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Authors: Willie Robertson,Korie Robertson

The Duck Commander Family

BOOK: The Duck Commander Family
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Contents
 

Prologue: Born and “Corn” Bred

Chapter One: Rice ’n’ Beans

Chapter Two: Fried Bologna

Chapter Three: Fried Catfish

Chapter Four: Free Lunch

Chapter Five: Toast ’n’ Pizza

Chapter Six: Roadkill

Chapter Seven: Omelets

Chapter Eight: Chicken Strips

Chapter Nine: Duck Gumbo

Chapter Ten: Frog Legs

Chapter Eleven: Chicken Feet

Chapter Twelve: Fast Food

Chapter Thirteen: Fried Burgers

Chapter Fourteen: Dumplings, Hot Water, Cornbread, and Fried Squirrels

Chapter Fifteen: Duck Wraps

Chapter Sixteen: Back Straps

Chapter Seventeen: Duck and Dressing

Acknowledgments

Photographs

About Willie Robertson and Korie Robertson

For our parents,
Phil and Kay Robertson and John and Chrys Howard,
and
for our children,
John Luke, Sadie, Will, Bella, and Rebecca

PROLOGUE

 
BORN AND “CORN” BRED
 

T
HESE COMMANDMENTS THAT
I
GIVE YOU TODAY ARE TO BE ON YOUR HEARTS.
I
MPRESS THEM ON YOUR CHILDREN.
T
ALK ABOUT THEM WHEN YOU SIT AT HOME AND WHEN YOU WALK ALONG THE ROAD, WHEN YOU LIE DOWN AND WHEN YOU GET UP.
T
IE THEM AS SYMBOLS ON YOUR HANDS AND BIND THEM ON YOUR FOREHEADS.
W
RITE THEM ON THE DOORFRAMES OF YOUR HOUSES AND ON YOUR GATES.

—D
EUTERONOMY
6:6–9

 

F
or as long as I can remember, my life has centered around three building blocks: faith, family, and food. The dinner table is where the Robertson family shares wisdom, confessions, laughter, faith, and dreams. This is family time, and I am thankful to have learned a good many important life lessons around that table.

Even before we started filming our family dinners for our TV show
Duck Dynasty,
I always thought of the Robertson dinner table as a stage in a Broadway play. Whoever was talking at the time had the spotlight and everyone else was the supporting cast. As kids, we learned about how to keep everyone’s attention with a good story and about comedic timing.
This is also where we perfected the art of exaggeration. I think Kay’s the best at it, or the worst, depending on which way you look at it. She can turn a simple story about her dog going missing for thirty minutes into a long gut-wrenching tale of love, loss, and everything in between. Along with the comedic moments, we’ve never lacked drama, either!

At the family table, I learned how to defend an argument and stand up for what I believe. The Robertson dinner table is like a weekly debate session. If you offer an opinion about something, you’d better be able to defend it. This is where we learned to argue passionately about our convictions, and the Robertson family, of course, has never been short on opinions. We have arguments about everything from crawfish pie to religion to shotguns. The debates can sometimes get loud, but they’re never ugly or disrespectful. It’s just that each of us feels very strongly about our beliefs, and we’re not going to change our minds about something unless someone else offers a very good case to the contrary.

The dinner table is where I learned to follow my dreams. This is where Dad told us he was going to start Duck Commander, and where I told my family I was getting married and heading off to college. Our hopes and aspirations were never shot down, never debated, only encouraged. We might have been eating fried bologna at the time because that was all we could afford, but there was hope that one day we would be feasting on a big fat rib-eye steak. I remember one time around the dinner table Alan told my parents he wanted a Chevy Blazer. My dad said, “There will come a day where we’ll
all have Chevy Blazers!” He didn’t actually tell Alan no; Phil was only telling all of us, “Have patience and believe.” And we did, no matter how difficult things were.

At the dinner table we learned to respect our elders. In a lot of homes, the kids make their plates first, but it was never that way in the Robertson house. At our house, the kids always ate last. We would get what was left after the adults made their plates, which was usually a fried chicken neck and rarely a breast or thigh. But we learned to be thankful and content with what we had and that the world didn’t revolve around us.

We learned to be hospitable. There were always extra faces around our family’s table. No matter how little we had, we always had room to set out one more plate. If we had unexpected guests, Mom pulled out more meat from the freezer and added it to gumbo, or made another batch of her delicious biscuits. In the Robertson house, it’s almost an unpardonable sin to not have enough food. Kay likes to say you never run out of three things: toilet paper, butter, or ketchup. But she stocks up on more than that. If the world is ever coming to an end, we’re definitely going to Kay and Phil’s house. That woman’s got enough food in the freezer to live for months, and if we did run out, we could count on Phil to go catch something to fill our bellies.

We also learned that a good meal goes a long way. After Phil started Duck Commander, it didn’t take him long to figure out food was a great way to get people to help. All of his workers loved to eat his ducks, crawfish dishes, fried fish, or
whatever he or Kay was cooking that day. If a big order needed to be packed up to go out to a buyer, we’d have a fish fry and invite fifty people over. Mom and Dad would feed them and they’d be more than happy to pitch in. Phil and Kay never had to pay a dime; they just cooked for the crew, which always left our house full and happy, and left everyone hoping to be invited the next time we needed some extra help.

Back when Duck Commander was all being run out of Kay and Phil’s house, my mom cooked lunch every day for our family and employees. Yes, times have changed. Now we couldn’t even fit all of our employees in Mom and Dad’s house! We’ve grown, but all of these lessons still remain. As Robertsons, we value the time around the table with our family; we are still trying to one-up each other with the best story, still defending the last stupid decision we made, and still laughing with one another and loving each other along the way.

1
 
RICE ’N’ BEANS
 

C
ONSIDER IT PURE JOY, MY BROTHERS, WHENEVER YOU FACE TRIALS OF MANY KINDS, BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH DEVELOPS PERSEVERANCE.

—J
AMES
1:2–3

 

I
know this might be hard to believe, but Phil was actually fishing when I was born. I was born on April 22, 1972, which was two days before Phil’s birthday. I guess he was out celebrating a couple of days early because when I came into the world at Tri-Ward General Hospital in Bernice, Louisiana, Phil was sitting in a boat fishing for catfish at Bayou D’Arbonne Lake. I was the third of Phil and Kay’s four sons, and Phil was only at the hospital to witness the birth of my youngest brother, Jeptha. Phil claims watching Jep’s birth traumatized him so much that he wasn’t sure he could ever have sex again. Of course, he says, it only took him about six weeks to get over it. I guess I’m just glad Phil was there nine months before I was born or I wouldn’t be here today.

Phil likes to joke that he named me after one of his former students, who was a good football player but had failed the
eighth grade three times. The truth is that I was named after Willie Ezell, my maternal grandfather, who passed away from a heart attack when Kay was only fourteen. I was born with very long, curly hair, and Kay joked that I looked a lot like the boxing promoter Don King. When Kay was getting ready to leave the hospital, they put me out in the hall with the other newborn babies. Sounds like a good chance for babies to get switched at birth to me, but apparently that’s how they did it back then. Anyway, there was no chance of mistaking me for one of the other babies. People who walked by would stop, look at me, and then ask, “Who is that kid with all the hair?” They’re still asking that same question about me today.

BOOK: The Duck Commander Family
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