It was a beautiful sunny day this last Sunday afternoon. The kind of perfect blue sky day to go see the cast of the hit cable TV show, "Duck Dynasty," in northwest Arkansas One could definitely enjoy the beautiful colors of the fall foliage on the way to the Arvest Stadium. A huge crowd was on hand and was treated to some live music and great interaction with Uncle Si, Willie, Kay and Korie Robertson. The cast members from the popular TV show spent about an hour and fifteen minutes talking and joking with the anxious and excited crowd. It was obvious that the audience was pumped up and ready to cheer on their favorite TV personalities.
Willie was the first to address the crowd of about 5,000 people. He reminisced about a time when he was heading up to Arkansas in the old RV that people had seen on TV; you know the one that has him, Jase, Si and Phil’s picture on the side of it. About three years before Duck Dynasty started, he and Si were on their way to central Arkansas to give a speech. Si was driving for him while he worked on his speech. They stopped at a WalMart along the way and he went inside to get some drinks. When he came back out, the door to the RV was locked. Apparently Si locked the door while he took a nap. He knocked on the door to no avail, but could not awaken Si from his slumber. So he just sat on the curb next to the RV and drank his coffee. A guy came by and asked, "Hey buddy are you alright?" Willie replied he was fine. Then the man asked him if he needed a ride somewhere, and Willie again replied "No, but thanks anyway". Then the guy asked him, "Is that your picture on the side of that RV?" Willie replied yes it was and the guy told him, "Well I guess you are doing alright". Willie then said, "Little did the guy know that he (Willie) would have his own garden Nome selling at WalMart three years later!
Willie said they grew up poor. He knew his dad was trying to get a new business off the ground selling his duck calls and sometimes the family money situation was tight. He said he used to gauge how poor they were based on how he received his school lunches. He said in elementary school, they were so poor he got his lunches free. In junior high school he had to pay half price for his lunches, he knew things were getting better. By high school he was paying full price for his lunches and he knew they had arrived! He had to pay for his lunches, which meant to him that they made it, his dad was successful selling those duck calls. Willie stated that Duck Commander was always a family business. At the ripe age of eight years old he was the Customer service, Complaint and Shipping Department. He knew the price of all the calls and accessories by heart. Willie went on to say that after he got married after high school it took him five years to stop saying, "Duck Commander", when he would answer his phone at home.
Willie told the story that he realized he was a salesman in junior high school. He started selling those big packs of Bazooka bubble gum at school for fifty cents to make extra money. He would buy the packs of gum for around twenty cents and was making a profit of thirty cents per pack of gum. His school locker became his store front. Business was booming, things were great, he even added some more lines of candy to his stock. Then the school principal called him in his office one day and asked him if he was selling candy at school. He told him he was and the principal told him he was going to have to shut him down. Seems the school concession stand was complaining that Willie was taking most of their business away from them. It was the first time Willie experienced government getting in the way of a free enterprise operation. Willie said all in all it was good growing up in the Robertson household after his dad quit drinking and found the Lord. Their family was very blessed and they were thankful for all of the blessings they have received.
Miss Kay Robertson spoke of the early years of her marriage with Phil. They were the rocky years, but she had been taught by her Grandma to do what it took to keep her marriage together. Her Nanny had taught her, one man-one woman and you never give up on your marriage. She told Kay that someday she would have to fight for her marriage.
At the time, Miss Kay didn’t know what she was talking about, but the day was coming when she would learn exactly what was meant. Miss Kay said in the early years of their marriage, Phil started drinking really bad. They had one child when he started and before long, her and Phil had three boys, Allen, Jase and Willie.
Phil lost his teaching job and had leased a bar for a year and a half. Miss Kay told Phil she would wait tables for him, so she could keep an eye on him. Things rocked along; the Robertson’s were able to save some money over a years’ time and Phil was thinking about getting out of the bar business. Then one night, a big fight broke out; the place got pretty busted up and the owners of the bar ended up pressing charges on Phil. Well, the long story shortened was they had to give all the money they saved up to the people that owned the building to get the charges dropped against Phil.
Phil then went to work on an offshore drilling rig and was gone a lot. One night when he was drunk, Kay had come home late from work. Phil accused her of having an affair and threw her and the three boys out of the house. Kay was beside herself. She didn’t know what to do, so she got on her knees and prayed for the Lord to help her find Him.
The next day she called a number she had seen on TV and went to talk to a pastor. She had told the pastor she thought she had earned her way into heaven. The pastor taught her that there was only one way to heaven and that was by accepting Jesus as her lord and savior. She accepted Jesus and was baptized.
She was still married to Phil, but they were separated. She found an apartment for herself and the three boys, and was beginning to discover her Nanny meant by her words, "Fighting for your Marriage".
Three months later Phil showed up at the parking lot where she was working. When she went out to talk to him, Phil begged her forgiveness for his unacceptable actions stating he wanted his family back. Miss Kay told him he had to stop drinking, be kind to her and the boys, and let the Lord into His heart. Miss Kay then took Phil to see her pastor. Phil told him right off that he didn’t trust him, but the pastor asked him, "Do you trust this?" as he held up his Bible. Phil said yes.
The pastor and Phil got down to studying the Bible; Phil accepted the Lord and got baptized. After that, the story of the Duck Commander started to grow and prosper. The Robertson’s hold that their faith in the Lord and family helped it to eventually grow into a "Duck Dynasty." They give all the credit and glory of their success to God.