Gary Coker

In the early 1950’s my dad met a stranger who was new in our town. From the very beginning Dad was enchanted with this stranger and newcomer and soon invited him to  live with our family.

The stranger was quickly accepted and was around all the time I never questioned his place in our family.

 Mama taught me to love the Word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it, but the stranger was our story teller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventure, mysteries, and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell bound 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 football game. He was always encouraging us to see movies. He 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 and go to her room and read the Bible and pray. I wondered if she ever prayed 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. Yet, our longtime visitor 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 our house. Not even in cooking, but the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. Frequently he would talk about drinking beer, and about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. He spoke of homosexuality and other sexual identities as if they were totally normal.

As I look back, I believe it was by the grace of God the stranger did not influence me more. Time after time he opposed the values of our parents, yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. Nearly 60 years have passed since the stranger moved in with us, but if I could walk into my parents house today, I would still see him sitting there waiting for someone to listen to his stories. You know I never knew his name, we just called him by his initials…….”TV”

adapted: source unknown


Retired in 2008 after 40+ years in education/psychology as researcher, teacher, administrator and college professor.
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3 Responses to Reflections…………………………..Stranger

  1. srbottch says:

    Excellent story, Gary. You had me up to the end when you set the hook. So many truths in the story. Sadly, I think old Mr. TV has slipped more and more into debauchery and many other vices, as well. Excellent post.

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