Helping Out a Friend

September 7, 2017

I enjoy a variety of clients providing me with a wealth of interesting writing assignments. I am trying to hone my craft at fiction, non-fiction, blogs and posts. I write emails, novels (other than the romance kind), letters, and web pages. If I get a plumb job, I can really augment my income. But there are times when you must do pro bono work for friends and family. I will edit their own writing or ghostwrite something for them. I have done greeting card poems, college admission and job applications, and so much more.

I wasn’t busy a few weeks ago, so I was happy to help a friend whose father had just died. No one in the family had prepared an obituary and it was past due. It has a certain format and style so I wanted to pitch in. I only needed to speak with him to get a sense of his father’s life. You want to list the key points about career milestone, wife, and offspring. It isn’t supposed to be too flowery but it should be light in tone and not overly lugubrious.

His father had been a welder most of his life, a career professional who had worked on many local projects of note. After I composed the obituary in standard style, I felt I had to add a touch of humor. These short paragraphs can be so dull. To give it some life and to please the relatives who remember him fondly, I mentioned his Lincoln welder from here which was a part of the family. He kept it at home in the backyard shed and used it to repair all kinds of household plumbing problems. He had even taught his son the craft.

My friend was more than pleased when he saw the obituary published the paper. It was also placed online by the funeral home. He loved the part about the Lincoln and he laughed out loud, for maybe the first time in a long while. “I could tell you so many stories,” he offered, and I listened. There was the time when the two of them, he and his father, worked together on the bathroom pipe. The welder got out of hand and burned his mother’s precious area rug. “I hated it anyway,” he said, “and so did my dad. I wonder if he did it on purpose. My mother was not happy and rushed out to replace it with the exact same one.”

There was also the time when he loaned the welder to a neighbor and it didn’t come back. He needed it as a backup at work and went to fetch it. The neighbor was on vacation so he raided his garage. The police came and questioned him. He thought he would be arrested for stealing his own stuff, kind of like O.J. Simpson. Fortunately, he didn’t have to go to prison, not for one single day. The policeman left and cautioned him, “Next time wait until your neighbor comes home.”