Farmboy Soldier — Inspired by Rob Meyer

Rob Meyer is a member of the Kava Writer’s Collective (a fun, awesome, talented group of writers from West Michigan). Rob writes mystery/suspense (think Hitchcock Magazine). Rob is the father of 4 children (3 of which have aspirations of writing). He is a loyal friend, family man and has a servant heart. 

Here’s Rob’s story idea…

“1917 Michigan farm – A young farmboy, William, eager to go off to war, talks to his rural pastor, a veteran of the Spanish American War, about whether God approves of killing to “save the world for democracy”. The pastor is torn between patriotism and memories of his experiences. William is mainly concerned about pleasing his father, an opinionated man who has never seen war.”

Farmboy Soldier

William slung feed into the chicken coop. The hens scurried to get the kernels, pecking each other to get more.

“Stupid chickens. Don’t ya know the fast you get fat the faster you get ate?” He hated the chickens.

For that matter, he hated all the animals. Farm life wasn’t his joy. Twenty-one years he’d spent on that farm; the whole of his life. He would have rather lived in the city, worked in a factory. Anything, anywhere but there on the farm. Even if he had to join the army. The danger would be worth the escape from the tractor and slaughterhouse and the barn.

“A boy should fight for his country,” his father had said. “Every boy should be willing to lay down his life for his fellow countrymen.”

But his father hadn’t fought in any war. He hadn’t even served in the military.

However, Uncle Hezron had fought. He was a cavalryman in the Spanish American War. A war hero, no less. Rescued his fellow soldiers, killed many of the enemy. Then he came home to become a pastor.

“War is a terrible thing, William,” his uncle had said. “Killing for democracy is still killing. Death is death. Murder is murder. It doesn’t matter why you kill. It’s just that you killed.”

William was torn. He seemed to go from one decision to the next hourly. He wanted to serve his country. But he didn’t want to have to kill. He wanted to stay home. But didn’t want to become a farmer.

“‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,'” his father had quoted scripture. “Son, the greatest love is for you to fight in this Great War and lay down your life for us here at home.”

“We are called to love one another,” Uncle Hezron had said. “And to love our enemies as ourselves. Killing our enemies in war isn’t following that command.”

“I’d be mighty proud of a son who fought in a war,” his father had said.

“War is not the will of God,” his uncle had said.

William sneaked behind the barn and placed a wad of chaw in his lip. It was his guilty pleasure. But it helped him to relax.

Stay or enlist.

Fight or be at peace.

He didn’t know. Couldn’t figure it out.

He pulled a letter from his back pocket. It was a letter from the university. An invitation to enroll in classes for the fall. It hadn’t seemed like an option before. Suddenly, it was an alternative. He could study law or medicine or business. Graduate and have a fine job in the big city.

It wouldn’t please his father.

But William was becoming a man, and less concerned about such things.

“Willie!” his mother voice screeched. 

He walked to the house. She stood on the back porch, flour covering her apron. Concern covering her face.

“What is it, Ma?”

“Your name’s been called up in the draft.”

“I’m going to war.”

The choice was taken from him. Part of him was relieved.

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