We walked out of the barn and on to another one to see the current crop of foals. Here there was a point of irritation. An error in the breeding schedule had matched a mare with the wrong stallion (for blood type) and a jaundiced foal had resulted.
"Hell," cried MacPhail to Tom Price, in charge of the barn, "I thought there were at least two people with brains around here, you and me, but now I don't know about you." Tom Price said, "Nobody told me about that mare, Colonel." MacPhail peered into the stall. "The mare shouldn't have been allowed to nurse that foal. That foal may not live." Tom shook his head. "Nobody told me, Colonel," he said, "I wasn't told a thing."
MacPhail walked away. Then he turned and demanded: "How do you feel?" Tom said he felt pretty good. "That nosebleed I had," he added, "left me a little weak. I lost considerable blood, quarts." MacPhail nodded. "How old are you, Tom?" Tom said, heck, he was 70. "Take care of yourself, Tom," said MacPhail.
He walked out of the barn and stopped to watch some of his men stacking bales of hay in another barn. "That's no way to stack hay," he called out. "You leave those air spaces between those bales and it's going to spoil." One of the men called back, "Oh, we intend to stuff those spaces, Colonel." MacPhail grunted and walked on.
Down the road Creola, the maid from the main house, sat under a tree. MacPhail stopped and looked at her and grinned. She smiled back. "What are you doing sitting there, Creola?" asked MacPhail. "Sitting here," said Creola, "working a crossword puzzle, waiting for my husband to come pick me up."
MacPhail rubbed his chin and said, "You let that fellow keep you waiting like this? I thought you were the boss, like me."
Creola laughed and said, "Oh, I am the boss, like you. I am the boss in some ways."
We went down to the yearling barn and Joe Magner, formerly of Limerick, Ireland, brought out the 17 yearlings one by one and discussed the prospects of each with MacPhail. While they were talking, Magner's 5-year-old blonde, blue-eyed daughter, Deirdre, came into the yard. MacPhail immediately turned to her. "What's this I hear about you graduating from kindergarten tonight?" Deirdre smiled and hung her head modestly. "Well, what I want to know," said MacPhail, "is why wasn't I invited?" The smile faded from Deirdre's face. "Only the parents," she protested, "only the parents are invited." MacPhail pretended to think about that, then he nodded and said, "Well, all right. I thought maybe you just forgot me." Deirdre shook her head.
"Only the parents," she repeated.
It was time to start for Pimlico. MacPhail is an expert driver but a one-finger-on-the-wheel type and sometimes no-hands for an instant as he gestures in the telling of a story. As we rolled along, I said, thinking back over the tour of the stables, "I guess you don't have time to miss baseball."