While my father was still in Viet Nam, our family returned to my Mother’s home town. A large, old frame house, with a neighbor’s discarded piano outside. I was enchanted by it, out of tune, but what does a four year old know of that? To make ends meet, my Mother took a job doing advertising for the local J. C. Penny’s store for the local paper. After three years in Germany, I spoke as much German as English and some how learned that non-verbal communications were as much value as any spoken language. Hence the gravity to music. But this story is not about music. It is about human relations. My mother hired a Nanny for her children. A college girl from a family my Grandmother had known for years. As she still lives, at last I heard, years ago, her name I will keep private. In preface, I should write that my Mother was a Civil Right’s worker and at great peril traveled to the Deep South after others had disappeared. She found nothing of help to the solution of the loss of the three later found encased in a concrete dam. Three whites making a statement for the freedoms of others. Blacks. Years after, my Mother needed help to raise her children. The old family friends were there, and gladly. I never will forget the M&M’s the girl my Mom hired put into my hand. I was forbidden to eat in bed, and I laid in my bed until they melted in my hand. Yes, M&M’s will melt in your hand. I knew her love; I knew my rules. At four, I dealt my first dichotomy. Later, Mom and I would come to grief. Another story. Years go by and I get to be first a friend and later a lover to Her I will not name. (She is married).. And yes, she is of African decent. And I still pray for her. From one to another, we were a safe place to hold. Like this or not; I hold no quarter for small tribal minds. Leave to them to their tribes. I would like to think that I am a man of mankind. I was Four years old. I learned by her teaching that Love is universal. My Mom couldn’t pay much. But she gave love to me not knowing that it was to turn into a man beyond racism. Beyond race, I am a man of as many cultures as I can learn. Some bad days find a good rest. And with a peace in my heart, I do find rest. I took that teaching from my Mother, a once young Civil Rights volunteer, and found that all manner of mankind just wanted to live and let live. The news is full of the nut cases, but more copy and air time should be spent on the cases of those from far reaching backgrounds;reaching out in abject love; those who disregard the mundane, common, socially safe, yet still not without the danger of the disdain of the unenlightened. I was but a small child. I was taught to love and to accept. At times, it is hard to follow; and still at times I fall into a quiet solitude to reckon with my heart. And, yes, with both my Deity and my Mother’s example. Peace and beauty are all around, if the will for strife can be set aside. I do my best to lay that away and during the times it gets hard, the guitar or a long walk brings the peace back to me. In closing, I will say one more truth I have learned: The most ignored sense we have been blessed with is that of the heart. It hurts more than fire to the skin or thunder to our ears. Yet in all our days, the heart is always there: Care well for it. In the end, your heart is all you take with you. Too often I have come close to death, and thought, “What is in my heart?”. We all must pass. Let hatred and fear pass you by like the wind in the air. I will go in ease; may you do so as well.