Something about ‘Duck Dynasty’ looks awfully familiar

BILL MARTIN

I have opined in this space before about my affinity for certain television shows that I thought I would never watch in a million years—Survivor Man, Pawn Stars.

Well, I have a new favorite in Duck Dynasty, but I have a legitimate reason for liking this unique show that I will touch on later.

For those who haven’t seen it, it’s the story of the Robertson family who reside in Louisiana and became filthy (and I do mean filthy) rich by cornering the duck call market.

Patriarch Phil, who gave up a promising football career as a star quarterback and famously ahead of Terry Bradshaw at Louisiana Tech, started a duck call company some 40 years ago.

Through his diligence and love for the outdoors, Phil’s little company has exceeded his wildest dreams.

Phil—who is not fond of the modern world and its conveniences and once threw his grandson’s cell phone in the swamp—has a favorite saying, “Everybody happy, happy, happy.”


Phil Robertson Phil Robertson Phil, who is now 66 and a minister, is retired and living the good life with his beloved Miss Kay (they were married when she was 16).

The company is driven by Miss Kay’s ability to make the best banana pudding in the world. Because of this skill, she can get anybody to do anything.

Duck Commander is now run by one of Phil’s sons, Willie. Two of his other sons also work at the factory.

Before we go any further, you must know, these people are smart: Phil has a master’s degree in English/education and so does Willie.

The show follows the bearded bunch (who could give ZZ Top a run for their money) through their daily lives and it doesn’t take very long to figure out that wacky Uncle Si (Phil’s younger brother) is the star of the show.

His turn as Santa’s elf is one of the funniest things I have ever seen on television.

With his omnipresent glass of tea clutched in his hand, Si is a Vietnam vet and he likes to reminisce about his days spent there. Apparently old Si won that war single-handedly.

The reason this show strikes a chord with me is because it hits a little close to home.

My family has a similar lifestyle to the Robertsons—sans the beards.

My cousins are very well educated, several of them have degrees from that cow college up the road apiece.

Now, they are hardly rich, but make good livings with good jobs, mostly in education.

And like the Robertsons, they prefer the country life and hanging out with the kinfolks.

They would rather live on a dirt road in the country than in the big city; would rather go fishing and hunting than to a movie; would rather eat a home-cooked meal by the women folk than at the fanciest restaurant in the world.

These are smart sophisticated people, who just happen to prefer the outdoor lifestyle.

And like the Robertson men, we are blessed with beautiful wives who put up with a lot.

I’m just two generations removed from hillbilly—my great-grandfather O.P. LaGrone used to sell barbecue out of a wagon in Milam County on Saturdays.

I’m sure that if you had told him he would have a great-grandson who attended college and is working as a writer for a newspaper, he would have warned you to stay out of the corn mash.

My grandfather Taylor hunted rabbits and squirrels because that’s what they were going to have for supper. I accompanied him on his early morning trips and because he died when I was eight years old, these are fond memories I have of him.

Now I am surely no hunter or fisherman, but have been on a few excursions with the cuzzins.

We play tackle football with no helmets or pads; we play no blood/no foul basketball on a dirt court; and a special brand of volleyball where grabbing the net for a little extra traction is not necessarily a violation.

I’m pretty sure that if you turned on a video camera and just left it running at the 74th LaGrone Reunion this June, you might squeeze out a couple of episodes for television.

We have experienced many Duck Dynasty moments over the years.

I was driving a friend’s brand new Hummer many years ago and one Friday evening about 10 of us kinfolk piled in and went to a Thorndale playoff game at Hays High School.

Now my friend liked rap music and that’s all that was in the vehicle (maybe some Kid Rock too), so we stuck it in, cranked it up and hit the road.

As we “bumped” into the Hays football field parking lot, the Hummer swaying from sideto side to the beat of the Hot Boys classic “Bling Bling”, you should have seen the look on the faces of the people waiting in line to buy tickets when a large group of country boys with cowboy hats and boots filed out of that behemoth of a vehicle. Not quite what they were expecting.

Once, cousins Chad and Dewey and I were out burning brush and clearing land to prepare for the family reunion.

As we were burning the brush, the wind kicked up suddenly and caught a couple of trees on fire in a matter of seconds.

I can remember Chad and I standing out in the middle of this field watching this blaze as it swirled through the trees and there was so much ash falling on us, it looked like a snow storm.

“You know, we’re going to have to call the fire department,” I said over the roar, becoming concerned.

Chad just smiled and said, “naw, we got this.”

About that time, Dewey jumped on the tractor, pushed over the first tree with the bucket and the fire subsided.

Tragedy averted.

As a joke on a city dude who was making his first appearance at the reunion, Chad and I went around scraping road kill off the highway with a shovel, heaving it in the back of his truck and explaining to this nerd that we could use all the meat we could get for the barbecue pit.

We have actually had people run over something on the road on the way to the reunion, retrieve it, clean it and throw it on the pit.

We even have our own Minister Phil, in Chad, who has his own barn church every Sunday.

As far as Uncle Si goes, let me just say that we are lousy with Uncle Si’s—too many to count. We have Uncle Have-ya, Uncle Should-a, Uncle Could-a, Uncle Would-a, Uncle Ought-a, Uncle Cant-ya, Uncle Betch-a, Uncle Why-ya, Uncle Use-ta...

Another thing that struck me was at the end of each show—no matter what had just happened or who made the other one mad—this spiritual family all gather to eat together, (a lot of which they have just killed) which is also a LaGrone staple.

Now, obviously we don’t get together every day, but we break bread often.

The Robertsons realize that despite all their differences and disagreements, they all need each other and have a genuine love for one another.

One more characteristic the Robertsons and LaGrones share.

The 5ive

Somewhat of a philosopher, here are the five best words of wisdom from Phil Robertson, the Ralph Waldo Emerson of the duck blind:

1. “What old Willie boy here don’t understand about women is that they love to browse.”

2. “Ducks are like women. They don’t like a lot of mud on their butts.”

3. “Better a good day’s catch of fish, than a lifetime of crabs.”

4. “Whether you’re talking about bees, dogs or women, pain can come upon you quickly when dealing with any one of them.”

5. “You need to be able to take a leak in your yard without someone saying, ‘hey what’s he doing’.”


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2013-01-24 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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