"I'll take a
chance on that, then," I said, "and I'll be back around two."
I'd first met
Rommel's Legacy a month before, a big, brindled dog, the pride of his kennels.
"He's a genuine old fella," Michael had told me, "but he had a
terrible bit of bad luck last year after he'd won three times at Shelbourne
Park in Dublin. He broke a toe out on the bog and that would have been the end
of any ordinary class of greyhound. But the old lad, he's always had a great
heart, so we sent him up to the vet in Dublin, and I told him, keep the dog
with you till he's really right. So he kept him for a fortnight and that cost a
good bit of money but, I'll tell you something, we got more back last Wednesday
gave him a few schooling trials and we knew, just a few of us, that he was
right back on form, so we took him back up to Shelbourne Park again Wednesday,
didn't we, me old love, and we got 5 to 1 on him and he did it easy. Six
hundred yards in 34.15 seconds, and he was five hours in the car traveling up,
lying on the back seat and never taking an ounce of energy out of himself. He's
a great one to come from behind, you know, he was never one of the jadey ones
that give up if they have a bit of a shouldering on the bends." Rommel
looked up with calm brown eyes at this praise.
Always one for
the quick judgment, I'd fingered my wallet and said, "When is he racing
He was racing
again, as it happened, at Waterford that night. "He'll start favorite,
though," warned Michael, and so he did, which didn't prevent him from
coming in fourth, causing me to transfer a number of those pretty green Irish
pound notes with the wistful picture of Cathleen Ni Houlihan on the front to a
Mr. Jerry Condon, 17 Green Street, Waterford, Turf Accountant.
It was a month
since that happened, and in my absence Rommel had been three times up to
Shelbourne Park again for three straight wins. Now I was firmly down as a jinx
in the mind of Mrs. Joan Brennan. Despite this regrettable circumstance, there
I was after lunch, reporting back to the Brennans', and due, with Michael and
Joan, to watch Rommel race at Clonmel next evening, no doubt as odds-on
In midsummer Joan
Brennan's front garden is ablaze with crimson and yellow roses, and the lawn is
a soft green. Her domain obviously stopped abruptly here, though, for the
quarter acre behind the house looked as the Arizona desert might appear were it
located in County Waterford. Not many blades of grass poked above the baked
earth surface and the centerpiece was the carcass of a cow picked nearly clean
so that the white ribs showed through.
" Ireland's a
great country for casualties, you know," said Michael earnestly, explaining
this macabre sight. "Like a cow might be milked this morning and dead in
the field with grass tetany this evening. Or," he said vaguely, "she
could break a leg. And the vet's a great old pal of mine so he drops me the
quick word and I'm there, dragging her aboard the hearse in five minutes."
He jerked a thumb at an old wooden trailer lying on its side. "It's
beautiful meat," he said defensively, though I hadn't said a word. "You
could eat it yourself."
I could just
imagine the precise Mrs. Brennan cutting a neat steak from a cow dead of