|Please note, I do not approve of guns or hunting or squirrels being killed. My father in law, however, does.|
So when you’re sitting down at a table beneath the trees five hundred yards from your inlaws’ house and it’s Sunday, and you’ve said grace over the bacon and cheese sandwiches, a blanket spread out for the kids to eat on and hot chocolate in a thermos, and you’re picking up your sandwich when a gun goes off and a squirrel falls, your father in law standing with a rifle in his hands and a grin on his face, you know you’re something close to a Duck Dynasty family.
Because your father in law has been tracking that squirrel for months, the same squirrel that wakes him every morning dropping acorns on the tin roof of the bike shed in the wee hours. Trent jokes about me cooking up the squirrel because that’s what makes a good wife, according to Phil Robertson, and my father in law holds that squirrel like it’s a trophy.
My mother in law laughs, says there should be a farmers’ version of a reality TV show. Trent’s sister and her husband are out, and Grandma lives across the yard, and the aunts and uncles around the country corner.
And there wasn’t a dry eye in America when Phil and Miss Kay said their vows those weeks ago, to an audience of millions. Because everyone loves a good rags to riches story, but it’s more than that. We love when a woman and a man fight for what they’ve got. When they call each other best friends and stick together through the tough times, the poor and drunken times and live long enough to rediscover kindness in one another.
Because it’s rare in these parts, to find that kind of love, the kind that makes godly offspring and a long line of four generations. The candles hanging from trees and an arbor tied together by an awkward mountain man, a wedding fifty years coming.
And I married into that kind of love. The kind that runs barefoot across the lawn to pick peas from the garden. The kind that lies in the woods for hours watching the deer, feeding them and studying the way they interact with one another. The kind that cares for its grandbabies and brings supper out to the tractor, where Trent and his dad are sweating, the smell of chaff in the air and the grandsons running behind making tiny silhouettes.
My mother and father in law have cancer. One in the breast, the other in the blood, but they’ve never lived so full nor so hard, and always for others, and it’s all because of Jesus. They live hard because of God in their hearts, and when the day closes they always bow their heads and pray.
It’s rare to find good folk like that and I wonder if that isn’t the reason we all watch Duck Dynasty. Because in spite of their ridiculous (and awesome) beards, the Robertsons are good people.
And we all want to believe that good people still exist. That God still captures people’s hearts and performs miracles–rags to riches miracles–and that maybe, just maybe, there might be hope for us too.
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