Sixty-fifth Wedding Anniversary

Mr. and Mrs. O.C. LaBorde as newlyweds.

Mr. and Mrs. O.C. LaBorde as newlyweds.

The author offered these remarks on the occasion of his parents’ sixty-fifth wedding anniversary in 2010 before a large contingent of LaBordes.

We are here tonight to honor our parents’ love and commitment to each other for the past 65 years.  Their dedication to each other and their family is rare today.

Modern popular culture seems to appeal to mankind’s worst impulses through profanity and obscenity in the arts, literature and modern media.  It has depicted decadence and debauchery as normal and desirable.

Here tonight are two people who have bestowed upon us a cultural inheritance of the permanent things that order and sustain a Christian life: faith, family, traditions, community, loyalty, courage and honor.

If the opposite of love is not hate, but power (an insight variously attributed to Carl Jung and C.S. Lewis), to truly love someone you must empower him or her.  Not hold power over him.  In this regard, I can certainly say that I have been truly loved by both my parents.

But what exactly did happen 65 years ago in that church in Alexandria?  It was a union of two families and two cultures.  Who were those families?

The LaBorde family originated in France, first appearing in southeastern France near Forez and Lyon then migrating over to southwestern France near Bordeaux.  Dr. Pierre LaBorde, my fourth great-grandfather, came to Louisiana with about 50 other French families when it was still a French colony.  They landed in New Orleans then went upriver to Point Coupee Parish, where they settled for a few years.  After a great flood, they all relocated to Avoyelles Parish where they remained for several generations.  My father was the first of his lineage to leave the old French outpost and once again travel to a foreign land.  He moved to North Louisiana.

On Mom’s side, the Coburn family was Celtic and was originally know as Cockburn.  They landed in Virginia and then slowly migrated west through east Tennessee, north Alabama and Bolivar in west Tennessee, finally arriving in Winn Parish in Louisiana.

Somewhere in central Louisiana 65 years ago, these two family cultures were merged into what you see here tonight.  It is this family culture or shared dream that defines our family.

It is a culture of “work hard and play hard.”

The play hard part was explained to my wife Puddy the first time we went to Las Vegas with my parents back in 1979.  We got back to our hotel room about 2:00 AM, exhausted, and then woke when the phone rang at 6:00 AM with my mother telling us where to meet them for breakfast.  Puddy groaned into the phone, “When do we sleep?”

Mom famously replied, “You sleep when you die.”

The play hard part also included fishing in the middle of a thunderstorm on Cross Lake (followed by swimming during a thunderstorm on Cross Lake).

The “work hard” part of the LaBorde culture needs no illustration, after watching these two start and run a company from scratch day and night after the last 57 years while rearing five boys and maintaining active roles in the church and community.

Ours is also a family culture of “change and adaptability.”  When Mom and Dad first arrived in Shreveport right after World War II, they had an old car and $500.

Dad’s first job was at First National Bank.  Dad sat down with Mr. Teekel to set up a savings account and deposit his money.  When Mr. Teekel asked Dad for his address and place of employment, Dad said he didn’t have a place to stay or a job but that he would be back the next day and give him both pieces of information.  Mr. Teekel asked him to wait right there for a few minutes.  Dad said he didn’t realize it was going to take so long to open an account.

A few minutes later Mr. Teekel returned and asked Dad if he would like to work at the bank.  Dad said he had never thought about it and that he just wanted to open an account.  Mr. Teekel explained that any man who just rolled into town and was so sure that he would make a good employee for someone was impressive, and his job may as well be for the bank.

Of course, that job wasn’t permanent.  Work at Tiller Tractor followed, and then at the ripe old age of 29, Dad started his own business, Continental Engines and Pump.  First he worked on Continental engines, then irrigation equipment, then pumps, then drilling rigs, then no drilling rigs, then more pumps, then drilling rigs again then spinning off the pump and supply store.  Not to mention a brief foray into the HVAC business, a store in Kentucky and the American Bank plus a few I am probably missing.  Dad undertook all this while trying to raise five very well-mannered young men who never caused a minute’s trouble.

Ours is also a family culture of “doing.”  Nike’s slogan is “just do it.”  If I didn’t know better, I would say that they stole it from Mom and Dad.  They were never afraid to do anything.  It seems they were both always leading the charge at work, with Mom handling the operations and bookkeeping while Dad did the mechanical side of things.  They were never afraid to get their hands dirty and to just dive right in.

Ours is also a culture of delivering value.  Dad always said to offer a premium product and never be afraid to charge a premium price for it.  The world is full of people fighting at the bottom of the market with nothing but a lower and still lower price.  Those guys never seem to last.  Quality will always be in demand.  He realized this and therefore always demanded quality.

It is a culture of savings.  One of the hardest things for a young family to learn in modern society is to live below their means.  Too many are trying to live beyond their means and only enriching credit card companies.   There is only one secret to accumulating wealth, according to Thomas Stanley, co-author of The Millionaire Next Door.  It is simply to live below your means and save the difference.  I read the book almost 15 years ago and realized that Mom and Dad have said the same thing all my life.  It is so simple yet so profound.

Ours is a culture of love of family.  And let me assure you that sometimes the five boys (well…at least those other four) have not been exactly easy to love all the time.  That notwithstanding, all of us—Mom, Dad and all us boys—were always together working, fishing (we really used to fish a lot), going on vacations, going to church or simply going somewhere together.

Finally, ours is a culture of reverence.  I am sure there were many Sundays when Mom and Dad were exhausted and would have rather slept in than gotten all of us up, dressed, fed and off to church, but they didn’t.  Instead, they realized the importance of going to church and teaching us about God, values and simply how to lead a proper life.

So there it is…our family culture.

Work hard and play hard
Change and adapt
Just do it
Deliver value
Love your family
Revere God

I couldn’t be prouder to have this legacy.

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Since 2001, Larry LaBorde has sold gold, silver, platinum and palladium for investment to clients in the U.S. and around the world through his firm, Silver Trading Company LLC. The firm also offers guidance about metals storage options. We love your feedback! Please email Larry with your thoughts about this article or your questions about metals or storage.

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