THE STRANGER          - 24/1/2015      <--Prev : Next-->

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated by 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 our family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, right from wrong; Dad taught me to obey.

But the stranger He was our storyteller:
he would keep us spellbound for hours on end, with adventures, comedies, and mysteries.

If I wanted to know anything about history, politics, 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.

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 the stranger had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for some peace and quiet. (I wonder if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave )

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honour them.

Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home
not from us, our friends, or any visitors. However, our long-time visitor got away with four-letter words that burned my ears, made my Dad squirm, and my Mom blush.

My Dad did not 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 know now that my early concepts about personal relationships were strongly influenced 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 now 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.

The stranger's name We just called him " TV ".

He has a wife now - we call her "computer".
Their first child is "cellphone".
Second child is "iPod'.

A Grandchild has just arrived : "iPad".