“Long before I was born, 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.

As I grew up I never questioned why he was there. The stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening.

If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. . The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry when I listened and watched.

He was Iike a friend to the whole family. He took us to our first major league ball game. The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’ t seem to mind-but sometimes Mom would quietly get up– while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places– she’d go to her room and pray I suppose.

You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house– not from us, not from our friends, not from adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used an occasional four letter word that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted or stopped. Even though my dad  didn’t approve of alcohol the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer almost every day.

He made cigarettes look tasty, he talked freely about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. The stranger began to discuss personal issues and ailments without regard to the tenders ears that might be listening or the fact that it was at meal time. Some of the topics caused mom to leave the table.

As I look back, I believe it was by the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.

Many years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He is not nearly as intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if you and I were to walk into my parents’ den today, you would see him standing prominently in the center of the main wall, waiting for someone to listen to him talk.

He never told us his name? He only used his initials, T.V.”

As read by Terri Brady