going through my dad’s papers and found a land deed he evidently exchanged for services he 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, “Well, we would be interested, but what price would you want?”
The younger 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.
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 son didn’t try to take advantage of the drastic increase the land was worth now.
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.
- In today’s world, can a man’s word be trusted?
- What words would you use to describe Doctor Frazier and his family?
- How can build your life on your word being your bond?