The Nice Thing About Strangers

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


A family of four walks through the falling leaves as they circle the castle. Dad has a camera with an extensive telephoto lens. One son walks, hops, stomps alongside the others. His mother pushes the younger son in a stroller. Mom slows alongside a row of parked cars, “Antonio,” she calls.

The child in the stroller sits up at the sound of his name. He turns to his mother, then cranes his neck back in the direction where Mom is nodding. He takes in a shiny black sedan.

“Mercedes,” he recites.

“Bravo!” Mom is pleased.

The boy in the stroller looks to the next car, a SUV-truck of sorts, raised on large tires, with a bar added on for lights above the windshield, a rope for towing. “Mama?”

“Eh. Mitsubishi,” Mom is unimpressed, but the boy keeps studying the vehicle as they pass. The son on foot skips on ahead, Dad walks behind. And Mom hustles the family past a Toyota without comment.

–Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland

5 comments on “Upbringing

  1. M-R
    October 8, 2014

    Amazing story, Paige … sad but true …

  2. joannerambling
    October 8, 2014

    Wow what a story

  3. suej
    October 9, 2014

    Well observed, Paige! 🙂

  4. Keith
    October 9, 2014

    Comparing my three nieces to my son, it seems that boys intrinsically move toward “boy things” such as cars and trucks. My precocious son would (and still does) scream, point, and nearly lose his mind when he sees a motorcycle or semi-truck or, (as I whisper) Thomas the Tank Engine. I often wonder why this is or if it’s just my bias reality that believes it.

    That said, hopefully I can steer him toward appreciating things that are economical and dependable over social image.

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This entry was posted on October 8, 2014 by in Travel and tagged , , , , , .

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