The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

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

Be Nice To Yourself (As Well)

It’s more like: if you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable … Continue reading

March 30, 2016 · 10 Comments

Boys with Books

Seven junior high school boys are on a sort of field trip by bus. They chat in small groups, look over my shoulder at my notebook, annoy an old man … Continue reading

March 28, 2016 · 7 Comments

From Glen to Glen

Between the flute, the violin, and the piano, the melody comes together and I recognize it in a few notes. I seem to be the only one to catch the … Continue reading

March 16, 2016 · 1 Comment

In Case of a Tie

“Your bow is undone,” her older sister whispers, holding up one end of the blue sash that should be tied at the back of her little sister’s frilly dress. Big … Continue reading

March 14, 2016 · 7 Comments

Live Like You’re 70+

“Because I am 84 I am frequently asked, ‘What was the favorite time of your life?’ As though it is all over. I always say, ‘Right now.’ “I mean it. … Continue reading

March 7, 2016 · 3 Comments

From Strangers to Friends

As many of you know, I published a collection of my very-short creative non-fiction stories in the winter. I’d always wanted to write a book, ever since the stories that … Continue reading

March 4, 2016 · 4 Comments

How They Happen to Love Each Other

During takeoff, a hand appears behind the head of the man in front of me. The angle seems odd. I can’t sort out how he could bend his arm to … Continue reading

February 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

Skills and Struggles

One might read the lives of the saints and think: I could be more generous, more loving, more patient, and so on. But, when he think that we have to … Continue reading

February 10, 2016 · 1 Comment

Roll With It

It’s a long line at the grocery store on a Friday afternoon and everyone is staring into space, sighing, or frowning–even yours truly. I always get a basket rather than … Continue reading

December 18, 2015 · 7 Comments

Budapest Bakery

In the bakery in Budapest, I have to rely on my “have mercy on me” skills. Even when I try to read the tags next to the pastry of my … Continue reading

December 11, 2015 · 14 Comments

The Humbling Scenes: Part I

If you have a good sense of direction, please never forget that this is a gift. Like those who can sleep in airplanes, you have been granted something very beautiful. … Continue reading

October 26, 2015 · 9 Comments


I’m going through notebooks from my first trip to Bosnia-Hercegovina so I can use some of it in a novel I’m trying to finish. There’s something very humbling about re-reading my detailed record of … Continue reading

September 30, 2015 · 14 Comments

Take Me

I’m renting an apartment in Budapest for a week. It’s an adorable building in a great location. The apartment has the amenities I sought, it is quiet and clean. However, … Continue reading

July 31, 2015 · 7 Comments

Best of Intentions

I’m delighted to share this story from the clever and insightful SFC Keith Hummel, a former student and current friend. ** I make it a point to avoid social interactions … Continue reading

June 1, 2015 · 3 Comments

The Light in the Fridge

Of course, I’m chatting with the driver of the shuttle from the parking lot to the Boston airport terminals. The minute I walked up to the bus he said, “Look … Continue reading

April 1, 2015 · 6 Comments

Hey, Hi, Nice to See You Again

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows which giant cookie has your name on it. The old man in a baseball cap shuffles in and waits patiently behind the … Continue reading

March 25, 2015 · 7 Comments

Livin’ on a Prayer

He doesn’t speak English, but he speaks Bon Jovi. He wears a black button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a necklace with some sort of animal tooth or … Continue reading

February 27, 2015 · 10 Comments


She chooses her clothes carefully, this seems clear. Her shoes are leather, the hat on her head is fashionable, the hair underneath well-kept. She is staring ahead and muttering, shaking … Continue reading

February 23, 2015 · Leave a comment

Just Say It

These winter stories are starting to bother me, because there’s only so much interaction anyone wants to do in the snow. I am bundled with a scarf over my chin … Continue reading

February 16, 2015 · 2 Comments

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