I loved making mud pies when I was a kid but I never asked my siblings or friends to eat them because I knew they weren’t real pies no matter how beautifully I constructed them. I enjoyed the feel of the wet earth in my fingers as it would squish in and out and made my hands feel gritty and yet somehow smoother when I ran water over them. My British mom gave up on my ever acting like a ‘girl’ and so had become resigned to me coming in and only being able to see a freckle or two and a set eyes through the dirt caked all over me. I guess she figured one day I would determine on my own that filth was a social detriment. In all the years I spent digging in the dirt, one thing I did not do was sling mud at anyone else. While I enjoyed being covered in the slime, I respected that perhaps others did not share my proclivity for being a mud bug. I got called names often, even by people who supposedly “liked” me and my feelings were often hurt by the things they said and the names I was called. I didn’t want to be Woody Woodpecker, freckle face, red or any of the things people so freely named me; I just wanted to be Lindy and sometimes not even that because there was a pen called Lindy and so there was another thing to get teased about. To this day even strangers feel free to tease, as if I have Please Tease Me stamped on my forehead.It was different being a kid on a playground or a neighbor’s yard and learning lessons about real dirt slinging. When I got into high school I learned about an entirely new form of mud pie making and it was called gossip baking 101. I guess because I had grown up in a more European household where one did not make personal comments about others or discuss personal issues, ever, this gossip stuff was something completely new to me. I had learned talking behind someone’s back was rude and etiquette made it a requisite to tap them on the shoulder before any conversation as to include them in the discussion; honesty truly was the best policy in my house.Life is always about perspective and sometimes people have a tendency to see things from only one perspective…theirs. It has been said one can never know what another person feels unless one walks in another persons shoes; I do not agree. I don’t think you can know what another person feels unless you place your soul in another man’s sole. When I was in Hawaii, Carol asked me if I worried about everyone and my answer was a quick and simple, yes. She asked because I’d heard a child screaming for fifteen minutes and I did not think it was a tantrum scream but a child needing help. I was the only person in the house to even hear the child’s cries. After a short political argument about non-interference…me being on the side of better to be mistaken than have a child hurt, police were called.Hold gentle this life. If you must dig in the dirt, make mud pies with your children, your grandchildren but do not sling mud at others. If there are those you do not like in town, dislike them privately and not in the ears of anyone who will listen because those who will listen will tell and the story will not be the same. Hatred is not an outward emotion but a cancer that destroys the very fiber of a loving heart. The person you spend all that energy hating doesn’t care that you hate them, they derive joy and power from the moments you give away to them. Being constructive in our lives means taking what we have and who we are and building the most positive footprint we can in life so that if some soul should step into our soles they would say…I feel the heart prints left by this person. If you do not wish to walk this life respecting others, then at least walk it respecting yourself and reserve dirt, mudslinging, and mud pies for backyard fun with children. I love you all with all my heart and should you ever cry out for help I will always be right here listening for your cries and ready to help.