Unheralded

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — A Conversation With Nicole Kassell, Director Of ‘Watchmen’

A few weeks ago, when Damon Lindelof accepted an Emmy Award for the HBO series “Watchmen,” he wore a dark blazer over a black T-shirt that bore the words, “Remember Tulsa ’21.” “We dedicate this award to the victims and survivors of the Tulsa Massacre of 1921,” Lindelof, the show’s creator, said as the cast and crew stood behind him. …


Unheralded

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — My Last Conversation With Fred Rogers (Nine Days after Sept. 11, 2001)

From Chapter 16 of the Tim’s book, “I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers“: When Fred was a boy in Latrobe, Pa., his mother taught him how to look for hope during the darkest times. “In times of tragedy, look for the helpers,” Nancy McFeely Rogers would often tell her son. “They’re always there. Perhaps on the sidelines, …


TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Kirk Herbstreit, Richard Rohr And Racial Reconciliation

It’s oddly wonderful to celebrate the words of college football commentator Kirk Herbstreit and Catholic writer and theologian Richard Rohr in the same blog post. But these are not normal times. On Sunday night, I came across Herbstreit’s stirring soliloquy about race on “College GameDay.” “If you’re a white player in these locker rooms, I think it’s really incumbent upon …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Making Sure The Bad Guys Didn’t Win: A Conversation With Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum

On June 1, 1921, a white mob numbering in the thousands destroyed Tulsa’s uniquely prosperous African American community, known as Greenwood. About 300 people were killed and 10,000 left homeless. Photographs of the aftermath of that day in Oklahoma recalled Hiroshima after the atom bomb. Also part of Tulsa’s grim tableau in those terrible hours was the sight of flatbed …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — What Fred Rogers And Fred Claire Have In Common

My first conversation with Fred Claire took place in April 2019. Not long afterward, hours probably, I was struck by the irony … another great guy named Fred. I had met the other Fred, Fred Rogers, in the fall of 1995 when I interviewed the children’s television icon for a newspaper story. I was the beneficiary of his human greatness …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — How Cancer Led to Reconciliation Between Fred Claire And Tommy Lasorda: An Excerpt From ‘Extra Innings’

In 1988, as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fred Claire was the architect of the team’s last World Series championship. Nearly three decades later, in the winter of 2017, cancer that had begun as speck on Fred’s lip had returned with a vengeance. The prognosis had been poor from the time his melanoma had spread to his jaw …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — The Day Kirk Gibson Challenged His Dodger Teammates To Fight: An Excerpt From Extra Innings

July 7 is the official publication date of my new book, “Extra Innings.” I love the story of Fred’s Claire’s inspiring fight against cancer at City of Hope National Medical Center in California, one of the world’s finest medical institutions. But as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fred was also the architect of the team’s last World Series championship …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — ‘Sick From What I See’: An Excerpt From ‘The Burning: Massacre, Destruction And The Tulsa Race Riot Of 1921’

Margaret Dickinson’s mother was often too ill to care for her youngest child, so from the time Margaret was old enough to walk, the little girl accompanied her father to job sites, or to meetings with Tulsa power brokers, or to any of the other myriad engagements befitting the owner of the young city’s most prominent construction firm. Wilfred Dickinson’s …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — The Painful And Lifechanging Education Of An Ignorant White Boy

I published a version of this essay a few months ago. Given current events, it bears repeating. In the year 2000, as part of the research for my book, “The Burning: Massacre, Destruction and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921,” I interviewed an elderly man named Richard Gary, who told me this story. On a day in early June 1921, …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Bill Plaschke On ‘Extra Innings’

This is the forward to my book, “Extra Innings, written by Bill Plaschke, former Los Angeles Dodgers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times. Fred Claire is a fighter. You might not know that to look at him — he’s so distinguished and dignified and darned polite — but believe me, when he spots an unfairness or injustice, the man will …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Thirty Seconds Of Wonder With A New Friend

