"Goodness, Tyler! We have to help him out somehow." Eliza could not bear to think of people being out on the streets - cold and hungry. It broke her heart. "'Liza, most homeless people are homeless because they choose to be." Tyler replied with little compassion. "I don't believe that one little bit, Tyler." she said before setting off to the kitchen.
She set the table and prepared soup and sandwiches for three, poured big glasses of milk, and set out a plate of cookies. She opened the door. Mr. Carter was still there. "Please come in, Mr. Carter. I have prepared lunch and would like for you to join us." she said. "Oh, I don't wanna be no trouble, Missus." the old man said humbly.
"It's Eliza Clark, but you can call me Eliza and really, it's no trouble at all. There is plenty to eat and I'd be offended if you refused." she said with a warm smile. "It's mighty kind of you, Mizz Eliza. Thank you."
Tyler just shook his head as he overheard the conversation. Eliza had such a warm, giving heart and he knew once she got it into her mind to do something, there was no stopping her. Eliza helped Tyler to the table and get seated. Then Eliza said she would like to bless their food before they ate, so the three grasped hands, and Eliza said a simple prayer and all three said Amen.
Over lunch, Mr. Carter shared how he had been in United States Army and had served his country during the Vietnam war, leaving his new bride, Belinda, behind. He said he was one of the lucky ones who made it home. He had many fellow soldiers who weren't so lucky. After his tour of duty ended he came home to his wife and twin sons.
He had seen many horrific things during the war and suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome - but he was a hard worker and a devoted family man. Their family received a devastating blow when both sons, then teenagers, were killed in an automobile accident after being hit by a drunk driver as they headed home from the movies after having dropped their dates off.
It was a tough time for both Mr. Carter and Belinda - but time eased their pain and they learned to go on with their lives. However, tough times were not over for Mr. Carter. He lost his beloved Belinda to a house fire 10 years ago. He became angry with God for taking his family away from him. He lost his will to live.
For several years he had turned away from God out of anger and grief. He wished to die every day, but The Lord had different plans for Jeremiah Carter. He was a modern day John the Baptist, telling the people of the street about Jesus and the Good News. He was often mocked and ridiculed by young hoodlums who thought they knew it all, but he didn't let that stop him.
"So are you just passing through then?" Tyler asked, intrigued by Mr. Carter's life story. "I am always just passing through, Mr. Tyler. Whispering Pines looks like a mighty fine place to settle down a while." Mr. Carter said thoughtfully.
"Mr. Carter," Eliza began. "Please, just call me Jeremiah." Mr. Carter said kindly. "Well, Jeremiah, we have a spare bedroom available and would love to have you stay with us for a while until you figure out where you're headed to next. We don't have a lot but what we do have we'd be happy to share."
"I'd like that very much, Mizz Eliza." he said with a warm smile.
Copyright by Tracy Hathcock