Thursday Special ~ The Stranger

When I was a teenager, my Dad invited a stranger into our home. We were all fascinated with this enchanting newcomer who soon became a central part of our family. We never questioned his place in our household. In our young minds, he had a special niche.

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

If we 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 us to sports events. He made us laugh, and he made us 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 honour 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 our ears and made dad squirm and mother blush.

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 our 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.’

Yes, I agree with Frank who sent this to me, we were about the same age.

10 thoughts on “Thursday Special ~ The Stranger

    1. Grannymar Post author

      I know someone who insists on leaving the TV on when you go to visit her. She keeps the remote in her hand and constantly changes station, complaining that everything is rubbish. If she left a programme on for five minutes she might discover that she likes it!

      I was never a TV person so got rid of my set about fifteen years ago. I never missed it.

  1. SchmidleysScribbling

    My Dad was much stricter. He banned bicycles and TV from our house. He never got one until years later when someone gave him one. I never had a bike until I was 50 years old and then I was beginning to develop arthritis, so my bike riding days ended very shortly. I wish I could ride a bike, and miss it. As for TV I watch about two hours each day. One hour for news, one for entertainment.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      I have no TV and never had a bicycle. I find other ways for entertainment or exercise.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      WWW, when Frank sent this one to me a couple of weeks ago, I thought it had a familiar ring to it, but knew I had not posted it here. It is as relevant today, as it was then.

  2. Three Well Beings

    I’m so very glad I read to the end, GM! I was reading along wondering who in the world this person could be that would teach you things in opposition to your parents’ values. As an adult I’m very particular about what I watch and can regulate the “waste of time” from programs that I do find valuable. But as a child, I’m quite sure I watched many a show that might have been entirely inappropriate! I know that the same stranger frequently visited my home, too!


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