35
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The stranger
THE STRANGER
                              
A few months 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 move in and live with
our family.                                    
                                                                                                            
The
stranger was quickly accepted
and was around to welcome me into
the world a few months later. As I grew up, I never questioned his place in our
family. Mom taught me to love the Word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it.

But 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 spellbound for hours
each evening.                                                          

He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, my
brother, and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always
encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to
introduce us to several movie stars.

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 - go to
her room, read her Bible, and pray. I wonder now if she ever
prayed that the stranger would leave.

You see, my Dad ruled our household with certain moral
convictions. But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them.
Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house - not from us, from
our friends, or from adults. Our long-time visitor, however, used
occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm.
To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted.

My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his
home - not even for cooking. But the stranger felt like we
needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life.
He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.

He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes
distinguished. He talked freely about sex. His comments
were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and
generally embarrassing. I know now that my early
concepts of the man/woman relationship were influenced
by the stranger.

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

                                                                                                                  
More
than thirty years have passed
since the stranger moved in with us, but
if I were to walk into my parent's home today, I would still see him sitting there
waiting for someone to listen to his stories and watch him draw his pictures.

His name? We always just called him ... TV



From: "Claude Gossett"
Index 2
page 36
The stranger
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