The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Author Archives: thenicethingaboutstrangers

I took off without leaving a note

I wasn’t sure what to write. If I were to leave a note, maybe it would say: BE BACK SOON! Or So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye. When I stopped … Continue reading

February 3, 2017 · 28 Comments


There was a storytelling code of solidarity–you did not sabotage someone else’s narration if it was satisfying to the audience, or you could expect one of your stories to be … Continue reading

October 24, 2016 · 3 Comments

The Clues

My neighbors in the plane watch a television show together on the tiny screen in front of her seat. She sits straight on, often smiling over as he cranes his … Continue reading

October 21, 2016 · 4 Comments

On Peppers and Humility

A few weeks ago in a Turkish market, I wanted to ask if the peppers were spicy, but I apparently asked if the peppers would punch/injure me. The girl laughed … Continue reading

October 17, 2016 · 13 Comments

The Humbling Scenes: Part II

Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
So I knew I couldn’t walk to my Turkish class, and would need another plan. I stared at a map and felt some…

October 12, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Humbling Scenes: Part I

Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
If you have a good sense of direction, please never forget that this is a gift. Like those who can sleep in…

October 10, 2016 · 4 Comments

The Disobedient

Surely there’s a lesson about human beings in relation to God when every visitor to the Virgin Mary’s House ignores the plentiful signs not to take photos. They are warned outside … Continue reading

October 5, 2016 · 9 Comments

Though Weary Evening Eyes Do Get Sunsets…

On the long journey doubts were often my companions. I’ve always admired those reporters who can descend on an area, talk to key people, ask key questions, take samplings of … Continue reading

September 28, 2016 · 6 Comments

The Welcome Home Scene

He’s somewhere in early 20s and exceptionally tall. He’s clean shaven and tan in his white button-up shirt. Back in the airplane, he ate a sandwich, sat restlessly in his … Continue reading

September 26, 2016 · 14 Comments

Photo Op

The old man wears a straw hat shaped like a cowboy hat. It has something like a badge at the front. He wears sunglasses that are a cross between aviators … Continue reading

September 21, 2016 · Leave a comment

Still Friendly After All These Years

The elderly woman is perfectly coordinated–a pink dress, a pale blue sweater, a pink and blue necklace, blue eyes, gray hair to her chin. Her daughter is her accessory, tucked … Continue reading

September 19, 2016 · 18 Comments

The Urge to Be Someplace Else

“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me … Continue reading

September 14, 2016 · 11 Comments

Waiting on the 13A

A woman with a long, swinging skirt walks with two heaps of lettuce across her arm as though she’s carrying bouquets of flowers, like a runner-up beauty queen making off with the … Continue reading

September 12, 2016 · 15 Comments

To Be Grateful

I’m waiting in line for three ticket machines in the metro station. Of course, I get to mine, and it doesn’t take cash. Or cards. So I turn, tugging my … Continue reading

September 7, 2016 · 19 Comments

Escalator Kissing

The man and woman have grey hair and matching gold necklaces. They hold hands. People rarely walk down the escalator stairs in this Budapest metro station, as the angle is … Continue reading

September 2, 2016 · 46 Comments

The Hunger

There is no great difference in reality between one country and another, because it is always people you meet everywhere. They may look different or be dressed differently, they may … Continue reading

August 31, 2016 · 16 Comments

“At the High School Dance Recital,” A Guest Post from Kim Karras

Kim has a great sense of humor and a wonderful laugh. I love this story in part because I can hear Kim’s voice in it, even though we haven’t been … Continue reading

August 24, 2016 · 6 Comments

So So Beautiful

The girl sits upright in her stroller. Mom pushes and chats with her, but the little girl doesn’t lean back and relax. She’s watching the crowds coming and going in … Continue reading

August 17, 2016 · 17 Comments

The Ones Writing to Me

After a very nice note from a woman reading my book, I think of Merton and how he makes me laugh. “People write with great simplicity to me as though … Continue reading

August 15, 2016 · 2 Comments

Beauty (On the Record)

Two boys of perhaps ten or eleven are simultaneously struck by a vision. They turn into elderly men, gasping, bringing their upturned fingers together in front of their faces like … Continue reading

August 10, 2016 · 4 Comments

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