The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

“The Winter of Our Discontent” in August

See you Monday for a happy tale from the Ataturk airport, Istanbul. For now, a few lines from John Steinbeck’s “The Winter of Our Discontent,” which I just devoured. 🙂 … Continue reading

August 5, 2016 · 5 Comments

Just a Little Reading Break

The impresario Seth Godin said, “Many people start a blog, but very few people ever finish one.” I don’t think I’m finished yet. I don’t quite know how to explain … Continue reading

August 3, 2016 · 11 Comments

Slow and Steady

A slow-moving service cart transporting two elderly men in polo shirts crosses Terminal A. The driver is surely their contemporary. They all try to sit up, gazing out from under … Continue reading

July 29, 2016 · 2 Comments

“Of course, they aren’t always funny.”

Mom, Dad, two sons and Grandpa are waiting for their flight. They are two hours early as Grandpa apparently requested. Grandpa reads his “New Yorker” magazine calmly. The boys writhe, … Continue reading

July 25, 2016 · 2 Comments

Prayers for Paul

The man sits quietly by the window through the flight. As we grow close to landing, my 9-year old niece strikes up a conversation with her neighbor. This is a sure sign … Continue reading

July 18, 2016 · 5 Comments

Lady on the Train (A Guest Post from Clayton Lovett)

A little gift from Brazil via Clayton Lovett: Adjectives to describe the people on the train were (probably) things like: healthy, sick, recently-lost-a-loved-one, pregnant, in-love, carrying-a-terminal-illness, happy, mentally ill, mentally … Continue reading

July 13, 2016 · 5 Comments

Yep, I Was Just About To Do That

Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
She’s in elementary school, somewhere near the middle of it, perhaps. Her hair is bright blonde and neatly trimmed. She’s sitting by…

July 11, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Courage to Be

Lodged in your heart is the power to walk into somebody’s life and give him or her what the bright light Paul Tillich called “the courage to be.” Can you … Continue reading

July 8, 2016 · 5 Comments

Please Be Seated

The mother, her four teenage daughters, and her preschool son have seated themselves completely at random near the back of the plane. A couple, whose seats the teens have occupied, … Continue reading

July 6, 2016 · 5 Comments

We’re People-Watching People

His black work shoes are worn on the back at the outside of the heels. It’s such a pronounced missing piece, like the heels were carved into crescents. However, as … Continue reading

June 29, 2016 · Leave a comment

11.49 miles (Guest Post by Andrew Boge )

I met a remarkable young man on my tour last month. Andrew is a great audience member, a thoughtful human being, and a bright spirit. He’s a student at Hastings … Continue reading

June 24, 2016 · 2 Comments


Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
For a 6 am flight, there is a nice camaraderie in the airport. People seem too groggy to have their defenses up.…

June 15, 2016 · 3 Comments

Let it Roll

For the final day of a cross-country trip, I had to drive across all of Kansas and through half of Colorado. Just after leaving Kansas City, a motorcycle passed me. … Continue reading

June 8, 2016 · 6 Comments

Wrong Turns

“I don’t mind if I make mistakes. It may be that in one of the blind alleys I may find something to my purpose.” –(Larry.) The Razor’s Edge. W. Somerset … Continue reading

June 6, 2016 · 5 Comments

Deli Girl

She is standing by the clear glass display and browsing the various meats. There are two women standing nearby, but after a moment it becomes clear that the girl is … Continue reading

June 1, 2016 · 4 Comments

Vitamin Quiet

Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
I’ve got the same driver on my way back to Croatia. We catch the other’s glance in the mirror above his seat.…

May 30, 2016 · 2 Comments


“Tavuskuşu var, tavuskuşu var!” The little girl is squealing over the presence of peacocks in a small aviary near the restaurant. Her calling spooks four white doves, who flap into … Continue reading

May 23, 2016 · 2 Comments

Car Dancing

Originally posted on The Nice Thing About Strangers:
The boy is a teenager, but also a boy. He sits in the passenger seat of a truck and dances in his…

May 18, 2016 · Leave a comment


They sit on the bench with their ice cream cones. She swings her legs as she sits. He hunches under his baseball cap. Without comment, they watch a man who … Continue reading

May 16, 2016 · 4 Comments

The Trigger Man (A Guest Post by Clayton Lovett)

My friend CL is insightful, clever and a gifted storyteller. He’s also been following and supporting the blog since the beginning. Since he’s living in Brazil these days, I asked … Continue reading

May 11, 2016 · Leave a comment

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