Dr. Williams stood up. "It's time we had some dinner," he said.
A little later we were seated in a booth in a roadside restaurant on Highway 77. As we scanned the big menu, the doctor suddenly leaned forward and said, "You know, I'm glad you came to Dallas and insisted on this write-up. Not because I want any attention focused on me. I still say I don't deserve that. But just talking about polo—and a little about medicine—has made me realize how fortunate I am to have had these interests. I love them both." He thought a minute and then he said carefully: "I believe I'd rather operate than play polo."
A waitress, a pretty, languid Texas girl, had come to the booth and stood there, pencil poised. The doctor looked at her and then looked at the menu again. He lowered it and went on: "You know, I wish every man could come to the age of 50 with a sport that he can play year round. He'll work better for it. Of course, a man can't take up a game like polo at 50, but there are lots of things he can do. Golf—without that blasted cart, mind you—swimming, volleyball. I saw somewhere that Dr. Paul Dudley White, General Eisenhower's doctor, is preaching the gospel of bicycle riding. He's campaigning for bicycle paths to be built along roadways. That's all to the good."
The waitress stood there. She yawned.
Dr. Williams glanced at the girl, and continued:
"As I say, this write-up business has reminded me of the joy I've had from polo. I've played all over the United States and in Hawaii, too. I've made wonderful friends. I wouldn't begin to mention their names, I'd be sure to forget somebody. They're wonderful people in polo, simply wonderful."
The waitress scratched her head with the eraser end of her pencil. "I could recommend the filet mignon highly," she drawled.
The doctor ignored her. "Last summer," he said, "I went to England with an American team that included Alan Corey and George Sherman of Meadow Brook on Long Island, Billy Hudson and Juan Rodriquez of Dallas. It was a 21-goal team with Corey at 9, Sherman at 3, Hudson at 2 and Rodriquez at 7. By the way, George Sherman is vice-chairman of the U.S. Polo Association. I was along as a spare. My handicap had dropped from 2 to one, partly because of this shoulder condition. But I was well represented as far as the ponies were concerned. 1 shipped over three of my own and Hudson had three I raised and sold to him. Well, to make a long story short, I never got to play in any of the international games. The English have a rule against left-handers. However, 1 did play some polo on Cowdray Park, which is on Lord Cowdray's estate."
"You can't ever go wrong," said the waitress, "on that Kansas City sirloin."
Well," said the doctor, "the day of the biggest game of all, the British royal family was there. Afterward, everybody went to a tent that had been put up behind the royal box. Champagne was served. I tried to make myself inconspicuous because I hadn't played. But, lo and behold, Prince Philip came up to me and said, 'You're Dr. Williams. Cowdray has been telling me about you. Sorry about this left-handed rule. As you know, I couldn't play myself because I pulled a muscle in my thigh.' I was on the verge of telling the Prince what to do for that condition, but I caught myself in time. 'This man has the best medical skills of England at his beck and call,' I said to myself, 'and he doesn't require any advice from a country doctor.' Well, they couldn't have been nicer. Somebody maneuvered me over to a place near the Queen and I was presented. I couldn't tell you what I said. Then I was moved along and found myself chatting with the Queen Mother. 'Dr. Williams,' she said, 'you have some splendid horses.' Well, do you know that we got to talking, and I couldn't tell you if my life depended on it whether we talked for five minutes or 20? I never met any more friendly or gracious people."