“Ray couldn’t answer. He shook Hal’s hands loose and turning walked straight away toward the barn. As I’ve said he was a sensitive man and there were tears in his eyes. He knew there was only one thing to say to Hal Winters, son of old Windpeter Winters, only one thing that all his own training and all the beliefs of the people he knew would approve, but for his life he couldn’t say what he knew he should say.
At half past four that afternoon Ray was puttering about the barnyard when his wife came up the lane along the creek and called him. After the talk with Hal he hadn’t returned to the cornfield but worked about the barn...”
“You’re always puttering,” she said... “Why are you always puttering?”
ex Sherwood Anderson, “The Untold Lie” in The Seven Arts (January 1917) : 215-221 (218)
the story (and several additional instances of “puttering”) appears in Winesburg Ohio : Intimate Histories of Every-day People (1922) : 250