My longtime friend Stewart Horn was born on July 3, 1942, and he lived a long and full life. He died on September 23, 2022. I first met Stewart when, at the age of 12, I joined Boy Scout Troop [...]
Was I cranky? No doubt.? Judgmental? Absolutely. Disheartened? Unquestionably. And I’d been unconsciously operating out of this frame of mind for months. Yeah, yeah, I know, given the pandemic, [...]
Saturday morning, alone in the mist and drizzle. Stillness envelops me. No sound but my footsteps, the drip of the moisture from the trees, the occasional songs of the birds.
As I’ve worked on my memoir, what’s become a massive act of self-interrogation, I’ve realized that my disconcerting experiences during the first grade that I've described above profoundly [...]
“Don’t trust anybody over thirty!” My rallying cry during the Sixties, when I was twenty-something, seemingly bulletproof and forever young, living as though those days would never end.
Realizing that Shonnie’s graduate studies at Western Carolina University were about to resume and Gracelyn would soon begin online classes at Evergreen Community Charter School, we began planning [...]
You may have seen that meme that was going around social media a week or two ago: “Dear 2020, none of this sh*t was on my vision board.” Well, life so far in 2020 has presented a number of [...]
Most of my teachers have faded into a nameless, faceless blur. However, there was one savior in the midst of my 12-year confinement. Ms. Mitchell came to Bel-Aire Elementary (Tullahoma, [...]
"Finding My Way Back Home" recounts my journey from toxic masculinity to a more mindful manhood, a voyage that includes participating in a transformational workshop, peeling back the encrusted [...]
Fifty-six years ago, New Year’s Eve 1963, I was slogging through six or eight inches of wet snow toward an evening at my favorite watering hole, the Roman Room. A junior at the University of [...]
Seventy-eight years ago today, Sunday, December 7, 1941, my dad, Mack Mulkey, a recent college drop-out working at the local Dr Pepper plant, drove a borrowed pickup truck the fifteen miles down [...]
"A Tale of Two Daughters" is the story of how, and why, I slipped the surly bonds of toxic masculinity and transformed from emotionally-stunted misogynist to awakened advocate of equality, from [...]
In Knoxville in 1983, I screwed up my courage and began therapy with a local psychologist, John Hoover, a tall, brawny man with an engaging and amiable manner. I immediately had the sense that I [...]
Thank you for the huge role you've played in our lives, Howard. Thank you for keeping the main thing the main thing. Thank you for being you.
Early in 1999, Shonnie, in her professional capacity, was setting up at a health fair at the Asheville Civic Center. While we rather liked being committed to one another but not married, we'd [...]
It was a warm June evening in 1961, the night of my graduation from Tullahoma High School. I’d just returned to Tennessee from playing in a high school all-American football game in Fort [...]
January 1, a new year, some might say a clean slate. During my wild impetuous youth, the first day of the year typically meant horrendous hangovers and, at some point, the hair of the dog. In [...]
Yes, I'm excited today because my personal essay "With over 40 years between the birth of my two daughters, I am two different fathers" is featured at the Washington Post On Parenting section.
Seventy-fucking-five. Three-quarters of a century. Thirty percent of the time the U.S. has existed. In my twenties, seemingly bulletproof and brimming with bravado and condescension, I’d [...]
Wow, 2017 is about to come to an end, and in some respects, none too soon. But despite the extraordinary political challenges we’ve confronted in our nation this year, 2017 has been a fulfilling [...]
Shonnie and I were recently interviewed for the BedLoveBeyond podcast, this episode about couples with significant age differences (Ours, by the way, is 28 years.).
Today I write this letter to you so that you might better understand the tumultuous transformation that’s currently underway in our nation.
I believe we, the citizens of this nation, have been asleep for the past several decades. We began to pay more attention to our TV shows, our favorite celebrities, our sports teams, our fancy [...]
I am a recovering racist. I grew up white in the South of the 50s and 60s. Most of the schools I attended were segregated. And I have rarely had more than superficial contact with men and women [...]
The first presidential inauguration I attended was Richard Nixon’s in 1969. Well, I guess I should say that I was actually there for the counter-inauguration . . .
Well, another year has passed, and what a year it’s been. It will be intriguing to see what 2017 will bring. In the meantime, Shonnie, Gracelyn and I want to share what we’ve been up to in 2016. [...]
I wrote this on December 31, 2010 and am reposting it in honor my daughter Gracelyn’s 6th birthday today. * * * “What is your purpose in life?” the guardian of the gate at the men’s retreat [...]
In 1958, during my sophomore year at Tullahoma (TN) High School, all the boys in every class were ordered to the gymnasium bleachers with the male teachers for a sex education talk by a local [...]
Well, they didn’t pry it out of my cold, dead hands. But my only remaining firearm has just left the premises. Having grown up and lived in the South I’ve owned shotguns, .22 rifles, and an [...]
My great-grandmother, Mae McCarthy (better known as Ma), who enjoyed dipping snuff and preferred another layer of body powder to regular bathing, had a Victorian attitude when it came to [...]
While living by myself in a little cottage on Mount Bonnell outside Austin in the early nineties, I was without a significant other for the first extended period in my life. Fortunately (though I [...]
To be able to run through the forest, strong, quick strides, uphill, downhill, breathing in my surroundings, fully present, conscious of my connection with the web of life. No concern for money, [...]
“Don’t trust anyone over thirty,” I arrogantly proclaimed during the Sixties, when I was twenty-something and imagined I was bulletproof and would remain forever young. [...]
The Journey by Mary Oliver One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice – – – though the whole house began [...]
I have lived with several Zen masters—all of them cats. —Eckhart Tolle In 1999, a few months after Shonnie and I were married, I got a mid-day call from her at her office at the Mission Hospital [...]
“What is your purpose in life?” the guardian of the gate at the men’s retreat demanded. “To work toward a more compassionate, just and sustainable world,” I immediately replied. “You may enter!” [...]
Our four-year-old daughter Gracelyn is quite the rhymester, frequently making up poems and songs for her own entertainment and, so it would seem, for ours too. So, at Lake Eden Arts Festival [...]
In honor of our 15 years of married life together, an encore post of the story of how Shonnie and I met and fell in love. I first laid eyes on Shonnie Lavender in 1995 when we both joined the [...]
Around the first of the year I asked my 88-year-old mother Sue a daunting question: “Are you ready to go?” This once powerful, dynamic, high-energy woman had fallen several times over the past [...]
My mother Callie Sue Tilghman Mulkey passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Below is a poem that I shared last night at an impromptu gathering of our clan. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep by [...]
I was a scrawny little kid who was frequently ill. One of my elementary school teachers even referred to me as “sickly.” I played football with reckless abandon from junior high through college, [...]
Chocolate came bounding into the world in Arlington, Texas in 1988, and from early on, it was obvious that this kitty had a mind of her own, a common trait of all felines, but especially [...]
'Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.' –Barack Obama
Saturday morning, alone in the mist and drizzle. Stillness envelops me. No sound but my footsteps, the drip of the moisture from the trees, the occasional songs of the birds. How blessed I am to [...]