The Stranger


 My Dad met a stranger who was new to our  small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated  with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him  to live with our family. The  stranger was quickly  accepted and was around from then  on.  

As I grew up, I never  questioned  his place in my family. In my young  mind, he had a special niche.  

My parents were  complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from  evil, and Dad taught me to obey.  But the stranger…  he was our storyteller.  He would keep us spellbound  for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and  comedies.

If I wanted to know  anything about politics, history or science, he always  knew the answers about the past,  understood the  present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took  my family to the first major league  ball game. He made me  laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never  stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.  

Sometimes, Mom would  get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each  other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace  and quiet.  (I wonder now if she  ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)  

Dad ruled our  household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger  never felt obligated to honor them.  Profanity, for  example, was not allowed in our home – not from us, our friends  or any visitors. Our long time visitor,  however, got away with four-letter  words that burned my ears and made my dad  squirm and my mother blush. 

My Dad didn’t permit  the liberal use of alcohol but the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular  basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes  distinguished.  He talked freely  (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes  suggestive, and generally embarrassing..  

I now know that my  early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly  by the stranger. Time after time, he  opposed the values of  my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER asked to  leave.  

More than fifty years  have passed since the stranger moved in with our family.  He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he  was at first.   Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today,  you would still find him sitting over in his corner,  waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. 

His name ….?

We just call him  ‘TV.’

tvHe has a wife now….we  call her   ‘Computer.’

Their first child  is   “Cell Phone”.  

Their Second child is called,  “IPod “

And just recently they had Grandchildren:  


What’s next to destroy our precious family dinners, delightful conversations and plain old fashioned love from looking at each others in the eyes and sharing how we feel…?  Who does THAT now????

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