"There ain't much to tell," he said. "As soon as my sister left home to look for work, she went from place to place and rumor has it that she had moved up. She had never bothered much with her family, and had only been home twice in all that time and hadn't been back since my Momma's death. She wrote ever' once in a while to let us know that she would come visit soon, but she never did. Come to find out, she had worked in some of the finer homes around the South and had even been to California, or so I heard. She had restless feet, don't you know, and a roving spirit and never stayed in one place for too long at a stretch. At the funeral in Atlanta, one lady who seemed to know Huldah pretty good, said that Huldah could be trusted with any chore that needed to be done. Well, my sister had married one of them rich old men who had done it just to spite his relatives because he was mad at them. Then I got sudden word that I should go to my sister if I wanted to find her still alive, so I went to Atlanta."
"Was she still alive?"
"I got there soon enough to see her die, but hadn't been able to talk to her much. When she was buried, I wanted to come on home. And I was in a hurry, I'm here to tell you. I had never missed a delivery date since I became the Egg Man."
"He missed my bed is what he done," said Esther.
"And you intended to go on selling eggs even with all that money coming your way? That much money back then would mean you were, well, rich."
"Well, it's like this, missy," Jeremias said. "I didn't really believe it was true. It didn't seem right to me that I should inherit all that white man's money. But everybody said it was a sure thing and told me when the time comes I could just pocket the money and be on my way. Still, be that as it may, I kept on workin' just the same as before."
"For the time being," added Esther.
"If it should of all fallen through, don't you see, wouldn't folks laugh and say, He thought he was so grand but now he'll have to start pushin' his egg cart again. I tried to explain to them that once I had the money, I'd probably leave the egg trade, although I'd be sorry to do it, cause I never got tired of it."
"So you never planned what to do with the money?"
"Well, Missy, I figured that being a farmer would be nice, too, and if a fellow has the money, there was probably a farm he could buy somewheres. I already had a little house, thank the Lord, and almost enough land for two cows, and I'd sometimes thought while pushin' my cart that if I weren't the Egg Man, I'd like to be a farmer. And maybe I could manage to buy a small farm where there'd be enough work for all my young'uns and enough to eat for the whole family, then we'd have a safe and sound place in the world. I just kept workin' until the time come."
"How did Esther react. Did she jump out of her skin?"
"No, Mrs. Jefferson had all them young'uns and that's about as much burden as you can expect from one gal."
"Most people in town thought he was just too plain simple-minded to know what to do with all that money," said Esther.
"Did you get it?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah. At the appointed time I got word that I should go to Atlanta and the affair was settled."
"When he returned home a rich man, I wept loud and long. He had to ask over and over, What's the matter? Did something bad happen?"