The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

“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

“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

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


For Holy Communion, people shuffle single-file toward the front. An altar server’s little brother has just cleared the front pews and spots his sister up there. She is seated near … Continue reading

June 27, 2016 · 6 Comments

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

The Tan Man

He is glazed to the color of carrot cake, but still seeking the sun. The resident leaving the senior center apartment complex is shirtless, but he wears khaki shorts and … Continue reading

June 20, 2016 · 2 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

The Flower Reverie

He sits on the bench outside the nursing home. He has long white hair and a full white beard. Naturally, he resembles Santa Claus. He also resembles a man at … Continue reading

June 3, 2016 · 1 Comment

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

Mrs. P

Today I went to an assisted living home to visit my first grade teacher. We reunited after over 30 years. The facility is in a lovely location with views of … Continue reading

May 25, 2016 · 4 Comments


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

A Nice Lady

At a gas station in Missouri, two hitchhikers approach me while I am filling up. They are in their 20s, with backpacks and a cardboard sign. They ask if I’m … Continue reading

May 9, 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

Dad and Dog Wait for the Daughter

Dad and Dog wait for the Daughter’s school bus. Dad has one hand on his hip and the other holding the leash. Dad stands, the dog sits. They glance down … Continue reading

February 29, 2016 · Leave a comment

Strangers on a Shuttle

They are meeting for the first time this morning, but no one in the airport shuttle can believe it. He is tall with brown eyes and a compassionate smile. She has green eyes … Continue reading

February 26, 2016 · 4 Comments

Young Love

Once the light turns green, the silver SUV blasts off, only to come to a halt at the next stoplight. This catches the attention of others on the road, who note … Continue reading

January 25, 2016 · 3 Comments

Notes from Home

I’m watching an older man in a patterned shirt–some sort of Earth-toned hexagons–eating his dinner with one hand while holding his cell phone in the other. As I’m taking notes … Continue reading

January 13, 2016 · 6 Comments

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