The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Happiness Granted

On a bench at the mall, a young mother rests with a baby in her lap and a toddler at her feet. She encourages the toddler, “Say Happy New Year! Say it. Say Happy New Year.” The toddler is shy and leans in close.

As I pass, the boy speaks up, “Happy New Year!”

I smile over him and reply, “And Happy New Year to you!”

He glances up at me in shock, and I see for the first time the cell phone in his hand–a call being cajoled from him–and a frown forming on his face, “Not you!”

His mother can’t help but laugh, but she tries to correct him, “Okay, that’s okay.”

“Not you!” He calls out after me, but it seems he is too late.


2013 was a lovely year to spend with my nieces, who do–indeed–make me a very happy aunt. Happy New Year!


12 comments on “Happiness Granted

  1. joannerambling
    January 1, 2014

    That made me smile “not you”

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 1, 2014

      Oh yes! Me too, Joanne. As though there can be only one Happy New Year, and he was not about to give it to me! 🙂
      Hope you are well. It’s a delight to make you laugh.

  2. Walter Pereira
    January 1, 2014

    C’mon , Paige…that bottom photo is one of you when you were a little girl, right?! 😉

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 1, 2014

      🙂 Nope, but she looks exactly like her Mama! I was never such a pale blonde kiddo. Pale, yes, but dark blonde always.

      Happy New Year, Walt!

  3. hughcurtler
    January 2, 2014

    Ah yes, the delight of digital toys in the hands of children! Happy New Year anyway!!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 2, 2014

      I wonder if it was a face-time call? 🙂 I wonder if the people on the other end would have also been stingy with the wishes, or if they got a good laugh out of it as well?

      Happy New Year–really!–to you Hugh.

  4. hafong
    January 2, 2014

    Happy New Year!

  5. Robert M. Weiss
    January 2, 2014

    That was a funny and revealing story. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Steven Wordsmith Lincoln
    January 7, 2014

    Thanks for the outright laugh. Wishing you the best 2014 imaginable!

  7. Gallivanta
    January 8, 2014

    Hilarious story. And how cute are your nieces 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 9, 2014

      Thank you, Gallivanta! I was so excited to have this happen, as I’d been wondering what I’d write for the new year!
      Being an aunt is just superfantastic. 🙂
      All my best,

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