The Stranger

The Stranger 

This is very interesting and not the ending I had expected!!!!  

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small 
Texas 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 
adve ntures, 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 longtime 
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 so meone to listen to 
him talk and watch him draw his pictures. 


His name?…. . . . . . . We just call him "TV." 

(Note: This should be required reading for every household in  America!) 

He has a wife now….We call her "Computer."    

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15 Responses to The Stranger

  1. Becca says:

    How true! What is that saying? The more things change…

  2. nodope says:

    Now there’s one for the books. I know how many feel about this subject but I am not one of them. Having grown up in a household where TV, or anything else that we considered fun was banned by my father’s sense of religion, I can tell you I found plenty of opportunity to stray from the "path", so to speek, regardless of his efforts to shield me from the ills of the world.
    Just a living testimony that we can find our own way to burn if we so choose. Great story Bob.

  3. Jane says:

    Ah, but I bet the stranger showed you things that you would never have seen otherwise.

  4. David says:

    We periodically had TV banned as a moral threat – depending on whether my father’s moral compass was being dragged in that direction by booze or if it was moving toward moderation.  I imagine this is one reason why I watch so much now – a slightly guilty pleasure.  I believe that parents can set a standard of behavior with or without TV present.   It takes consistency, lack of fear that the kids won’t like them, choosing the core issues to take a stand on (not just fear of kids having pleasure),  concentration on acceptable behavior without wasting breath on kids verbally reciting the parents beliefs like little automatons.  TV is not the issue, parents’ desire to use it as a baby sitter and educator is the issue. 

  5. Lena says:

    OMG that’s great!  You had me captivated til the last word.  Bravo, Bob-a-roo!

  6. Jade says:

    tv is how I got closer to my dad,
    we watched football & mohamed ali-
    I was the only one who would!
    good times.

  7. J says:

    Tell it Brother Serious! Do I hear an AMEN? Yes, Brother! Amen.

  8. Jude says:

    Hehehe….how very, very true!
    Hope you’re doing well, hun 🙂

  9. CAROL says:

    You are so right that one was a shocker alright.. glad you are doing so well BOB..has it stopped raining yet??
    Be glad you are not in Seattle!!  : )

  10. Isabelle says:

    Thank you Bob you have kept me reading all the lines to the end to find stranger was!
    As I read I really could not understand why you mum didn’t do anything!!
    Ah that stranger he really pisses me off for it makes everybody or so addicted to it’s talk. I don’t know for you but the stranger in my house is becoming too violent for my taste with all the disusting films showing at prime time.
    No wonder the youth is becoming violent to for as you recallit played an important role in your childhood!!!
    I think sometime the TV should be kicked out of the house and let people bond again.
    Just my point of view.
    And the computer? Same a devil in disguise!!

  11. ♥ Aimee says:

    so true…
    *~* :o) before you put on a frown… :o) make sure there are no smiles available… :o) *~*

  12. The says:

    love this too!  hope you don’t mind, but I invited you as a friend so it will show when you update.  you are a hoot, and I love your space!

  13. Lynn says:

    Too cool, Bob.

  14. Ice says:

    Good one!

  15. Ice says:

    Good one!

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