Tuesday morning I listened to a lecture by an American Buddhist teacher named Tara Brach, who spoke of how the minds of most people careen relentlessly from one fearful, self-protective thought to another. She said this happens on average about 86,000 times a day. (This works out to a thought per second.) I don’t know where she came by this …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — ‘I Don’t Know What To Do’: A Coronavirus Conversation With Grief Therapist Dr. Patrick O’Malley

As doctors, nurses and first responders have tended to the physical devastation wrought by the pandemic, my friend, the Fort Worth, Texas, grief therapist Dr. Patrick O’Malley, and his colleagues have been working to help us cope with the profound emotional, psychological and spiritual challenges of this moment. I was Patrick’s co-author of the 2017 book “Getting Grief Right: Finding …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — How To Make Goodness Attractive

Fred Rogers once said something to the effect that one of life’s great challenges is making goodness attractive. As a writer and journalist over these last decades, I’ve come to realize it might not be that challenging after all. This is a theme I’ve returned to again and again in my career: A good person finds him or herself in …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — At 13, Kevin Curnutt Lost Almost Everything to a Gunman’s Bullet. What the Decades Since Have Taught Him, and Can Teach Us Now

On Super Bowl Sunday in 1981, football was the last thing on the minds of the two young friends, Trey Shelton and Kevin Curnutt. The winter afternoon was warm and sunny, perfect for riding dirt bikes on the rural outskirts of Arlington, Texas. That day, Kevin saw Trey and his bike cross a shallow stream and disappear over a hill. …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — I Thought My Rock ‘n’ Roll Dream Was Dead, Then I Read About John D. Rockefeller

This morning, I used a long walk to catch up with Gary Kelly, my good friend and co-founder of our classic rock cover band called the Love Starved Dogs. Gary and I hadn’t talked since social isolation began about a month ago, and after sharing news of our families, (everyone healthy, thankfully) we discussed the future of the band. I …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — My Coming Book: On Medicine’s Finest, And Another Remarkable Guy Named Fred

I met Fred Claire about this time last year on my first visit to City of Hope National Medical Center near Los Angeles. Fred, his wife, Sheryl, and I talked for two hours that first day, sitting in the shade outside a research building on the sprawling campus. Fred never let on then that he was in terrible pain from …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Write This Down

A few days ago, I opened a purple, college-ruled composition notebook, noted the date on the first page, March 23, 2020, and launched into what I am calling The Coronavirus Journal. “What else to call it?” I began. “We are living through one of the most cataclysmic moments in the history of man, or so it seems. Could the wackiest …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — When The Whole World Grieves: A Conversation With Grief Therapist Patrick O’Malley

One of Fred Rogers’ greatest pleasures was making connections between people he loved. I’ve enjoyed that experience myself in recent weeks, introducing my good friends Michael Gingerich and Tom Kaden to Dr. Patrick O’Malley. Tom and Michael are the founders of Someone To Tell it To, a Pennsylvania nonprofit devoted to intentional and compassionate listening. Patrick, as some of you …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Hard Realities and Hope: A Conversation With My Friend The Physician, Writer And Thinker, Dr. Craig Bowron

A few weeks ago, on a Minnesota trip to visit my family, I also got together with my friends, Craig and Stephanie Bowron. For a couple of hours in their St. Paul home, Stephanie played piano, Craig and I played guitars, and we sang ourselves hoarse, everything from the Beatles to Johnny Cash. That seems like a lifetime ago now. …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — The Puppy And The Pandemic

You might remember Thursday, when the stock market decline was the worst in decades and news of the coronavirus pandemic seemed to grow more grim by the hour. A bad day, for sure. And yet … There was Dave Brown. My wife and I had tickets to see the Eagles at the American Airlines Center in Dallas next week. We …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Loose Ends And Life Eternal

