When James Welborn set off for a solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River, he plotted stops along the way. One stop he was intent on making was in West Monroe, Louisiana, home of Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty clan.
But Welborn didn’t want to just drop in at Duck Commander headquarters. He wanted to attend the Sunday morning Bible study class that Phil Robertson teaches at his church.
“The secretary of the church told me over the phone that if I get there early, I could get a front row seat and Phil would shake my hand,” Welborn said. “I knew he wouldn’t spend much time talking with each person, so I wrote Phil a note.”
Welborn stepped up and handed Robertson the note.
“He then looked up and said to the whole class, ‘Now here is a brother who wants to be here,’” Welborn said.
Robertson read the note to the 200-plus group assembled there.
“Dear Phil, I am canoeing the entire Mississippi River. I started May 25, 2014, at Lake Itasca, Minnesota. I graduated high school nine days before that. Along the way, I have been trying to get in touch with you. I know you are extremely busy, but if you are willing, I was wondering if I could take you out to lunch after church.”
Robertson told Welborn that he would not go out to lunch with him. But he would take him to his home for lunch. “After all, you’re looking a little wiry,” he said.
Welborn says that Robertson is pretty much as authentic as it gets, despite rumors that Duck Dynasty is scripted or that the entire look and behavior of the Robertson clan is engineered.
“They are exactly what you see on TV,” Welborn said. “All the mannerisms, how he speaks, what’s he’s about — he’s exactly the same. It was awesome.”
When Welborn and Robertson parted, the Duck Commander told him, "Keep your canoe afloat and watch out for the gators.”
In other news: Can you guess which Duck Dynasty star is headed to Dancing With the Stars?