"You said, This here cart goes more than half again as easy when two people help each other and push as one. I was in Trustville last Saturday and almost had to work myself to death."
"She didn't make it easy for me. She said I've often thought that it was silly of you not to hire someone and it would be half again as easy and you could earn more."
"Do you know what this fool said to me?" asked Esther rhetorically.
The young woman shrugged expectantly.
"He said Sometimes a fellow thinks of a thing too soon, sometimes too behind, that's just the way men are. But now it seems to me that I would like to take on somebody. If you'd agree, you'd be just the one for me. I'd like to marry you if that's all right with you."
Both women laughed to tears at the way Jeremias had proposed to his bride.
Still laughing, Esther said, "Well, I said, Why not."
"What you said, Mrs. Jefferson, was, Why not, if I'm not too ugly or too poor or too fat for you."
The old woman pointed a finger at her husband. "I also said, if your brain ain't too feeble to remember, But once you've married me, it'll be too late to start looking down on me. You'll never do better than me. I could always find someone to marry, but what he'd be like it's hard to say. You're strong enough, you take good care of what you have, and you won't treat your wife like a dog."
"That's right. I told her that we would treat each other just the same and if that's not good enough, it's too bad, cause there's nothing more I can do. But I also told her that I didn't think she'd be worse off with us together than she was before. Then, when she finally stopped talkin', I said, If it's all right with you, come over to our house on Sunday. My Momma says you're welcome and that you should think of her as your own momma."
"Heck, I thought Why not?" said Esther. "I was used to having a momma around, doin' what she said and taking things as they come, the good and the bad, the sour and the sweet. I always figured that a sharp word can't cause no lastin' damage, otherwise I would have been long dead. But as was usual, I wanted to get my momma and daddy's okay."
"And they..?" I prodded.
"Oh, they didn't have anything agin it, since there were enough young'uns at home and they'd be glad to let anyone go who wanted to."
"So on Sunday that fat gal appeared at Momma's house. I had given her good directions so that she hadn't needed to ask too often where the Egg Man lived. Momma asked her a bunch of questions about her knowledge of gardenin' and cookin', and also wanted to know what prayers she said and whether or not she could read the Good Book. It was bad for the young'uns if their momma couldn't read the Holy Word, cause they would bear the consequences of it all their lives. In the end, Momma liked the gal and the engagement was decided on."
"So on just one meeting your mother liked Esther?" I asked.
"Well, after that fat gal had left, Momma said, You're not getting no beauty."