Eace and Matilda were in their eighties. They were a kindly old couple who had raised a family of four boys and three girls. All the children were now grown and had moved far away to where ever the pressures of trying to making a living had driven them.
Eace and Matilda worried about what might happen to the other spouse, if the man or his wife should pass on to his or her reward and the other one should be left alone. The children didn't seem to have time for them any more. It had always been Eace and Matilda's hope, that because they had devoted their lives to the children, the children would love them enough to take care of their parents when the parents were too old to care for themselves. It just hadn't worked out that way at all. The seven children had all made lives for themselves in distant cities and didn't have time for the old folks.
The old couple still worried about the grown children however. The octogenarian couple prayed to the Lord each night, for Him to watch over each of their children. Matilda always sent some kind of baked goods to each of them on every birthday or holiday. Thank you cards and notes in return, however, were few and far between and forget the old couple's birthdays and anniversaries.
Eace and Matilda had borrowed money on the farm to put three of the children through college (the other four refused to go) and the old couple was still paying on the debt. None of the college grads had given any thought to helping their parents repay these debts.
Eace sometimes became disgusted by the way the children treated Matilda but she always soothed "The Lord loves and forgives us so I think we have to love and forgive the kids also. They'll change their ways one o' these days and come to their senses."
As the years passed, Eace and Matilda had to lean more and more upon the Lord to help them get by. They couldn't walk as well as they once did and they were always short of cash. They both loved to go to worship services with the other Christians in the valley to the east but they usually didn't have the money to buy gasoline for the trip.
Otho gave them some gas when he could, so Eace could operate his tractor and have a little left over to use to go to church, maybe once a month. It took about all of Eace's strength to make the round trip. Otho always had a hard time getting the old man to take the gasoline because Eace was a proud man and had always worked and provided for himself and his family, all his life. He didn't like to take charity but he always wanted to give to others, when anyone else was in need. Otho always had to tell the old man that he was going to dump the gas on the ground, if Eace wouldn't take the fuel, so Eace would grudgingly accept it.
In their younger days, the old couple had been vigorous, healthy and completely devoted to each other and the children. They wanted none of this modern day ‘hanky panky’, (really old time hanky panky with new excuses for doing it.)
Eace and Matilda always helped everyone who needed help. Eace used to help his neighbors get their crops in when they happened to get sick or hurt at harvest time. He would help them build a house or barn, in the old days, when there were neighbors in the area. Now, everyone close by had given up farming because the land was poor and farming expenses had gone way up. A person couldn't make a living at farming the way they used to, with 40 acres and a mule.
Matilda used to make a quilt for every new baby which was born in the area and she always brought food to anyone who was sick or just too poor to have enough to eat. It always angered the Holtsclaw children when their parents helped others in need. They were jealous of their parent’s generosity toward others and wanted the parents to show love, only toward them. The children wouldn't understand that there was plenty of love for all of them, as well as other people who were in need. None of the children would ever join in the spirit of generosity with their parents or lift a finger to help those in need around them, even though their parents tried to instill these values in their children.
Because of their poor attitude, the younger Holtsclaws now found them-selves in dire straits as they tried to survive in an uncaring world, in which they cared for no one but themselves and no one cared about them.
Now those old days of helping others were gone for good. It was all the old couple could do to hold body and soul together as they struggled to survive from day to day.
If it were not for their great faith in the Lord they would have given up and died years ago. Matilda always told Eace "I’m sure the Lord still has work for us to do that will bring glory to His name. We just have to wait on the Lord, to show us what he wants us to do."