Honorary Duckmaster

The week of 7 September 2003 HL7 held it's working group meeting at the The Peabody in Memphis.

At the Peabody, five ducks occupy a fountain in the center of the lobby from 11:00 to 5:00 each day. The rest of the time they reside in their "Duck Palace" on the roof. The ducks' daily commutes to work and back are grand ceremonies.

On 10 September Wes was the Honorary Duckmaster for the afternoon commute.

HL7 had over 400 people at the meeting and the staff had hyped the ceremony all week (actually for the last two years). We had a great turnout and, of course, what self-respecting geek would attend such an event without a digital camera? The flashes were popping so steadily that the Honorary Duckmaster felt a bit like JayLo arriving at the Oscars. (Of course the Honorary Duckmaster was dressed more conservatively than JayLo in his official HL7 denim shirt, belt and suspenders.)

Thanks to Wayne Tracey for the excellent hand-held available light picture to set the scene. (1/2 second shutter speed).

After the real Duckmaster gave a grandiloquent oration on the history and habits of the Peabody ducks, he touched Wes on both shoulders with the official Duck Cane, presented him with the official certificate and pronounced Wes the Honorary Duckmaster.

The Duckmaster then gave the secret signal and the ducks hopped out of the pond, down a special duck stairway to the red carpet leading from the fountain and the elevator, which was waiting with doors open. The ducks knew the drill really well (there was food waiting at the Palace). They pretty much found their own say down the red carpet. The Duckmaster and the Honorary Duckmaster followed behind, ever at the ready should some disorder arise among the herd.

Wes' fondest hope was to leave the Peabody with photographic evidence that, for once in his life, he had his Ducks in a Row. Alas, it was not to be. Like all active HL7 members, the ducks had their own opinions on the proper process for procession to the palace.

Into the elevator ...

The Honorary Duckmaster sends his thanks to the ducks, all the HL7ers who ringed the lobby, especially to all who sent pictures, the Peabody and the staff at AMG for arranging this. He has achieved his 15 minutes of fame. After being Honorary Duckmaster what more is there to look forward to?

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