(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Welding with Children” is a comic, “feel-good” story about a welder with four unmarried daughters, each with a child, who tries to “weld” what he sees is broken about his four grandchildren. The story opens when the welder’s casino-bound wife leaves him to take care of all four grandchildren: Nu-Nu, Moonbeam, Tammynette, and Freddie. While he is trying to weld a bed rail for one of his daughters, the children get in the way and play with his welding tools. Bruton is ashamed of his trashy yard with a greasy auto engine hanging from a tree. When the children start screaming for an Icee, he drives them down to the Gumwood Pak-a-Sak. When he hears an older man say, “Here comes Bruton and his bastardmobile,” he is embarrassed. One of the men tells Bruton that maybe he can do better with this batch than he did with his own children.

On the way home, one of the children uses a curse word that makes Bruton pull over and tell him that children do not use language like that. When they get home, another child uses a four-letter word, and Bruton tells them to stop talking like white trash. He asks them if their mothers ever talk to them about God. This initiates a comic dialogue between Bruton and the children about the Bible, which makes him understand that the children know nothing about it. He gets out his old Bible stories book and begins telling them about the creation and Adam and Eve.

As the children ask questions about what...

(The entire section is 496 words.)