William Maxwell wrote one of my favorite novels, TIME WILL DARKEN IT, but despite having his collected stories I have read none till now. He has divided the book into traditional short stories and something he calls improvisations. This is what he says about the improvisations. "I wrote them to please my wife. When we were first married, I would tell her a story in the dark. I had no idea where they came from. Sometimes I fell asleep and she would shake me and say, "What happened next?" I would struggle through the layers of oblivion and tell her."
That is perhaps my favorite story of all. How nice to make up stories for your wife.
"My Father's Friends" is about a visit made by a man after his father's death to two friends who were not well enough to attend the funeral . The first friend was man his father fished with and our protagonist finds much in common with this friend and they become friends. The second man golfed with his father and he is a harder man to like. He is critical of the man's now dead father, claiming he liked women too much. The story ends with an aunt telling our protagonist that as the second friend's wife lay dying she told him he was the dearest husband any wife ever had. So this statement helps the man to find goodness in the friend. The story is very well written but more a memory perhaps than a story. I will have to read more of them.