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Friday, April 14, 2023

The Value of Unusual Friendships By Cathy Shouse

In February, I learned of a special friend’s death when I read his obituary in the paper. He had passed at 87 after a wonderful, productive life, and losing him cut more deeply than I would have thought. Ours was an unusual friendship.

With a degree in engineering, Glen had retired from the electric company, then did electrical work for everybody, including Habitat for Humanity. It was his ministry, at no charge for those who needed it, and for friends as well.

We met in 1996 when my husband and I moved to the area and joined the church Glen and his wife attended. He was in my Sunday school class, where I ended up teaching on money topics. Glen was the most frugal person ever, from his German roots, he told me. His wife was just as sweet and hardworking and died several years ago of cancer.

Our family had switched churches after a few years. But Glen always referred to me as his Sunday school teacher, like it was normal to be friends after spending a few weeks in a class together years ago.

But we only ever met at our house, over electrical issues, when I was his “helper” and we would chat and catch up. He installed my little decorative pole light in the front yard, and motion detector lights on our mini barn.

I would get out my checkbook to pay him and he’d say, "I'll bill you." No bills ever came. “I don’t like to charge friends,” he finally said.

Three years ago, I nominated him for his city’s champion of the month. When I called him to say he was chosen, I didn’t know how he would react. He seemed genuinely pleased. The article quoted my essay: “I call him an unsung hero, and I know that many others would say the same about him. He is always helping others with his skills and has a cheerful attitude.”

The photo taken for the award captured him perfectly. I’ve posted it here.

It was strange, or maybe it wasn’t. A few days before his obituary appeared, I spotted a van like Glen’s that he carted his supplies around in, driving through my neighborhood. I did a double-take. Although the vehicle was much newer than what he’d driven for decades, it brought back fond memories.

Once I called him several times before he came. He was working for days on a big job and wasn’t too happy about the interruption for my minor electrical issue. Upon arriving, he didn’t catch up and got down to business on the non-working motion lights. He then announced that the switch providing electricity had been flipped off. He didn’t say much before leaving.

About a week later, his handwritten bill for $20 arrived in the mail. I mailed my check to him tucked into a thank you card. We never discussed it.

Glen’s obituary served as a wake-up call, as they often do, a reminder of what's important. He was much more than my electrician and I’m comforted to believe he knew.



My latest book, book 2 in the billionaire cowboy series, released last month and features Leo Galloway and his best friend's little sister, Kristin. He's a Galloway son who is an artist and didn't fit in when growing up so he's been borderline estranged from his family. Kristin married too young and ended up divorced. He's back home to Galloway Sons Farm due to a break-up and for rest from his stressful career. She's made a difficult decision on the future of she and her late ex-husband's leftover frozen embryos.

He's looking for relaxation and no commitments and she may be heading for single motherhood and multiple babies.

Come back to the small town of Fair Creek where community reigns and family is everything. If Leo risks his heart to try for a family with Kristin, will she allow herself to get out of the friend zone?

Available on Amazon in KU or buy it for $1.99.

To start from the beginning, see Wyatt and Sierra's story in Book 1!


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook of the prequel, Her Billionaire Cowboy's Twin Heirs at


  1. I so enjoyed reading this. I think we all have "unusual" friendships that mean a lot to us. This serves as a great reminder for us to treasure them.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Liz. Losing Glen has made me look at other such friendships. One such relationship is my student teacher from middle school, who ended up becoming a fan. He came to my first book signing. :)

  3. What a sweet column about a dear man. It's so beautiful that you saw and experienced the kindness in Glen. I love how he reacted to your wanting to pay him with, "I'll bill you." There are good humans everywhere. Fun to read about this one.

  4. Thanks, Donna, for reading and learning about Glen. I appreciate your comment because it seems to me that positive stories and good people deserve more of our attention.

  5. The longer I live, the more surprised I am at the special bonds and friendships that I make. Being an introvert, I don't look for those relationships but feel blessed when they occur. Good Luck on your book- nice cover!

    1. Sherri, Thanks for stopping by. Friendships don't come easily to me either and that made feeling a kinship with Glen that much more special.


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