With the mention of her eldest son's name, the activity around the house ceased and everyone walked to the clearing. One of her sons placed two fingers in his mouth and gave a loud shrill whistle. The crowd was careful to arrange themselves so that Jeremias and Esther had a view of the rise.
"What's goin' on?" asked Jeremias of his nearest son.
"Zacharias is the oldest and we thought he ought to be the one to do it," said the son.
The crowd quieted as the shape appeared on the crest of the hill. Very slowly the shape grew until everyone could make out Zacharias pushing the gleaming refurbished red and yellow pushcart.
"Land sake's alive," muttered Jeremias. "I thought I done lost it."
Tears flowed down Esther's cheeks as her man walked to the porch and look down at her.
"That's a fact," she replied with just a tinge of defiance in her voice.
"Mrs. Jefferson, I want to thank you for marrying me."
"Mr. Jefferson, the pleasure is all mine."
The old man hugged his wife and gave her a prolonged kiss on her forehead.
The crowd erupted. I could barely see what was happening through my own tears. I toyed with the idea of getting my camera out of my bag, but after consideration deemed it inappropriate.
When the pushcart was stopped in the middle of the clearing, Jeremias walked around it, bending to inspect every beautiful inch of it. His hand glided over the newly sanded and painted surfaces. Then he came to the handles, which he gripped tightly.
"Which one of you young'uns wants a ride?" he yelled to the youngest of the family.
With glee the children were placed in the bed where countless eggs had once been transported.
Esther stood quickly, hurried from the porch and dashed to the cart as fast as possible for a woman her size.
"You ain't goin' nowhere with that there cart!" she demanded with her arms akimbo.
No one spoke. It was a very tense moment. Then Esther spoke loud enough for all those present to hear.
"Not without my help you ain't. Now somebody get me some rope."
A rope was produced, tied to the front of the cart and Esther went about her preparation. She looped the end of the rope in a four foot circle, then tied it secure. She then slipped it behind her back and with two quick movements of her arms she wore the loop across her back and over her shoulders. Thus yoked she gave the command.
"You think you are up for this, old woman?" asked Jeremias.
"Umph," she grunted as she adjusted the rope straps around her massive shoulders.
Jeremias lifted the handles and Esther leaned forward straining on the rope. Within two steps the big wheels of the cart were gliding over the ground at a steady, but leisurely pace. There wasn't a dry eye on the place.
I didn’t really luck into the photograph. I had to run to align them, but when I finished, the image of Jeremias pushing and Esther pulling that cart full of smiling joyful children was silhouetted against the bright azure Alabama sky.