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-- One good thing about presenting a event on a rainy day: At least you know that your stars and many of their fans are amphibious.
Intermittent rain, sometimes heavy, was a persistent nuisance throughout the inaugural a festival-sized event presented by Page Palette bookstore and co-sponsored by Alabama Media Group, which includes AL.com and the Press-Register. The Friday event brought four stars of the hit reality show "Duck Dynasty" to Oak Hollow Farm in Fairhope. Despite the precipitation, several thousand diehard fans stuck it out to hear Si, Phil, Kay and Korie Robertson hold forth on their show and on the values that help make the family so distinctive.
Patriarch Phil Robertson said that despite the often zany proceedings of the show, he sees his clan as "a functional family, one I consider normal." The problem, he said, is that in contemporary America, functional families seem like oddities.
"When you swap biblical correctness for political correctness, you're starting down a road that is catastrophic," he said. "It will not work."
Under the guidance of host Andy Andrews, they discussed the importance of respect and honesty between family members, and the value of a firm hand on the part of parents. Phil Robertson said his straightforward code of behavior for his sons had listed a few distinct offenses and specified a punishment of "three licks for each." Si Robertson piped up that "the boys said he might have miscounted" from time to time.
Andrews asked Kay Robertson what advice and warnings she would give to parents. "Always communicate with your children and let them know that you love them," she said. "And never be dishonest with them."
Si Robertson offered frequent doses of the offbeat humor for which he's known. At one point, he recounted a story from years ago, when he was collecting unemployment, and he was asked what he'd most like to do with his life. His answer, he said, was "I'd like to come up on some idiot, who'd pay me big money to stay at home and sit on my butt." He gave listeners a minute to relate that to his current reality TV celebrity. "Guess what," he added, "I'm there."
"You're not quite there yet," responded Andrews, "but they've got government programs for that."
Lest things get overly strait-laced, Kay Robertson opined that what was really wrong with America was that people needed to "go down to Walmart" and buy themselves a sense of humor. If more people could laugh at themselves, life would be better all around, she said, to general applause.
Earlier in the day, speaking to the media before a VIP meet-and-greet, the four Robertsons had indicated that it would take more than a little rain to sideline a family whose fortune is built on duck-hunting.
The four have spent time recently on book tours that all came to their conclusion at the Fairhope event. Kay Robertson said she was glad to be one last stop away from the family's home in Louisiana. "It's been great, but I'm tired," she said.
Phil Robertson was fired up about
criticism over the family's new wine label, and ready to go toe-to-toe with
anyone over the relevant scriptural background. "Wisdom will be proved right by our actions," he said, reverencing biblical incidents involving John the
Baptist and Jesus.
Overall, Phil Robertson said, the family had come to Fairhope to deliver a message about the importance of core values.
"Basically, stay out of trouble, do what's right," he said. "I don't think that's too much to ask."
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