The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

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

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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

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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

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The View from Here

The little boy sits on a gargantuan chair. It is a huge display to show the craftsmanship of the maker. The chair presides over the airport food court. Parents have … Continue reading

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“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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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…

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.…

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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

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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

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