I mentioned a few weeks back in a column that I had never prepared or eaten oatmeal.
It was no big deal, there are a lot of things I’ve never done. I have not flown an airplane. Have never been to a baseball game in Chicago and never tasted a veggie burger.
But it was “not eating” oatmeal that captured the attention of a kind reader.
I go to the YMCA several times a week to work out in the fitness center and I am always greeted by Mrs. Mulligan.
She is well into her ’80s and needs the assistance of a walker to get around. But she still visits the YMCA five days a week and works out.
She is intense.
For the record, we are not related as far as I know. But here’s the rub, she grew up in the same neighborhood as my parents in the Bronx, New York. And yes, we share the same last name.
She is Mrs. Mulligan. No first name.
She is very Irish. Very opinionated and very sarcastic.
Those are all similar traits that many of my family members possess, so there has to be some DNA connection.
During a recent workout at the Y, Mrs. Mulligan directed a staffer to come over and tell me that my form on one of the workout machines was terrible. She included some descriptive words that can not be repeated in a family newspaper.
But in truth, Mrs. Mulligan has a heart of gold. Sarcastic gold, but gold.
After reading my column on never tasting oatmeal, Mrs. Mulligan felt compelled to purchase a large container of “McCann’s Irish Oatmeal” and present it to me during one of my visits to the Y. She made sure there was a crowd around to laugh.
It was “imported” Irish Oatmeal in a very large container.
“Maybe this will help with your style on the machines,” she suggested.
Her friends laughed.
Mrs. Mulligan went right back to working out on her exercise bike. She had things to get done.
I have been humbled by legislators, county commissioners, sheriffs and even a governor. But Mrs. Mulligan gave it to me the best. With Oatmeal.
Speaking of discoveries, we were on vacation last week in the mountains of North Carolina with all four children and all of their children. A group of 21 making vacation noise together.
During these moments, truths often present themselves. One such truth dribbled out this week.
It was about 35 years ago the Chronicle ran a photo of our two boys — Jeff and Jeremiah — after they caught a large bass in Lake Tsala Apopka over by Eden Drive.
Our kids were still in elementary school and it was pretty amazing they managed to land such a large bass. Back in the day, the Chronicle routinely ran such photos so it was not such a big deal to put our kids in the paper.
Thirty-five years later the truth comes out.
While sitting around the cabin this week drinking some wine and local beer, the fishing photo came up.
Turns out the two boys did not catch the fish. They admitted they walked around the block to the community boat ramp and had their fishing poles stuck in the water when a serious fisherman pulled up in his boat. Watching the two boys coming up empty, the fisherman asked the boys if they wanted one of his extra bass.
They jumped at the opportunity and made up the “great fishing” story as they walked back home.
The idea of “fake news” did not exist back in the 1980s, but I’m pretty sure this fishing tale fits nicely in the category.
Gerry Mulligan is the publisher of the Chronicle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.