Duck Dynasty Matriarch on Making a Merry Home
The 700 Club
Every week millions tune in to watch A & E’ s hit reality series, Duck Dynasty. While the men, and their beards get most of the attention, Ms. Kay, the matriarch of the family, helps keep everyone grounded. I had a chance to sit down and talk with Ms. Kay who told me about growing up in Ida, Louisiana, her marriage to Phil and her role in the early days of the Duck Commander dynasty!!
Ms. Kay remembers, “I know one thing, I would be rolling pie dough and answer Duck Commander and I have a little pad with a pencil writing things down. My kids would come in from school and sit on the floor in front of the TV and line up duck call boxes and put the stickers on the duck call and then put them in the boxes.”
Clip from Duck Dynasty Show, Kay says, ‘Something smell good.’ Phil says, ‘That would make a hound dog hug a kitty cat on a frosty morning.’”
Reporter Michelle Wilson asks, “You are on one of the highest rated reality TV series. Your popularity is growing. Why do you think that is happening?”
Ms. Kay responds, “God is blessing us maybe it’s because He knows we are going to still talk about Him.”
Michelle comments, “Tell me about your life growing up. You started from some humble beginnings.”
Ms. Kay says, “I did. Uh it was a little bit town of about 300 people out of Louisiana nobody's ever heard of it. Because when you go through there's one red light. We're so proud of that light. My grandmother's house was just a place of comfort. I mean, I remember going in there and the kitchen always had pots cooking with the lids were always bump, bump, bump, bump, bubbling, you know?”
Michelle asks, “But she also said something very profound that you would carry with you for the rest of your life.”
Ms. Kay responds, “She said, ‘one woman and one man for one life.’ And she said, ‘divorce is not an option.’”
Phil and Kay met in high school. Phil was a quarterback, played baseball and loved hunting. Kay was a cheerleader.
Ms. Kay, recalls, “It was, for me, love at first sight. I don't know if Phil would say that or not. And I did see him and I thought, ‘um-hum, I like the way that looks.’
He worked in the oil field. He was a roughneck. And his daddy was the driller.”
Kay and Phil married. After Allen was born Phil wasn’t quite ready for the responsibility of being a father. Phil became a teacher. He also began drinking and running wild and he had a violent temper.
Ms. Kay says, “I don't want anybody to stay through an abusive thing. And I had some abuse there and so that was one thing.”
Michelle asks, “Can you talk about the abuse?”
Ms. Kay responds, “It was only when he was drunk. The words were the worst. But I'm not saying that he ever didn't do anything physical, because there was a time when he drank some real moonshine. And he did do some physical abuse that time when he drank that.”
Michelle asks, “Why didn't you just leave? At this point you had gone through so much.”
Ms. Kay responds, “I guess I was a loyal person. When I made the vow to God for better, for worse, through sickness and death, till death do you part. I’m convinced if I hadn’t stayed by his side he would be dead.”
The couple eventually had two more sons. Phil left teaching and started managing a bar. He continued drinking and seeing other women. Then one night Phil came home drunk and accused Kay of cheating on him. For Kay, the abuse became unbearable.
Ms. Kay remembers, “I completely lost hope. And uh that night, as I was crying in that bathroom in that trailer, I really thought about ‘I just want to go to sleep and not wake up." And I actually looked at the medicine cabinet and thinking, "If I had something I could just take to go to sleep and not wake up.’ And then the next thing that happens is I heard those little slippers coming and I could hear them sliding on the floor and it was Alan, and it was Jason and then Willie Jess. Alan said, ‘mom, mom, don't cry anymore.’ He said, ‘God's going to take care of us.’ And it was like all of a sudden I thought, those three little souls, and that's what they were, what would happen? If something happened to me, what would happen to them? I would leave them with a drunk? You know? I mean, it was like a light, you turned on the light.
I just said, ‘God, help me. Just help me.’”
The next day, Kay went to a pastor.
