A few years after 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. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. 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 made me laugh, and he made me cry.
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. Our longtime visitor however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.