Friday, March 28, 2008

The Peabody Hotel

So, in Orlando I'm staying at The Peabody Hotel, which is very nice but has an unusual tradition - ducks. Everywhere you look, you see ducks. Paintings of ducks on the roof of the hotel. Ducks at the end of the swizzle sticks in the bar. At lunch, butter shaped like a duck. In the bathroom, one bar of soap shaped like a duck. A duck carved into the other bar of soap. One restaurant called "Papa Duck's Pizzeria." Another called "Dux."

So what's with all the ducks?

Well, the hotel is also nice enough to supply, in several places (on the back of cocktail napkins, for one) "The Legend of the Ducks." To wit...

Back in the 1930s, the General Manager of the Peabody and a friend returned from a weekend hunting trip, and after a bit too much Tennessee sippin' whiskey, thought it would be a dandy idea to put their live duck decoys into the fountain in the hotel lobby.

After more than 65 years, the marble fountain is still graced with ducks, which are raised by a local farmer. The ducks relax and play in the fountain from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., when they parade down a red carpet and return to their "Royal Duck Palace" for the evening.

So this afternoon, I had a little time after a meeting, and was sitting in the lobby when I hear one of the cocktail servers tell the bartender, "better call the duck guys." One of the ducks had gotten out of the fountain, which apparently is frowned upon and probably a sign that this particular duck's employ as a Peabody duck is about to end. And let me tell you, a duck is not easy to catch; three people were unable to do it. Finally, satisfied that its efforts were not in vain, the duck climbed back into the fountain, all by itself. can add Duck Entertainment to the hotel menu.

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