The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Baseball, Fatherhood, and Peace

The little old man playing the organ has lost most of his hearing, so he plays by heart. He plays beautifully, sweetly. Organs always make me think of baseball games, so I look at Father and wonder which coach he resembles.  It’s Catholic Mass at noon on a Wednesday, but there will be a seventh inning stretch.

A man and his grown son have matching hairstyles–smoothed with cream and combed into place. The father sometimes reaches for his son’s arm, taps him on the leg, offering a kind reassurance of his presence.

Most people here come alone. A room of widows, widowers, retirees and grandparents.  I adore a tall man with a cane, a missal, and a mustache. When I shake his hand and say, “Peace Be With You,” as we’ve been instructed, he replies: “Thank you very much.” I’m struck by it. I give him as much of a smile as two seconds will allow. A truly polite bunch, they respect quiet privacy. So no one stares when I wipe the tears from my eyes, at first trying to be subtle and having little luck with it, then using the back of my hand. They mercifully gaze into the distance and avoid the too-sensitive-woman in their periphery.


Prague, Czech Republic, dog walker

15 comments on “Baseball, Fatherhood, and Peace

  1. hughcurtler
    January 15, 2014

    Very nice!

  2. Patti Hall
    January 15, 2014

    Absolutely beautiful!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 16, 2014

      Thank you, Patti! I appreciate it very much. It’s so fun to see what people think of the stories.
      All my best,

  3. heavenhappens
    January 16, 2014

    So beautiful, descriptive and sensitively written x hope the tears are for others and not yourself x empathy is a great thing but can be exhausting! My dear departed dad used to say my eyes were too close to my bladder as I can cry at the drop of a hat!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 16, 2014

      Ha! Your Dad sounds very clever!
      Thank you for your take on the story. St. Teresa of Avila said that we cry because God gives us tears, so that has helped me to be less embarrassed by a weep-attack in public. 🙂
      All my best,

  4. rosesnearrunningwaters
    January 16, 2014

    Loved this! Baseball and Mass….two of my most favorite things 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      January 16, 2014

      Haha, I don’t know why this organ made me think of baseball, as it’s been years since I’ve caught a game. I’ve heard them before, but perhaps there was something particularly infield about Mass yesterday.
      🙂 I’m glad you liked the story, thanks for letting me know!
      All my best,

  5. Christopher S. Malone
    January 16, 2014

    Reblogged this on The Infinite Abyss(es) and commented:
    As I usually try to do on days that I’m not posting, I’m re-blogging this post by Paige Erickson, who writes The Nice Thing About Strangers. She has a great eye and imagination for creative Non-fiction, and you all should follow her.

  6. Leya
    January 16, 2014

    Now you got me moved and feeling good again! Thank you!

  7. Jonathan Caswell
    January 16, 2014

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  8. Mary Louise Wehunt
    January 16, 2014

    Peace be with you my dear

  9. Steven Wordsmith Lincoln
    January 25, 2014

    This will be the opening to my next foreign film. I can see it now. Such an evocative post, Paige.

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2014 by in Blogging, Happiness, Inspiration, Writing and tagged , , , , , , .

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