Second World War: Unexpected Furlough Aids Family Farm

During the Second World War, a brother gets an unexpected furlough to aid his family's farm in time of need.


Being shorthanded was an all-too-common occurrence on the family farm during the Second World War.


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It was during the Second World War. My brother was in the service. My father, in his early 60s, could usually cope with the work on his little farm. But when I came home for a brief vacation, I found that my parents had a problem. After having some dental work done, my father was too weak to work outside at all. We worried about him. Had the tooth extraction hurt his heart? 

My mother and I tried to fill in for him. Though the chores were light, we were awkward, and unaccustomed to some of the work. Mother milked the one cow; I did other chores. We rigged a crude cable between the corn crib and feed floor to make it easier to carry corn to the pigs.

One morning, we pulled a promise card from our little Scripture promise box and read: "Call upon me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." We took Dad to the doctor that day, where we received good news. Though the dental work had been a strain on Dad, the doctor assured us that he would recover from it.

Much relieved, we returned home. Then we remarked that if we could just get a hired man for a few days, all would be well. But Dad said, "That is impossible. This is wartime. No men are available."

Almost at that very instant, we saw my soldier brother walking into our yard. We rushed to welcome him. He told us that his superior officer had offered the furlough. How good it was to have his company and his help. It seemed that the doctor's good news and my brother's unexpected furlough were among the "great and mighty things" of the promise card.

Gwen McKinley
Traer, Iowa

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.