The Nice Thing About Strangers

Non-Fiction Short Stories. Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion. Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Blameless

Passing the produce market, a woman in a pink coat walks alongside her preschool child, and calls over her shoulder to her own mother who has stopped at the tempting … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

So when you’re out to dinner and…

As their parents sat at the table and talked, the children kept running around, hiding underneath and shouting at one another. These people’s happiness pleased Mevlut. Human beings were made … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

The Vocation

As people merge into a line to board our airplane, a Grandmother steps up and then steps back. She asks the boy behind me if he and I are waiting … Continue reading

Featured · 9 Comments

Street Charades

The man is in a beret and a sweater-jacket with a high neck and a vaguely American Southwest pattern. It gets my attention because I’m in Budapest, Hungary, quite a … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

Your Easter Dresses, Love Grandma.

Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
Grandma is buying the girls a pair of Easter dresses–the fluffier the better. Her two granddaughters stand close and grin. They love…

Featured · Leave a comment

To Sit and To Read

It’s making an elderly woman nuts that I won’t sit in the S-Bahn train to the Vienna airport. She nodded to the seat across from her. She recommended it, offered … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

The Day Tour

The family traveled from San Diego to New York, New York to Istanbul, Istanbul to Kayseri, and then collapsed into a hotel room for only few hours before heading out … Continue reading

Featured · 6 Comments

Where the Heart Is

Someone has let loose a dozen small red, glittering hearts made of some sort of plastic sheeting. They might be an accompaniment to a St. Valentine’s Day package, but I’m … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

Like a Shepherd

The little boy with blue-framed glasses rushes to the train with his mother. Then he turns in a shock as he boards. His father is not behind him. He’s looking … Continue reading

Featured · 10 Comments

God Bless Darlene! :)

I’m excited to share an interview I did with blogger, adventurer, and all around lovely person, Darlene. She asked me some questions about my book, my travels, and my writing … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

Be Nice To Yourself (As Well)

It’s more like: if you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable … Continue reading

Featured · 10 Comments

Boys with Books

Seven junior high school boys are on a sort of field trip by bus. They chat in small groups, look over my shoulder at my notebook, annoy an old man … Continue reading

Featured · 7 Comments

A Puzzle

A young man with a shark-tooth necklace, a skateboard, and a black wrist band sits in the Metro and stares into space. One stop later, he reaches into his backpack, … Continue reading

Featured · 3 Comments

Still Grinning

Sorry, I’m traveling today, but I am still beaming from a comment by a reader, 8 year-old Max. While I appreciate all of my readers, I must admit, every time … Continue reading

Featured · 9 Comments

From Glen to Glen

Between the flute, the violin, and the piano, the melody comes together and I recognize it in a few notes. I seem to be the only one to catch the … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

In Case of a Tie

“Your bow is undone,” her older sister whispers, holding up one end of the blue sash that should be tied at the back of her little sister’s frilly dress. Big … Continue reading

Featured · 7 Comments

Cat Confidantes

He’s rustling a sack as he walks, as he slows his pace. He begins whispering to the gathering crowd and smiling. He has come to pay his respects to the … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

Live Like You’re 70+

“Because I am 84 I am frequently asked, ‘What was the favorite time of your life?’ As though it is all over. I always say, ‘Right now.’ “I mean it. … Continue reading

Featured · 3 Comments

From Strangers to Friends

As many of you know, I published a collection of my very-short creative non-fiction stories in the winter. I’d always wanted to write a book, ever since the stories that … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

Dad and Dog Wait for the Daughter

Dad and Dog wait for the Daughter’s school bus. Dad has one hand on his hip and the other holding the leash. Dad stands, the dog sits. They glance down … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

Strangers on a Shuttle

They are meeting for the first time this morning, but no one in the airport shuttle can believe it. He is tall with brown eyes and a compassionate smile. She has green eyes … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

Melt. –a guest post by Desiree Gaul

I am so excited to share this lovely tale. Enjoy this guest post from my friend and former student, Desiree Gaul. * The evening mist under the streetlamp highlights her … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Wrinkles

The following was a new story for my book (Oh, if you want a snag a copy or send one to a friend, you can order it here at Amazon.) … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

How They Happen to Love Each Other

During takeoff, a hand appears behind the head of the man in front of me. The angle seems odd. I can’t sort out how he could bend his arm to … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

Brantley’s Big Adventure

It’s an honor to share a guest post from my second cousin, Nicole. We wrote letters on occasion growing up, and it’s been inspiring to hear about her journey with … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

Skills and Struggles

One might read the lives of the saints and think: I could be more generous, more loving, more patient, and so on. But, when he think that we have to … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

Is this a Dream?

