"And the story about the police threatening to throw you in jail?"
"Well, I was warned that I would need a license, but it wadn't no big deal."
We both laughed.
"Anyhow, the Jefferson's house here, which was always kept clean, seemed like a palace next to daddy's shack. Me and Mr. Jefferson separated in order to come together again soon and then for good. That's how it happened, too. There weren't no never minds from either family and the plannin' didn't take too long, since new shoes and a new shirt can be made in no time, as long as the materials are on hand."
"I've noticed that your and your husband's shoes look handmade," I said.
"My Thaddaeus makes shoes. He surely does."
"So you got married and you worked together?"
"Within four weeks we pulled that cart together to Trustville. It was a funny thing about that cart. I seemed to roll along with hardly any effort at all after we was married. I could hardly believe it. Jeremias said, If a cart could take such a turn for the better; many a person could learn a lesson from it."
"Mrs. Jefferson!" came the shout from the barn. "Where did I put my cart?"
With those words said, the old man emerged from the ancient structure.
"You probably give it away or sold it or loaned it or somethin'," said Esther.
"I would have done nary a thing!"
"That's what you said about that shotgun, remember? You looked for it for a month, then that man brought it back and thanked you for loanin' it to him. That cart was fallin' to pieces anyway. Get up here on this porch out of the heat and hush up over that old cart."
"Esther here was telling me about when you first got married," I said after the man had reseated himself.
"I'll just tell you one thing, quite a few girls were sorry to see old Jeremias get hitched. They wouldn't have minded taking him themselves. One gal told me that if she had know'd I was in such a big hurry, she would have attracted my attention in such a way that I wouldn't have had anything to do with that pancake face." Jeremias lifted his face toward the heavens. "I was so stupid. I could have gotten an altogether different kind of wife if I had know'd how to go about it proper like. I figured I would regret the whole thing before the next Spring, but I had brought it all on my ownself."
Now it was time for Esther to stand.
"I can't take no more of this foolishness," she said before marching into the house through the screen door.
Jeremias leaned closer to me. "I wasn't one bit stupid and I didn't regret my choice. I had just the kind of wife that suited me. She was a humble, hard-working, easy going woman, who felt like she had found Paradise. From that day on I knew that Esther was the name for her. The first Esther was a queen in the Good Book. My Esther is my queen and I mean that with all my heart," the old man nodded, which seemed to put an exclamation point behind his declaration.
Immediately, Esther appeared at his side with a small glass of elderberry wine.
"Drink this, Mr. Jefferson. Maybe it will make you tolerable."
Jeremias gulped down the wine and handed the empty glass back to his wife.
"Go get me another one of them things. My throat is kinda tickly."
"Why don't you get it your ownself?" she asked.