For those counting, now-retired Chronicle publisher Gerry Mulligan’s “Out the Window” column appeared in the Chronicle every week for 43 years.
From calling out bony things done by local officials with the “Poop in the Shoe” award, to describing his own bone helmets, to his thoughtful reflections on life, family and community, he entertains many, annoys some and his opinions are all Informs. “Outside the window” of life.
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Recently, Mulligan published his first book, “Out the Window: 43 Years on the Beat,” a collection of 50 of his columns from 1989 to 2021.
He writes about duct tape and family values, mice and squirrels, trying to catch a chicken, riding to school, meeting baseball player Tommy Lasorda, who he thought was jazz player Jerry Mulligan, his sore feet and ugly toe, his love of his dog. Poo on his shoe, getting bitten by a poisonous snake and how much he loves Citrus County.
“I had a grandfather and a grandmother who were great storytellers, and I learned a lot from them,” Mulligan said. “They were born in Ireland and they tell us stories about Ireland … My grandmother told us the story of how she beat the British soldiers with a pitcher during the Irish Rising.”
It wasn’t true, Mulligan said, but she told a great story.
In his 43 years as a newspaperman, Mulligan learned the importance of telling a good story while writing columns.
“There’s an old journalism principle: ‘Don’t show and tell’. A lot of people try to tell you what to think, tell you what their experience means,” he said. Show them the thing, and let people draw their own conclusions.
“In a column, it’s how you see things. That is my opinion, my perspective,” he said.
His secret, which is not a secret, is his sense of humor and his knack for making a fool of himself in his opinion: that life is often hard and people do stupid things, but life, especially if you look for humor, can be good.
“Laughter is good for the soul,” Mulligan writes in her book’s dedication. “If we read the headlines, we cry every day.”
A book signing is planned for Tuesday, November 29th from 5 to 7 pm at Connor’s Gifts, 218 Tompkins St, Inverness, FL 34450.
“Out the Window” is now available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobles (BN.com), as well as local stores in Central Florida including Connor’s Gifts in Inverness, Heritage House on Citrus Avenue in Crystal River and Franklin Anderson Gallery. In Crystal River.
Any profits from the sale of the book will be donated to non-profit organizations in the community.