I just returned from a glorious weekend in Memphis, where E. and I attended the marriage of our son, Aaron, to his college sweetheart, Karen. I could go on at length (and possibly will, in a later blog) about the joy I felt watching Aaron and Karen become man and wife, surrounded by my family and friends. It was a bi-cultural affair, with Karen's Chinese family celebrating alongside us, merging Eastern and Western traditions.
The setting was the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, where Karen grew up and where almost all her family lives. She and Aaron chose the Peabody because it's a lovely historic hotel with a great rooftop party room. They also liked its location near Beale Street, famous for Memphis blues music, and its proximity to the Mississippi River, a short walk away. But, knowing Aaron's fondness for animals, I think what sealed the deal was the fact that at the Peabody Hotel you not only get nice rooms, good food, and a friendly staff — you also get the Peabody ducks.
It all sounds rather silly and juvenile, but the ducks are adorable and appeal to just about everyone. Their presence gives the Peabody character lacking in most big hotels. During our five-day stay, E. and I watched the ducks march on several occasions, but until our final morning, we hadn't checked out the Duck Palace. On that last morning, we rode the elevator to the roof for one more view of the Mississippi. Once there, we noticed a sign for the Duck Palace and decided to take a look. It was about 10:45, so we knew the Duckmaster would soon arrive to escort the ducks down the elevator to the lobby.
To get a sense of the Peabody duck tradition in action, take a look at the following Animal Planet segment on YouTube.