Talitha - Chapter 11

T a l i t h a

Chapter 11

   Apart from the heartache Steve's death was to bring to Talitha, little did she realize how her worries were to mount. Her mother could not continue to stay with her as she had done since Steve's death. This she knew and she also knew she and her baby couldn't live alone. And with a crop in the making Talitha deemed it necessary to stay at her home. Her family, thinking only of her happiness at this time and wanting Talitha to be satisfied, was leaving all decisions up to her. Then there was the store. Talitha knew, with her limited education, she could not manage the store alone. Yet she realized this was to be her only means of livelihood for her and her baby, now about six weeks old. In thinking of how little money she had, naturally her thoughts turned to the eight hundred dollars in gold and much more that lay buried. Where? How much? It worried her now that she did not know.

   After days and nights of almost continuous thinking and planning Talitha, realizing she wasn't accomplishing anything, went to her family for advice, especially her mother, who still thought of her as too young to know what might be best for her.

   After much debate it was agreed that John, her favorite brother, would go to live with her and help oversee the making of the crops. Jason consented to take over the management of the store, with Talitha's promise to help him to the best of her ability.

   Now the buried savings continued to be Talitha's most pressing concern. She had not told anyone in her family about the buried money, not even her brother John, in whom she had always confided. She wished to keep it a secret, at least until she knew it was beyond her solving.

   Day after day and into the nights Talitha continued to tax her mind and strength hoping to solve the secret. Knowing Steve's habits as she did, she tried retracing his steps from early morning to late evening, the time he usually closed the store and came home for the night.

   Especially did she want to remember his whereabouts the night following the time he asked her for a container large enough to hold the extra few hundred dollars he planned to add to the eight hundred he had already buried. Talitha, after exploring several possible hiding places without success, brought to mind an old abandoned cotton pen some distance from the house, Aware that she would need help to search there, especially as she was afraid to go there alone, she let John in on her secret, well knowing it would remain a secret between the two if she wished it. She and John searched the cotton pen and Talitha, feeling there could be no better place for buried treasure, made a second trip to the cotton pen along with John to be sure they had covered every inch of space there.

   In weeks to come they continued to search here and there to no avail. Talitha, now believing she and John could not solve the mystery alone, again turned to her family for counsel, this time as to finding the buried money.

   But the entire family meeting with no greater success in the search, they let it be publicly known that somewhere, supposedly on the Davis farm, more than eight hundred dollars lay buried. Then, neighbors came from far and near to offer their services in search of the money. Talitha denied no one the privilege to search, provided John might go along. There was Uncle Harry, Talitha had often wondered how she could have managed without him during Steve's illness and after his death. Now, in his grief and anxiety, Uncle Harry was positive he would find the buried money, saying, "Som' of dese nights in the dark of de moon, Mass' Davis gwine come back and say', 'Harry, shoulder yo' shovel and follow me, I'se gwine show you where dat money is.' Right dar I'se gwine to dig and right dat I'se gwine to find Mass' Davis' money." So sure was he that each night, in the dark of the moon, Uncle Harry made certain the shovel stood near his cabin door. Talitha often was awakened to the aroma of strong homemade twist drifting into her bedroom windows, and soon she learned that it was Uncle Harry smoking his pipe, sitting on the porch of his cabin faithfully waiting and watching for Steve's return.


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Charlotte Curlee Ramsey

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