The Nice Thing About Strangers

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


A woman in a neon yellow button-up shirt, a white sweater, and neon yellow slacks catches the attention of a middle-aged man who suddenly can’t remove his backpack properly. He … Continue reading

July 24, 2015 · 4 Comments

The Storyteller

The man in the red Hawaiian shirt is telling a huge story to his friend while they wait at the bus stop. His gestures make it seem like a fish … Continue reading

July 17, 2015 · 3 Comments

Lightbulb in the Lighthouse

Before taking the lighthouse tour, visitors loiter at the Interpretive Center. A family with four children waits for the 1 pm tour. In the meantime, they explore the exhibits and … Continue reading

July 3, 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

Layla La La La

There are only four of us in the bus. The driver and I smile as I show him my pass, and I take a seat on the left side and … Continue reading

February 9, 2015 · 5 Comments


For a 6 am flight, there is a nice camaraderie in the airport. People seem too groggy to have their defenses up. We trade bleary-eyed glances. We stifle or release … Continue reading

February 2, 2015 · 4 Comments

Icy Conditions

In the middle of Pennsylvania, after driving through sleet and ice for five hours, it is a relief to smile at the two older men sitting for coffee at the … Continue reading

January 5, 2015 · 8 Comments


I inherited from my father his way of looking at things and some of his integrity, and from my mother her dissatisfaction with the mess the world is in and … Continue reading

November 14, 2014 · 4 Comments

Respect Your Elders

Pantera is the name of a metal band from Texas, and it’s scrawled across his t-shirt. He gruffly approaches the Information Desk. His girlfriend stands at his side with elaborate … Continue reading

August 15, 2014 · 14 Comments


At brunch, the three young girls sit on the left of the table, and their mothers face them on the other side. The girls chat over their pancakes, modeling their … Continue reading

July 25, 2014 · 11 Comments

Tactful (and Tattooed)

When they climb into the airport shuttle, she is in the middle of a story, her husband half-listening and half-overseeing the driver loading their suitcases. They have reached the age … Continue reading

July 21, 2014 · 7 Comments


“Hi bunny. Oh! Two! Hi other two bunnies!” Yes, I greeted the bunnies aloud on my evening walk. I smiled as I said it, and felt another presence near by. … Continue reading

July 14, 2014 · 7 Comments

Up, then Rocks, then Up

I’ve been remiss. I noticed that in the last few weeks, I’ve been looking less at strangers and more to loved ones and old friends. This is important, of course, … Continue reading

July 11, 2014 · 16 Comments

Corner Pocket

It doesn’t seem fair to give too many details, since she didn’t know she’d be on the record. She challenged my friend to a game of pool, she challenged everyone … Continue reading

July 4, 2014 · 13 Comments

The Whatever Grandpa

Though there are dozens of food carts outside for the Midnight Sun Festival, she sits with Grandma and Grandpa in an air conditioned restaurant with tall tables. She gazes at … Continue reading

June 30, 2014 · 13 Comments

An Apple A Day

She’s been silently enjoying her lunch. Though she’s consuming soup she blows quietly to cool it, like whispering over a sleeping child, and she eats from a breadbowl, which makes … Continue reading

June 25, 2014 · 16 Comments

Car Dancing

The boy is a teenager, but also a boy. He sits in the passenger seat of a truck and dances in his spot. He sit-dances with the best of them, … Continue reading

June 11, 2014 · 13 Comments

Guest Post: The Huffy Prophet by Sarie Fischer Norval

I hope you’ll enjoy this guest post from my dear friend Sarie. I think her story helps explain why we’ve been friends for 17 years…whoa. Teaching a summer class has … Continue reading

June 6, 2014 · 4 Comments

Way Far Away

He is tiny in Timberland boots. He holds the orange plastic bat over his shoulder, as his father shows him. When Dad tosses the light, white plastic ball the little … Continue reading

May 30, 2014 · 12 Comments

Learning to be Cool

The father wants to take a photograph of his daughter at the large airport window, in front of the airplane they will take to Vienna. He’s removed his shoes and … Continue reading

May 23, 2014 · 4 Comments

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