Another two weeks passed by and the construction on the cabin was progressing nicely. All walls had been set up and work began on the roof, in fact, they only lacked a couple of rafters and joists. Young Sebio began at the back end nailing boards to the rafters while Jeb was waiting for another order of lumber to finish off the roof supports.
"Jeb! Jeb!" yelled Cliff from a hundred yards down the hill. "Jeb! I got some news for you, good news!"
Jeb stood looked out the front door to see what the yelling was all about.
"It's Cliff, again, Sonny," he said, looking up through the roof opening to Sebio . "He sure does like to yell, don't he?" turning his eyes back to Cliff, who was now only seventy-five yards away and hurrrying closer.
"Good news, Jeb!" yelled Cliff. "I'll tell you in a minute as soon as I catch my breath. That hill gets harder to climb each time I come up here. You'll never believe what I'm going to tell you, Jeb. You didn't get no letter today, but you did get somethin' else."
"This ought to be good. Come on down, Sebio. He always acts like it's something really important and it turns out to be nothing," said Jeb. "You just watch."
"Si, si," uttered the young Mexican, dropping to the floor and taking a position near Jeb.
"If that news is so all-fired important, Cliff, you better wait to tell me till I get a fresh cup of coffee and take my seat at the table. Come on in, grab that cup, and don't say a word until we get properly situated. I don't want to have a heart attack when you sputter out the good news," Jeb needled. "Sonny," he continued, looking at Sebio, "you stand by my chair and get ready to run for the doctor."
"You may joke, Jeb, but this time it's going to knock your socks off even though you don't wear any," laughed Cliff, picking up the cup of cold coffee. "Sebio, do what Jeb said, just in case he keels over."
Jeb took a swallow of coffee, wiped his dirty rag across his forehead, and stared at Cliff with an air of nervous expectancy with Sebio standing by his side watching and listening.
"All right, Cliff, I'm ready for it. Let me have it with both barrels," he said, smiling wide.
"Ahem, well, Jeb," began Cliff, looking more excited than Jeb ever did, "a young lady got off the stage this morning all dressed up in fancy clothes and new shoes and turned around and helped a young girl, maybe four years old off, and they both came into the station looking awful tired and worn out, and Nellie got them seated at a table and took their order for food," he said, drawing it out. "Well, they didn't say a word until both of them had cleaned their plates, and I have to tell you, they were hungry, all right, just ate everything in sight, and then the lady leaned back in her chair with a satisfied smile, and...."
"What did Corina say, Cliff? Did she ask for me?" asked Jeb, with a silly grin on his face.
"Damn you, Jeb! You ruined my surprise for you," said Cliff and gave Jeb a dirty look. "How did you know it was your daughter?"
"She sent me a telegram from Tucson and Sebio brought it up a couple days ago, hahaha. Sorta took the wind out of your sails, huh, Cliff?" said Jeb, and Sebio laughed, too.
"Damn you, Jeb!" cursed Cliff, staring at Jeb and the boy. He hunched his shoulders and then relaxed. "Well, are you going down to town and say hello to her? That's the least you could do, ain't it Sebio? She's waitin' at the station."
"Your dern tootin' I'm going down there just as soon as I get cleaned up," said Jeb. "Why don't you and Sebio go on down and tell her I'm on my way and I'll be along shortly. You say there was a young girl with her? How can that be, she just got married awhile back. By golly, I got to find out about that. Hurry up and tell her I'm on my way."
After they were gone, Jeb took down the flag and hid it where no one could possibly find it, and then found his old razor and a ragged towel and walked to the spring out of the hillside and its pool of water and shaved up as best as he could without a mirror. He returned to the cave and dug his old black suit out of a box and quickly donned the pants, pulling the legs over his old work shoes, and pulled on his only white shirt. He thought himself quite handsome and carrying his coat over his arm, he started down the hill to Tropolis and the station to meet this young lady, his daughter, that he hadn't seen since she was four years old. His head ached behind the eyes from the nervous tension he felt all of a sudden.