LIVING FOR THE WEEKEND

by: Valerie Fraling Special to the AFRO
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“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”-Ralph Marston

Pendry Hotel adds a ‘touch of class” to historic Fells Point. From the elegance, reminiscent of the bygone years with attentive doormen like John Lee with personalized gold whistles, to the valet providing prompt and courteous service, it’s clear that the customer is the center of attention. Surrounded by wood, brick and glass Pendry’s has the look of distressed luxury from the posh seats in the lounge, the majestic courtyard, the view of the harbor or the huge glass window in the dining room overlooking Thames Street, everything Baltimore is highlighted.

Guest Relations manager Franklin James gave us the “Royal Treatment” escorting us throughout the evening from cocktails in the lounge, dinner in the dining room, after dinner drinks in the Cannon Room and a tour of the magnificent courtyard. Dinner was a lovely experience, as the chef prepared our Caesar salad tableside, the lamb chops melted in my mouth. The Cannon room is the place for an after dinner drink and wide selections of bourbons. People enjoying Pendry’s were owner Kevin Plank, Jim Palmer, Anthony Jones and Da Mimmo’s owner Marianne.

“Theatre is a mirror, a sharp reflection of society.”-Yasmina Reza

BAHA’s John Lee, Marama Nengel and Beth of Center Stage hosted “TWISTED MELODIES” Industry mixer at Center Stage. Guests munched on assorted delicacies prepared by Dooby’s before the play. Joining other theatergoers for the one-man play featuring Kelvin Rushton Jr. portraying famed singer Donny Hathaway’s last night as he struggled with mental illness and realities of life.  Hathaway’s life, music, and the performance of Kelvin, left the audience spellbound. Guests enjoying the evening were Sonje DeCaires, David Couser, Franklin James, George Ray, Rod Womack, Minyanna Farmer, Cori Ramos, Lucinda Ware, Brandi Albanese, Yindra Dixon and Brenda Lee. After the theater, we met at Tapas Teatro for sangria and an array of small plates.

“I was walking down the street” and a woman sitting on her porch said, “Hey girl, bring those pretty children over here.” Anyone who knew Miss Blanche, as she was affectionately called, knew that you did what she said. That day my life changed forever, I met a lifelong friend, a confidante, a baby sitter and a place for Sunday dinners.

That was in 1967. Through the years we attended plays, worshipped together, went on outings and I even taught her how to drive. She loved going to Washington to visit my father knowing we would have dinner in one of Washington’s many fine restaurants, especially Duke Zieberts. The year before my dad died, I picked Blanche up and we drove to DC to meet my dad and my children for dinner. She was so excited that my children remembered her and she had the opportunity to meet my grandchildren. It was like old times. Who knew that would be the last time we would all be together.

During the holidays, I tried to call her to take her out. The number I had been dialing for 50 years was not in service. Puzzled, I decided to stop past her house thinking I had forgotten the number which I had never written down. Time got away from me and although I continued to make that trip in my mind, I never made it. People complain about social media but that’s how I found out that my beloved friend had crossed over three months shy of her 90th birthday.

On the morning of her funeral at her beloved Douglass Memorial church, Beverly Wimbush posted pictures on Facebook of friends who gathered to remember their neighbor from McCullough Homes and there was Blanche’s picture. It was 11:30 in the morning, the service had started but I dressed and headed into town in the downpour of my tears and the rain.

The service had ended and the family had gathered in the church hall for the repast. There I saw her children Sammy and Vernell, who immediately said no one knew how to reach you. In all those years, Miss Blanche was the only person who had my contact information. I gave Sammy my information and the following week I was surprised when I received Blanche’s program and a copy of the video. I can hear you calling your husband loudly saying, “Mackel I’m here” with your smile lighting up heaven. You raised four generations of Mackels. Take your rest, my friend, until we meet again.

Happy birthday Andretta Bogans, Tanya Denis, Ronald Womack, Minyanna Farmer, Elvard Cooper, Rev. Alvin Hathaway, Osborn Dixon, Linda Shields, Ellen Howard and Brenda Sykes.

What’s Happening

District 8 Action Network and Councilman Kristerfer Burnett is hosting a workshop for Baltimore City residents on the proper use of the 311 and 911 services, April 26 at Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church 5020 Gwynn Oak Ave. RSVP at District8RSVP@Baltimorecity.gov or call 410-396-4818.

Baltimorean Mario Armstrong launched a new live streaming, interactive talk show on Wednesday April 5 airing every Wednesday for the next six weeks from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. To view this innovative, first of its kind, talk show go to http://neversettle.tv/  and obtain tickets for the show in New York.

Baltimore’s Queen of Comedy “Miss Maybelle” has appeared on David Letterman and TV commercials will be roasted May 7, at a pre-Mother’s day roast and after party at Patapsco Arena. Music by DJ Tanz and DJ Kenny K. Call 410-929-1360 to reserve your table.

Former AFRO editor Rev. Dorothy Boulware’s Keep Walking in Prayer…until you can’t come back is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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