“Daddy?” The boy is between his father and mother in the plane. His little legs so short that they stick straight out when he is moved back in the seat … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

I Am So Grateful To Write

I seemed to have lost an eye for merely exterior detail and to have discovered, instead, a deep sense of respect and love and pity for the souls that such … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

Young Love

Once the light turns green, the silver SUV blasts off, only to come to a halt at the next stoplight. This catches the attention of others on the road, who note … Continue reading

Featured · 3 Comments

Because I am Learning

The clerks at the market wear the same black polo shirts, the same nametags, the same gazes up from where they sit to where customers stand. When it is my … Continue reading

Featured · 10 Comments

My Interview with Karma

I guess the headline sounds like something bad showed up at my door (or something good!).  The interviewer was my former college roommate Karma Chavez, though we didn’t tell too … Continue reading

Featured · 13 Comments

Airport Starbucks: No, I am not an Inspector

The people at Starbucks always spell my name Peych (or Peç), so I answer to it. At the Ataturk airport Starbucks, a barista with very dark, but well-groomed eyebrows calls, … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

Roll With It

It’s a long line at the grocery store on a Friday afternoon and everyone is staring into space, sighing, or frowning–even yours truly. I always get a basket rather than … Continue reading

Featured · 7 Comments

Budapest Bakery

In the bakery in Budapest, I have to rely on my “have mercy on me” skills. Even when I try to read the tags next to the pastry of my … Continue reading

Featured · 14 Comments

My Book

So, I wrote a book. I am so grateful for my blog readers who have given me a lot of encouragement in my writing. I’m so fortunate to be a … Continue reading

Featured · 32 Comments

Solo Flight

The little girl stands on the porch of the family business and talks to herself. She’s in the middle of a fascinating one-way conversation. She waves an imaginary friend over … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

Siblings and ‘Staches

The youngest child of a huge family is drinking Ayran, a beverage made of yogurt and water, as far as I can tell. She is at a table packed with … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

Crossing Guard

I’m waiting to cross the street, watching for a few hustling taxis to pass, when I feel a presence on my right. I instinctively move a bit to my left. I am … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

This Seeing of the World

Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
But he went on to reflect that he had done very wisely to pull up stakes and come abroad; this seeing of…

Featured · 2 Comments

Big Sister

The morning bus is packed, and I am standing in the baby-carriage corral near the front. There aren’t many parents rolling their babies on board at this hour, so it has … Continue reading

Featured · 9 Comments

The Humbling Scenes: Part II

So I knew I couldn’t walk to my Turkish class, and would need another plan. I stared at a map and felt some vague hope that if I went to a … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

The Humbling Scenes: Part I

If you have a good sense of direction, please never forget that this is a gift. Like those who can sleep in airplanes, you have been granted something very beautiful. … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

Slapstick Grandma

Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
She gives her grandchildren a bright, rainbow umbrella. She opens it for those cherubs–a boy and a girl in galoshes–and lets the…

Featured · 2 Comments

Seek and You Will Find

The grandson at full height comes to his grandfather’s knees, but he speaks looking straight up as though it’s the most ordinary way to hold a conversation. Baba smiles down at … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Whatever Will Be Will Be

The tram lurches at stops and the morning riders open their eyes briefly, then return to snoozing while standing. I’ve just arrived so I am jet lagged and full of … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

Camouflage

It’s a chilly morning. All the kids waiting on school buses are wearing coats, but many are also wearing shorts. By afternoon it will be warm, yet there are shivers right after … Continue reading

Featured · 3 Comments

Little Miss Dutiful

The middle child adores her baby brother. She kisses him and holds his tiny hand while waiting to board. She’s a proud Kindergartener, offering to carry packages down the jetway … Continue reading

Featured · 2 Comments

Mostar

I’m going through notebooks from my first trip to Bosnia-Hercegovina so I can use some of it in a novel I’m trying to finish. There’s something very humbling about re-reading my detailed record of … Continue reading

Featured · 14 Comments

Why I Smile –Even When I’m in the Grocery Store

We stand much more in need of encouragement, of positive and clear direction. We know well enough what is wrong with us, but the monotony of the life sometimes makes … Continue reading

Featured · 5 Comments

Compassion

She chooses her clothes carefully, this seems clear. Her shoes are leather, the hat on her head is fashionable, the hair underneath well-kept. She is staring ahead and muttering, shaking … Continue reading

Featured · Leave a comment

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,255 other followers