The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Clever Boating Term and a Link to the Lemon Tree

The sunset was a dusty purple and blue–like eye shadow colors that women only wore in magazines. I had been collecting the sunsets in amazement at their variety, and to remind myself that three months on the coast of Croatia would go swiftly.

I took my apartment in the off-season to avoid the pressure of too many tan people in swimming suits. Other than my post on the third story, the apartments were vacant. My landlady, Edita, regularly loaded me up with sacks of lemons from her heavy tree in the front yard. Lemon juice became my favorite condiment in gratitude for the ceaseless yellow gifts.

The whole town thought/knew/had been told that I was there to write a book. I may or may not have been party to the rumor. So when sitting on the balcony with my notebook, neighbors peered up, pedestrians stole glances, and the details I collected went into notebooks I would ship home and ignore for years.

Ana, the neighbor to my left, wore long black dresses and blew me kisses as she hung her laundry out to dry. We acknowledged each other several times a day, and I often called down the five clean Croatian phrases that I had been taught.

Their postman had a white handlebar mustache and rode yellow moped. He wore a mailbag over his chest and kept a basket on the handlebars, brimming with packages.  He took the steep hill by the apartment very, very slowly, careful to nod at my landlord, who was often out front working on his project. He had been building a boat in the yard since I first arrived.

Rain or shine, he worked when he could and entertained visitors who stopped by every ten minutes for coffee, cigarettes, and to lean on the boat frame.  After nearly every break, when he set back to work, he glanced up at my post on the balcony and waved his handsaw. We waited for the day that both our efforts would take shape. His took to the water in the late spring; mine remain under construction.

-Trogir, Croatia

4 comments on “Clever Boating Term and a Link to the Lemon Tree

  1. stardust310
    February 13, 2012

    Hmm, writing a book. I want mine autographed please 🙂 You are awesome. You are amazing. You are so talented. <~~That was part of your cheering section. PS. Are you getting a lot of spam? Because I am! I cannot decide if some of it is spam or people from FB. At any rate, your descriptive writing is what I need to learn. I am more of a ….straight to the point writer. You shall be my I wanted to say muse, but that does not seem correct. I do not want to say teacher because that ship has sailed. I shall continue to read your blogs and hope that I can one day be as descriptive as you, for now, I will stick to my strange, but neat, way of writing 🙂 🙂 XXXX
    M

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      February 22, 2012

      I think the book rumor was started by a friend to get people to steer clear of me. Or maybe I was sitting at a cafe and writing and they thought I was secret police or something. This is also possible. Thanks for the encouragement. Some days I need it more than others!!
      No spam, but facebookers, I think. All human as far as I can see!

  2. QueenyCC
    September 1, 2016

    Are all of the blogs on this page written in Croatia? Also, did you take these photos there?

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 2, 2016

      Quite a few of the stories are in Croatia, yes. I was fortunate to live there for a few months. I’ve got stories from quite a few countries, but my Croatia stories are very dear to me. 🙂 Yes, these photos are from the home of my hosts. 🙂
      Welcome–
      Paige

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This entry was posted on February 8, 2012 by in Europe, Happiness, Travel and tagged , , , , , , .

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