The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

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

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

“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

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

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


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

Another Route

My taxi driver waves me off when I try to help put my suitcase in the trunk. “It’s heavy, really heavy,” I warn in Turkish. He tosses it in and … Continue reading

June 13, 2016 · 5 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

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

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