"" Writer's Wanderings: Duck!!

Monday, June 29, 2015


On occasion, we have stayed at the Hampton Inn in Homestead, Florida. The last few visits have found us watching a small group of ducks wander about the outdoor premises looking for handouts and generally going about as though they own the place. Perhaps they will become as famous as the ducks at the Peabody Ducks.

In Memphis back in the 1930s, the general manager of the Peabody Hotel and a friend returned from a hunting trip to Arkansas and thought, after some Jack Daniels was involved, that it would be fun to put their live decoys in the Peabody's lobby fountain. Back then, it was common and not illegal to use live ducks as decoys.

Three small English call ducks were the first to swim the fountain but were soon replaced by mallards. By 1940, a bellman and former circus animal trainer offered to deliver the ducks each day to the fountain. Edward Pembroke taught them the now famous Peabody Duck March. He trained and took care of the ducks for 50 years until his retirement in 1991.

Of course the original ducks are gone but the new crew still marches at 11 AM and 5 PM daily.

One of the fun facts at the Peabody site is:

Duck is not served anywhere at The Peabody, and has not been seen on the hotel's menus since its 1981 reopening, quite possibly making Chez Philippe the only French restaurant in the world that does not serve duck.

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