Sunday, April 22, 2012

Walking with the Ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis

The Duckmaster feeds the ducks at the Peabody fountain.
People know about the Peabody ducks. I was headed to Memphis for the Distance Library Services Conference taking place at the Peabody Hotel. "Oh! Is that the place with the ducks?!" Why, yes it is! You have to get in place about an hour before the ducks walk in order to see them on their red carpet. They live in a penthouse on the hotel's roof and ride the elevatior down to the red carpet leading to their lobby fountain everyday at 11:00am, and they return to their posh digs at 5:00pm.
The five Peabody Ducks live in a posh penthouse which features a replica Peabody duck bedroom.
The Duckmaster (only the fifth to hold the title since the duck tradition started in 1940) greets the crowd and tells the history of the ducks: after a hunting trip in 1940, the hotel manager and his friend put their decoy ducks in the fountain, and the ducks stayed there all night. Seventy-plus years ago, hotel guests thought the ducks were really cool, and by the looks of this crowd, they still do!

There's the current Duckmaster addressing the huge crowed assembled to watch the ducks.
Here come the ducks!

The Peabody Hotel has become my favorite-ever hotel. It's fancy but comfortable and welcoming, and I'm not just saying that because my bathroom had a TV. Since our whole conference happened in this hotel, we were always running into friendly Distance Learning librarians to chat with about learning modlues, assessment, and the best restaurants. The lobby with its beautiful fountain, comfy furniture, constant piano music, and the DUCKS was a wonderful place to meet with friends and colleagues. The Peabody is still a center for Memphis nightlife--you should have seen the outfits (and SHOES) standing in line to go up to the weekly roof party on Thursday night! We got to go up there in more sensible shoes for our conference's opening reception just in time for sunset on Wednesday evening.

The Peabody sign atop the Peabody roof.
Everywhere we looked we saw artifacts of the Peabody Hotel's enchanting history.
"One ringy-dingy..."

Bill and Brian place some private calls...collect!

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