My friend, Karl Travis, is actively dying. By that I mean he is leaning into the experience, including the injustice of a baffling illness that will take him from the world, in the physical sense at least, far too soon. The much admired and beloved Presbyterian pastor is leaning into the mystery. He is leaning into the inevitable sadness of …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — A Prayer For Black History Month

In the year 2000, as part of my research for a book on the Tulsa, Okla., race massacre of 1921, I interviewed an elderly man named Richard Gary, who told me this story. On a day in early June 1921, his father, a white Tulsa resident named Hugh Gary, loaded his young sons, Richard and Hubert, into the family Dodge …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — On Art, Architecture And, Of Course, People

Here is an excerpt from my latest book, “Of the First Class: A History of the Kimbell Art Museum.” Chapter 1 Sacred Ground On a muggy summer Saturday in 2014, 8,000 people converged on the heart of Fort Worth’s cultural district: the “Great Lawn” of the Kimbell Art Museum. The crowd was double what organizers of that day’s festival had …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — A Familiar Story About Fred Rogers … And Favorite Words

In the past several weeks, in the trailers and articles I’ve seen and read about the upcoming Mister Rogers movie, much has been familiar. As many of you know, I, too, was a deeply troubled journalist who met Fred Rogers on assignment and became the beneficiary of his otherworldly presence, compassion and love. “The entirety of “A Beautiful Day in …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — ‘Amigo,’ He Said

I was getting toward the end of my long walk on a typically scorching Texas morning when I approached a road construction site. I passed a Hispanic man standing in the bed of a pickup. “Amigo!” he said. I assumed he was speaking to a co-worker and I kept walking. Then he called out again. “Amigo!” When I turned, he …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Let Go, Dear One …

I’m deeply grateful to my friend, Sid Ansbacher, for restoring this memory of my brother, Steve, and my friend, Fred Rogers. I hadn’t read this or thought of it for years until Sid recently shared it with a friend on Facebook. It is from the fall of 1998, when Steve was diagnosed with lung cancer that would take his life …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Jeff Daniels As Atticus Finch: ‘The Role Of A Lifetime’

In the last decade or so, I’ve become an admirer of Jeff Daniels, the actor who came to prominence as the goofball character (with Jim Carrey) in the 1994 movie “Dumb and Dumber.” But it’s been his later work, hardly of the goofball variety, that I’ve found so compelling. Daniels was the brooding anchorman in HBO’s “The Newsroom”; the womanizing FBI …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — The Night I Saw The Future

My book,“I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers”was first published in 2006. On scores of occasions in the years since, I’ve told the story of our relationship to audiences large and small across the nation. It’s been a deeply meaningful experience every time. It seems you can’t bring up the name of Fred Rogers without changing the molecules …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Why Journalism Matters

A year or so ago, someone approached me at a party and said, “So how about this fake news?” By her tone and facial expression, I knew she was really saying something to the effect of, “If the president is saying it, it must be true.” This person, of course, knew that I had spent most of my career as …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Body And Soul: How California’s City Of Hope Is A Model For The Future Of Medicine And An Example For Us All

On a West coast trip a few weeks ago, three of the most profound days of my career began with a tour of the City of Hope National Medical Center near Los Angeles, followed by a late afternoon conversation with Robert Stone, the institution’s CEO. Stone was clearly weary at the end of a long work day but warmed immediately …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — What I Wish I Knew

My friend, Nancy Palmer O’Malley, has written a lovely and quietly provocative book, which she intends as a gift to relatives and a small number of friends. But when she shared it with me a few weeks ago, I sense immediately that her wisdom and yearning would resonate with a much larger audience. “My family never wanted to discuss delicate …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Fred Rogers’ Speech

Many years ago, on one of my visits to Pittsburgh, I told Fred Rogers about my experience riding in the back of a rental truck crowded with scores of Central American refugees. I vaguely remember my friend, the icon of children’s television, telling me later that he had mentioned my story in a speech. I hadn’t thought about this in …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — As We Grapple With Race, A Story Worth Retelling

