Open your eyes, fame can present itself anywhere, anytime

Published 12:28 am Sunday, April 22, 2018

Fame is a funny thing.

On a trip to Memphis, Tenn., last weekend, my father had arranged for us to stay at the Peabody Hotel. If you know anything about the name, it’s the place with the ducks.

An iconic tradition that began in the 1930s, the Mallard ducks that live on the hotel’s rooftop march each day down from their living quarters to the elevator and into the lobby fountain for all to see.

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As my father, his girlfriend and her daughter all waited for our chance to watch the little water creatures waddle back down the red carpet to their sky-high home for the night, my eyes glanced over and I saw something strange.

I said out loud, “That guy looks exactly like Drew Brees.”

I slowly convinced myself, however, it wasn’t him. What would Brees — a rather famous individual — be doing in the same place I was?

Ah, silly me. The ducks of course.

So, there he was. The quarterback of the New Orleans Saints — a highly accredited longtime leader — stood quietly with his wife directly adjacent to the elevator.

Brees was lying low, being quiet and doing his best not to be seen. Though, he happened to be standing in a spot I had previously seen security personnel politely ask others not to stand.

Brees didn’t want special treatment, yet it seemed like he wanted to give the ducks the special treatment everyone else seemed to be giving them, too.

They are famous after all.

As the ducks marched toward the elevator, my face lit up and so did that of Brees. He even made an effort to record the moment on his phone, just like I decided to do.

I later learned what Brees was actually doing at the Peabody. He was speaking at a gala for the FedEx Family House charity that benefits Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

Before Brees was able to escape quietly up the elevator after the duck sighting, a few people were asking for pictures.

He kindly took one with a small boy, maybe about 8 or 9 years old. Then a few middle-aged men wanted selfies.

I, myself, didn’t feel it was necessary to bug him. There was nothing I felt like I could say that would mean anything, except maybe my love for his Saints teammate Mark Ingram.

But, my father had different plans. He dragged me over, and Brees was kind enough to take a picture with me. The photo came out totally blurry, yet I was able to shake his hand letting him know my profession as a sports journalist. I guess it was my little form of respect for his profession.

I kept thinking about the experience after it had happened, and I’m still thinking about it.

I hadn’t ever really met a famous person so suddenly like that and it made me wonder.

Would I have made an effort to meet Brees if my dad hadn’t pushed me along?

If it were me, I think being famous would get a little old. But then again, the Peabody ducks seem to be doing just fine with all the attention.

Whatever your choice — considering you ever get the chance to say hello a famous person or animal, that is — make sure you do what feels right.

Be polite like Drew Brees, but make sure to take in the honor like the Peabody ducks.

My only disappointment, sadly, is that Ingram was nowhere to be seen.

Emmalee Molay is a sports reporter for The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3632 or by email at