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Getting to visit politically powerful people is exciting but around the Mullen household such opportunities were common. It seemed as though every other day some senator, congressman, judge, or other famously popular, highly respected and tremendously admired political figure stopped by for visits. I think a Democrat or two dropped in as well.
I watched my mother move and grow through many different stages of both our lives, from a "stay at home mom" to working mother and teacher, to political activist and magistrate judge. Regardless of what she was doing, whether it was presiding on the bench or simply picking blue crabs caught off the Old Bridge while I mixed the cornbread, she always did it with an underlying, unwavering sense of integrity. It was always around her and came as naturally to her as water to a porpoise. And it still does.
As such, I am incredibly fortunate that some of her traits have been passed down to me. I would like to think I have a strong sense of right and wrong, and that I have a strong ethic. I don't always do the right thing, but at least I know when I am not doing it.
As a young man, it was important for me to be independent and to earn my way in the world. That was not always easy when your mother is a judge in a (then) small city. I was once stopped for speeding by a Town of Mount Pleasant police officer, who upon reviewing my license, said, "Tim Mullen? Any relationship to Judge Mullen?" I reluctantly said, "Yes, sir, she is my mother." He rolled his eyes and exhaled condescendingly, obviously self-resigned that he would have to let me off, which he did under protests.
I was standing with a group of young lawyers at a cocktail party as they discussed a case heard in court that day. A loser in that case said, "I don't think she's a very good judge," not knowing that son Tim was in the group. In my coolest voice, I said, "Well, I don't know whether she is a good judge or not. I do know that she is a really good mother." The conversation changed quickly as the lawyer moved on to another subject.
Some have called her friend, some have called her Judge, and some have called her Your Honor. It is, however, my honor to have simply called her 'Mom.' "