In 2001, I published a book called “The Burning: Massacre, Destruction and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.” Several months later, I decided that if I could poke around in the terrible race history of another city, I was obligated to do the same in my own, Fort Worth, Texas. My 2002 series in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram was titled …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Someone To Tell It To

In 2012, two ministers in Pennsylvania stepped away from traditional church work to form a remarkable nonprofit called Someone To Tell It To. The mission of Michael Gingerich and Tom Kaden was as radical as it was simple: They would be there to listen — in person, on the telephone, via email or Skype — to anyone who needed a …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Standing Where Rembrandt Stood

My introduction to the art of Rembrandt came indirectly, through my friend, Fred Rogers. In the fall of 1995, I traveled to Pittsburgh to interview the children’s television icon for a newspaper story, and in one of our early conversations, Fred mentioned that his favorite author was Henri Nouwen, a Dutch Catholic priest. Henri, as I would soon learn, was …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Charlotte Joko Beck: The Wisest Spiritual Teacher You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Fred Rogers described truly great human beings as those “in touch with the eternal.” Of all the extraordinary people I have known in my life, two in particular most fit that description. One, of course, is Fred himself. The other is a female Zen master named Tuan, who I met many years ago. Tuan is Vietnamese. She was visiting a …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — For The Holidays: My Father’s Gift

It’s been seven years since my dad, Myke Madigan, died after a noble struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Last February, after months of praying that God take her home, Lois Madigan, my mom, finally “got her wings.” Both of them have been on my mind and heart an awful lot lately, which might explain why a few days ago I remembered …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Gratitude: From Aspens To Zen

The gratitude list is hardly a new concept, but several friends have taken it to another level, attempting to find reasons to be grateful for every letter of the alphabet. I decided to try it myself. It certainly wasn’t easy. I mean, am I really grateful for X-rays and xylophones? And I wouldn’t allow myself to use the names of …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — From The Desert: Fred Rogers’ Remarkable Request Of My DyingBrother

Tim Wright and I were born a few days apart in December 1957. (He’s older and rather looks it, I think.) Which is to say that Tim and I are both on the far side of a generational divide in America. Either you were a Captain Kangaroo kid or a Mister Rogers kid, and we were both Captain Kangaroo guys …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — ‘Glad To be Sad.’ From The Desert: Memories Of Dad

The desert mountains and majestic saguaro cacti were still in full darkness when the men convened that recent Saturday morning. There was Tim Wright, pastor of Community of Grace Lutheran Church in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria, and 20 or so guys who for years had been coming together weekly to study the Bible and discuss important things, (though the …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — One Of Life’s Greatest Challenges: Befriending The One In The Mirror

Last year, grief therapist Patrick O’Malley and I published “Getting Grief Right: Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss.” We suggest in the book that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, that each person’s experience of mourning is as unique as a fingerprint and that, therefore, there are no reliable models, no steps and stages …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — A Memory Of Squirrel Hill: Mister Rogers And The Woman In Church

By now you’ve probably heard that Saturday’s synagogue slaughter took place in the same Pittsburgh neighborhood, Squirrel Hill, where Fred Rogers lived and worshipped himself. His spirit is now often invoked as the heartbroken city struggles to heal. The grim news for me brought back a much different memory of that place, from another autumn morning 23 years ago. I …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Roland Martin Remembers

Many years ago, Roland Martin and I were young reporters at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Roland quickly went on to become, well, Roland Martin, the ubiquitous personality on national television and radio, a longtime fixture of Sunday morning network talk shows. But Roland clearly remembers one part of our brief acquaintance. He and I had several important discussions about race …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — A Surprising Hunger …

It’s an experience most can relate to, especially if we are of a certain age. The call comes, or the text or the email, and we find ourselves on the way to the home of a friend or loved one who has just suffered a loss, or to a visitation or a funeral. Then comes an almost universal anxiety and …