The Nice Thing About Strangers

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


A little old man offers to take their picture. He’s exiting the restaurant with his wife. Outside, a woman is snapping a shot of a very tall man who just realized he is dressed like his father. The older gent feels a group photo is in order.

“Want me to take one for you?” He is already striding toward the cameraphone, handing his closed University of Missouri umbrella to his wife as he passes by. His wife smiles with her lips closed tight. She is full from brunch and not in a hurry, and if her husband is always so helpful, she may be accustomed to waiting through his kind gestures.

The older man lines us up his subjects and steps back. He’s received a few instructions on the camera–you push this button, this one here–and readies his shot. Then he stops, “Oh. Oh, well, now I think I’m taking a selfie.”

Pleased to be up-to-date on the word of the year, he waits while the relative-youngsters reset the view. He manages a picture that is in crisp focus, and he’s delighted at his success. He even winds his arm around his wife’s waist as they head for their car, she still thinly smiling and toting the damp umbrella.

–Kansas City, Missouri

Garden of Eden, Lucas, things to do in Kansas

Garden of Eden, Lucas, Kansas

12 comments on “Hip

  1. M-R
    April 23, 2014

    She should genuinely rejoice in his being such a nice feller !!

  2. Jonathan Caswell
    April 23, 2014

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  3. joannerambling
    April 24, 2014

    Blood great

  4. Steven Wordsmith Lincoln
    April 24, 2014

    We are all hip in our own way. I fear I may be this photographer in a few years . . . I’ll try to embrace it.

    • Steve,
      I can’t wait to be older. I’m going to have cake for breakfast! He was, for me, the hippest part of the day.
      Thanks for all your support–400th post hits on Friday!

  5. suej
    April 24, 2014

    Well observed! The wife is embarrassed by what she sees as his intrusion, or even showing off….she prefers to be in her own space.

    • Sue,
      Yes, she caught my eye almost before he did. Perhaps this is a part of “opposites attract”? I can see myself being the quiet one in that scenario as well. I’m friendly, but I never want to intrude. πŸ™‚
      Thanks, Sue. Hope you have a great week–

      • suej
        April 24, 2014

        And you have a good week, too Paige! πŸ™‚

  6. Kim
    April 24, 2014

    I am so sad that I haven’t stumbled upon this blog earlier! Such lovely writing, and I adore the notion of a little old man dropping the word “selfie.”

    • πŸ™‚ Of course that was also my favorite part, Kim! Thanks for checking out the blog. I hope you’re doing well! Miss you!

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