published Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Miss Kay: Faith, family and a sense of humor keep 'Duck Dynasty' marriage strong

By Shawn Ryan
"Miss Kay" Robertson, from the A&E hit TV show "Duck Dynasty." is a featured guest at the upcoming She: An Expo for Women, sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
"Miss Kay" Robertson, from the A&E hit TV show "Duck Dynasty." is a featured guest at the upcoming She: An Expo for Women, sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

* What: "She: An Expo for Women."

* When: Saturday-Sunday, July 27-28.

* Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; noon-6 p.m. July 28.

* Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter St.

* Two-day admission: $12 online, $15 adult at the door; $7, children 5-12; free under 5.

* Information: timesfreepress.com/she or 757-6498

COMING UP

Check out what these celebrities, who will be in Chattanooga next weekend for "She: An Expo for Women" have to say:

* Tuesday: Caroline Manzo, one of the stars of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" reality show.

* Wednesday: Deidre Hall, former star on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives."

* Thursday: Dr. Travis Stork, host of the daytime talk show "The Doctors."

SHOP TILL YOU DROP

A feature of this year's "She" expo is the addition of several merchants and boutiques that will offer a variety of jewelry, accessories and gift items:

  • Belle Rive Boutique
  • Bling & More
  • Essential Bodywear (The Bra Lady)
  • Farm Bred
  • Jewell
  • Kathy's Accessories
  • Margaret Taylor, LTD
  • Melrose Boutique
  • Merch Northshore
  • Oragami Owl, independent designer Mandy Tucker
  • Paisley Petunia Boutique
  • Perfectly Posh
  • Rone Regency Jewelers
  • Sassi & Co - wig, gift & accessory boutique
  • Southern Charm Clothing
  • The Collins Collections
  • The Feathered Nest LLC

After almost 50 years of marriage, Kay and Phil Robertson have a sure handle on what it takes to keep their relationship from drooping.

"Commitment to God, commitment to one another, a sense of humor, and we will do whatever it takes to keep the 'romance' alive," Kay Robertson said.

Part of that is acknowledging that they're both more than 60 years old.

"At 65 and 67, a sense of humor in the bedroom is essential," she said, and that includes regularly smooching a guy with a face-swallowing ZZ Top beard.

"I have to remind him to wash it regularly," she said. "You wouldn't believe what hides in that beard."

Robertson, better known as Miss Kay on the hit reality show "Duck Dynasty," is the featured guest Saturday at "She: An Expo for Women," a two-day event set for next weekend at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, She features more than 150 vendors, free health screenings, fashion shows and plenty of shopping and pampering.

Along with Robertson, other guests at the event include Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne, co-founders of Georgetown Cupcake and stars of the series "DC Cupcakes"; former "Days of Our Lives" star Deidre Hall; Caroline Manzo of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" reality show; and Dr. Travis Lane Stork, host of the daytime talk show "The Doctors."

At her appearance Saturday, Robertson will present her "Faith Family Ducks" discussion, then take questions from the audience. Guest seating for Robertson's appearance will be first-come, first served, event organizers said. At registration, guests will be given seating cards; the earlier guests arrive at the expo to claim a seating card, the better chance they will have to get a seat.

An avid cook -- each "Duck Dynasty" show ends with the family around the table, saying grace then digging in -- she also has written a cookbook, "Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen: Faith, Family, and Food -- Bringing Our Home to Your Table," that's scheduled for release in November.

The Louisiana-based "Duck Dynasty" debuted on the A&E network on March 12, 2012, and has aired 41 episodes in three seasons. The fourth season is being filmed now. Earlier this year, it became cable TV's No. 1 nonfiction series in the ratings.

The success has added a layer of turmoil to their lives, Miss Kay said, while yanking away another layer.

"Our private lives are not private anymore," she said. "Just getting from place to place is almost unbelievable."

Fans -- who come from all over the country, she says, not just the South -- tell her they watch the show because they "can relate to us, and they say we are real and sincere people," a sentiment echoed by Times Free Press readers on the paper's Facebook page.

"It's a clean, redneck show," wrote Charity Kidd Lewis, of Chickamauga, Ga. "I can watch it with my children and us all enjoy it. That's a fact, jack."

Julie Mclaney, of Soddy-Daisy, said she'd never watched an episode until she was flipping channels a few days ago and thought, "Meh, why not?"

"I'm hooked! These people are adorable," she wrote.

Michelle Pickett Davis, of Hixson, said she appreciates that the Robertson's Christian values are a focus of the show.

"They play together; they pray together; they stay together," she said. "They do many things outside that show to help people and show them to God."

Faith has always been an integral part of their lives, Miss Kay said.

"God is the reason for our success," she said. "Family values are not attainable without a faith in and relationship with God."

While the Robertson family business, the duck-call maker Duck Commander, is now a multimillion-dollar affair that makes all sorts of outdoor equipment, life hasn't always been easy. Miss Kay and Phil married in 1966 when she was 16 -- "It was just his pioneer spirit. I actually wanted a man who hunted and fished," she told Katie Couric -- and within a few years, had four boys Alan, Jase, Willie and Jep. In 1973, the first year Duck Commander was incorporated, the family only brought in about $8,000, which she still managed to stretch far enough to feed her family, a reason why squirrel brains were -- and are -- part of the family's meal menu.

"Fry them or bake them," she advised.

And having lived through the testosterone-fueled tornado that goes with raising four boys, she also has specific advice for anyone with male children.

"Buy furniture that will withstand a tornado, live out away from too many neighbors and keep them busy doing good things," she said. "Live a Christian life in front of them, too."

Contact staff writer Shawn Ryan at sryan@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327.

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