The Nice Thing About Strangers

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


Madonna, Prague“Beware of pickpocketers while praying.”  I pass the sign in the entryway to the Church of the Infant of Prague. I keep my hands in my empty pockets. I admire the saints admiring the sky and watch my own breath rising. The pine scent is fantastic and competes with the chill of the building and the breeze of the street–the doors constantly propped open by slow-moving tourist troupes.

As I stand near a statue of St. Therese, a monk approaches. His brown robe rustles and I move out of his way, my typical posture of trying to be polite and unobtrusive. He’s looking at me, so I turn and smile. His eyes are deep-set and blue, his eyebrows a salt-and-pepper hedge.

“Where are you from?” He asks, but it’s not really a question, I suspect, because as I say the United States and he’s ready with a follow up: “Can you name all Fifty?”

For half a guilty second I wonder if I’m being called upon for fifty saints or fifty prayers, “Oh. The States? Hmmm. Maybe forty?”

“Not bad.” He gestures at me, so I nod and genuflect as a reaction. I promise myself to brush up on all of it next year, those small East Coast states and the major statue-able saints.

–Prague, Czech Republic.

13 comments on “Resolution

  1. arjun bagga
    December 31, 2012

    they consider you intelligent if good in general knowledge,

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 31, 2012

      I don’t mind admitting where things are hazy. 🙂 Thanks for reading the blog! Happy 2013!

      • arjun bagga
        December 31, 2012

        Course, it’s quite clear, you are a brilliant writer 🙂

      • Clanmother
        December 31, 2012

        I agree with Arjun – you are a brilliant writer!

  2. greenlightlady
    December 31, 2012

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog!

    Blessings for 2013 ~ Wendy

  3. Clanmother
    December 31, 2012

    What I really like about my visits is that I never know exactly where I will be when I pop by…your narratives place me at the centre of the dialogue. Happy New Year – glad that we are traveling the same road!!

  4. ApplePieAndNapalm
    December 31, 2012

    Your blog is so fantastic, I just love it. I was the recipient of the Very Inspiring Blogger award and I am repaying that kindness by nominating yours! Just go to my newest post and save and upload your award. You’ll see from my post what to do. Keep up the great work!

  5. petit4chocolatier
    January 2, 2013

    Very cute story 🙂

  6. Enchanted Seashells
    January 2, 2013

    I can just see it happen! Better brush up on our states and capitals!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 3, 2013

      No kidding. I probably know more of them than I did a few years ago, just out of morbid curiosity! Lol. Happy New Year, lady!

  7. evelyneholingue
    October 23, 2014

    Did you think he was a pickpocket when his robe brushed against you? I like the Fifty question, and how you thought they could be prayers. I had to learn the 50 American states for my naturalization. My numerous road trips have helped me to remember them. Lovely post, Paige. As always.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 29, 2014

      Evelyne, 🙂 I am not as aware of pickpocketers as I ought. Perhaps because I have so little worth lifting!
      Next time I take on a serious journey, I think I’ll do it in the States. There are a lot of places at “home” that I haven’t yet experienced.
      All my best,
      Paige (Sorry about the delay on my reply! I’ve been on the run and had faulty internet, grrrr.)

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