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.

| Good Old Days

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

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

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: February 16-17, 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds