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Friday, August 19, 2016

EXCERPTS from my new book, WITHOUT THE LAMPSHADE-How I Learned to Love my Brown Martini

Eventually I moved over to WREC-TV (later to become WREG), Channel 3, with studios in the basement of the Peabody Hotel. The Peabody had its own stories. It was, and still is, famous for its ducks that swim in the fountain in the hotel lobby. Every evening they are put to bed by their caretaker by rolling out a red carpet that stretches from the fountain to the elevator bank. Apparently this feature brought in visitors from all over the world, some not so good for these innocent fowl.

The ducks are marched into the elevator on the carpet and taken to the roof where their penthouse was located. No one but the caretaker is allowed to ride with the ducks. The next morning the procedure is reversed and the ducks are returned to the fountain through the elevator, via the red carpet to the fountain. You are allowed to stand around and observe but you can’t get too close to the ducks. Unfortunately this kind of protection would prove inadequate in a mindless display of stupidity.

The hotel was hosting a group on one occasion, which I believe was a bunch of college fraternity alumni; my memory is vague since this has been almost fifty years ago. The Peabody had a mezzanine that surrounded and looked over the lobby, and a cluster of the frat guys had congregated around the mezzanine with drinks in hand. The ducks were still innocently swimming in the fountain entertaining the guests. As usual, there were several people standing around the fountain looking at the ducks.

All of a sudden a barrage of drink glasses began to hit the fountain and some of the ducks, even guests. They were coming from the drunks on the mezzanine, and the volley went on for several minutes until security stepped in to stop the chaos. My recollection is that some ducks might have been killed, others injured. No guests were hurt. The frat guys were questioned but no one would give up the culprits. In my lifetime I have been on many drunken tears but would never do something like this.

Journey with me boozed up to sobriety in WITHOUT THE LAMPSHADE. It’s a trip on Amazon here.

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