Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Stranger

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 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 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 someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name?

We just call him 'TV'.

Hat tip: My sister ♥Debbie♥

29 comments:

  1. Wow! The last verse was so unexpected. Good post.
    Good indeed.

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  2. yep, same here. didn't expect that at all!

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  3. Hmm, I could see that one coming!

    Big hugs, honey...

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  4. not me, i never saw it coming at all! good one! daughter #1 kicked him out of her house years ago, she wouldn't put up with his mouth!

    smiles, bee
    oxoxoxoxoxoxoxxo

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  5. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. this line makes me to act like shocking

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  6. I don't have one in my living room. It's reserved for gathering with family and friends, conversation, music or the reading of a good book. No rhetoric allowed.

    My bedroom? Yeah, I have one there for a very few shows, but mostly I need the noise to fall asleep.

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  7. Sandee, that is so true about TV and how we have become too accepting of it. I am the stage where I don't really trust it because of the poor quality of the shows.

    Have a great day!
    Pam

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  8. Interesting take...I like it

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  9. Excellent story with relevance from start to finish ;)

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  10. Great story, love how you told it. It still surprised me the things today that they can get away with on tv. I rarely watch anymore

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  11. hehehe, good post :) thanks for sharing. Found you by EC hopping.

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  12. I'm going to pat myself on the back as I actually managed to get this one figured out fairly soon!

    We were watching some new comedy on TV at work last night and when the main character was flicking her nipples to get them "more perky" I thought to myself - "where has our Nation gone when this sort of thing can be shown on PrimeTime TV?" It really made me cringe and be thankful that I wasn't watching it with my mother.

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  13. Well done! My gosh, I wanted him gone! And I have preyed for the TV to leave...

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  14. I LOVED this post Sandee. I was not sure if you were the one writing or not. I totally was surprised at the end. It is sooo true, all it it and that crazy box we call the TV. I wonder if 40 years from now we will be saying the same thing about this thing we call the computer?

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  15. Well done, and good point. My t.v. was called Bonanaza.

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  16. I'm afraid the tv isn't much of a stranger in our house.

    Very funny.

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  17. Your narration of the story is absorbing and full of suspense till the last word! excellent presentation! You have also had a dig at the evil effects of the TV in your own characteristic way!

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  18. I believe that I know this stranger who you speak of. He ran out of great stories to tell about 7 or so years ago, so I tend to ignore him most of the time when I'm at home. Not too sure if he resents me for it...The new stranger in the house(computer) seems to have a lot more to offer anyway.

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  19. So true..good thing "the stranger" in our home is completely ignored for time being :) until such time we got him a cable I guess.

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  20. I bet that TV's brand is Sony

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  21. I figured this one out before the end, sadly his younger brother has now moved in and he is far more vuglar, more obscene, and has absolutely no manners, he is our beloved "Personal Computor".

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  22. Wow we have a friend like that, too! He even recently brought his brother called HDTV. :D

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  23. man, that guy is my best friend on ,sat.,sun.,and monday night. ain't no football without ole tv around, he does get too personal with some of his ads though, you know them creams and such.
    back home and all is well

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  24. TV was to blame and what now?
    PC?
    Scary!

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  25. wow.....this is good. I appreciate this post very much!! How true it is.

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  26. That was a very good read. I love it.

    We actually kicked him out a few years ago. We haven't missed him, either.

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  27. I got to watch plenty of TV as a kid...but I was pretty strict as a parent.

    this was a great post.

    hugs back!

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♥♥♥Have a terrific day.♥♥♥