Ms. Kay recalls, “He said to me, of all things, ‘Kay, do you think if you died right now that you'd go to heaven?’ And I said, ‘by all means. I would fly there.’ I said, ‘because I lived with this drunk husband. And then it’s 10 years and my grandmother told me to fight for my marriage. ‘I should have earned my way to heaven,’ that's what I told him. And then he said, ‘Well, do you have peace? Do you have this? Do you have that?’ And I was like, ‘now, that's the problem. I don't have any of that stuff. When he told shared the gospel with me, then I realized, ‘I can't earn my way to heaven. Only Jesus did that. He earned it for me. I have to go through Him. But you know what? When I did put my faith in Him, and I did confess him as my lord and savior, I was baptized. I knew then that I had help, that He was living in me.”
When Kay shared her new faith with Phil, he called her a holy roller and kicked her and their three sons out of their home. Kay moved into an apartment. But instead of being angry, she believed God for the best.
Ms. Kay said, “What I did, this is more important than any lesson you'll ever learn, I told my kids, ‘your dad has a good heart. But the devil is controlling him right now. The devil is living inside. One day...’ I told my boys, I said, ‘…the devil'll be gone.’ I said, ‘but for now, don't hate your dad, you hate the devil.’ My kids and I prayed for their dad to find Jesus.”
Three months later, Kay was at work when she saw Phil in the parking lot sitting inside his truck.
Ms. Kay remembers, “Just big tears were rolling down his eyes. And he said, ‘I can't eat, I can't sleep, I've got to have my family back. I won't drink anymore. I'm through.’ And I said, ‘Phil, you said that before. You said that several times before.’ I said, ‘you can't do it by yourself. You need somebody.’ And he said, ‘are you talking about God?’ And I said, ‘yes.’ And he said, ‘I don't know how to find him.’”
Kay introduced Phil to her pastor and the two men talked for several hours. The next day, Phil, then 28, went to church where he gave his life to God and was baptized. Kay and the boys were there when it happened.
Ms. Kay recalls, “And you know what? Those little boys were so happy. And I looked and those tears, and I was crying. It was a new beginning of a new life. A new Phil!”
Shortly thereafter, Phil and Kay had their fourth son. Phil began going to church, teaching bible studies, and even Sunday school. He told everyone he met about the savior who gave him a second chance. Decades later, his son Jase talked how God used Phil to lead hundreds to Christ. Then he talked about his mom and just how special she is to their family.
Ms. Kay remembers, “He said, ‘now, I want to tell you something. You wouldn't have had any of that, nothing, if it hadn't been for my mom. Nothing. You wouldn't know about Jesus right now. But it was my mom's courage to stay with a hard marriage and stand by that commitment. So she's my first most courageous person.’ Isn't that good? Now, see, I made it this whole time and didn't cry but, you know, that was so true, I know it was, but God pulled me through…and a grandmother.”
In 2013, on the day of Kay's and Phil's 48-year- anniversary, their sons and daughter’s-in-laws threw them a surprise wedding vow renewal.
Clip from Duck Dynasty Show, Kay says, “From the time I was 14 years old I loved you. I loved you when we were poor and you were not so nice. Now you’re really nice and kind and all I can say about that is that I’m not going anywhere.’ Phil says, ‘That’s good to know.’ Kay says, ‘I will love you forever.’ Phil responds, ‘You are my best friend and I love you dearly and I am going to be with you for the long haul until they put me in the ground. Good?’ Kay says, ‘Perfect.’”
Ms. Kay says, “He is. He is my hero. He always refers to me as his best buddy. But it's like we're just together. “
Michelle asks, “Now what is the one thing that you uh want people to know about you?”
Ms. Kay responds, “You know, it's so funny because when we were asked to speak one time the preacher told me said, ‘you know what I think about when I see you?" And I said, ‘what?’ And he said, ‘you stand by your man.’ And he said, ‘through everything you stood by your man. You told God you would, and you did.’”
Michelle says, “You did. And now look at the fruit of it.”
Ms. Kay says, “I know.”
Michelle responds, “Your children, their wives, your grandchildren. What a legacy!”
Ms. Kay says, “Well I had told God and I told my family, ‘if we ever forget where we came from, I pray we lose it all, that we'd just go right back to where we belong if we're going to lose it.’ Because you don't want to sit here and think this is our life for now on. It may or may not be how long, I don’t' know. But I want to be able to go right back and not miss a beat. I want that for my kids.’”
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