by Corey McLaughlin
Published March 30 in Baltimore Magazine
Excerpt: He speaks with an Irish accent: “Let me get the little one for ya.” And the man we just met, wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and sporting dark scruff, hops over a wooden fence into the wispy tall grass of the pasture, then glances down where his feet landed. He sees something glinting in the sun, a set of horse blinders and a bug net used to keep critters out of horses’ faces.
“I’ve been looking for those,” he says. “I spent 30 minutes this morning trying to find them.” He deftly picks the items up and places them in his pants pocket.
It’s a warm, late summer afternoon, and I’m holding my 1-year-old daughter, Molly, in my arms as we stand atop a hill, surrounded by farmland, at the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture. My wife, Jamie, stands next to me with the stroller, and the sturdy Irishman, who later introduces himself as Jim, is off in a nearby field fetching a horse to show our baby. In the distance, four horses, two big and two small ones, are grazing, and when Jim gets about 40 yards away, he whistles to get the smallest’s attention, coaxing the white pony toward us, like he’s walking a dog off leash.
“You’re like the horse whisperer,” Jamie yells to Jim as he gets closer. To me, he looks more like Ray Liotta as “Shoeless” Joe Jackson exiting the cornfields in the famed baseball movie Field of Dreams, with horses in tow instead of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox. The remaining horses, two of them large brown and white thoroughbreds, follow the little one, their tails swooshing with curiosity. “They think I have food,” Jim says with a chuckle.