“How can I say thanks for the things you’ve done for me. Things so undeserved yet you gave to prove your love to me. The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude. All that I am and ever hope to be I owe it all to Thee. To God be the glory for the things He has done. With His blood, He has saved me with His power, He has raised me. To God be the glory for the things he has done.”  Andrae Crouch

Closing out the first month of 2018, we look to a new year of hope and prosperity, giving and receiving. A year of health, friendship and love; a year of togetherness in our homes, school and our community. A year free of murders and limited school resources. A year that will remind elected officials why they were elected. And finally, a year when all faiths come together to heal a wounded city.

“City traffic’s movin’ way too slow drop the pedal and go, go come on now, go. We goin’ ridin’ on the freeway…” Aretha Franklin

When I get a traffic ticket, I’m going to court even if it is on the Eastern Shore. On a clear wintry day, my friend Jackie Robinson Brown drove me to Salisbury to defend a speeding ticket with a 2-point penalty. It was a scenic 2-hour drive across the ice laden Chesapeake Bay.  “And you don’t know how glad I am,” I went to court. After sitting through the afternoon court session, I look and it’s, “just the two of us”. The Judge said, “Thanks for sitting here all afternoon your case is dismissed.” Hallelujah, now it’s time to celebrate. We decided to stop at Annapolis’ Cantler’s Inn for a delicious meal. Tuesday night dinner special, buy one dinner and get the second one free.  The prime rib was succulent and well worth a return trip.

“We have no fear ‘cause we’re a winner we’re a winner and never let anybody say, girl you can’t make it.”  Curtis Mayfield

Jerome Fisher rolled the dice and came up a winner when he had a surprise retirement party for his wife Gloria at the Delta Center. When guests arrived, they entered a room transformed into a casino complete with gaming tables, croupiers and a 4-tiered cake decorated with edible cards and dice.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!”  Gomer Pyle

Family and friends cheered when Gregory Williams walked into Colin’s Restaurant for what he thought was a family planning meeting for their upcoming “family reunion.” Greg an administrator at Family Health Centers of Baltimore had retired a few days earlier. Not a person for a lot of fanfare, Greg thought he would just simply retire quietly. His family and friends had a different plan, after many years of dedicated and committed service to family health care they felt it was a time to celebrate.

 “It’s a family affair.” Family and friends join Leo and Myrna Blackwell at their wedding celebration dinner at Colin’s Restaurant. Great seeing Maurice Blackwell, Beverly Carroll and Leo’s mom, 96 year-old Priscilla Blackwell enjoying the festivities. Wishing “love and happiness” to the newlyweds.

“When we met, I always knew I would feel the magic for you. On my mind, constantly in my arms is where you should be. I love you here by me, baby you let my love fly free I want you in my life for all time.”  Anita Baker

Steve and Carolyn Wainwright “caught up in the rapture of love,” 50 plus years ago are celebrating their anniversary. It’s been a joy to see this beautiful couple together. In the words of Robert Redford in the movie “Indecent Proposal,” “A love like this comes around once in a lifetime.”

It’s your birthday! Melvine Turlington, Candes Daniels, Mattie Jean Johnson, Deborah Peak Coleman, Gloria Marrow, Dr. Cynthia Neverdon Morton, Allenette Valentine, Katie Burrell and Carolyn Richardson,

Thinking of you George Liston, Ann Branch, Tracey Jennifer and Jerrelle Francois.

“In my solitude, you haunt me with dreadful ease of days gone by. In my solitude you taunt me with memories that never die. I sit in my chair and filled with despair there’s no one could be so sad. With gloom everywhere I sit and I stare…”  Billie Holiday

Keeping these families in our prayers as they mourn the death of their loved ones. Elise Jude Mason and family on the death of her sister Laura Jude Gardner; the family of Brenda Holmes; Muriel Gates on the death of her mother Juanita Gates; Del. Bilal Ali on the death of his sister Mary Jones; Gregory Adams on the death of his father Gregory Adams Sr., and to the family of Jammone Driver.

“What’s Happening”

Dare to Dream Productions, founded by Janora “Lady J” Winkler and The Arch Social Club President Sozufe Nnamdi, are sponsoring live music on the Avenue with “It’s a man’s world,” at The Arch Social Club, on Feb.11. The event will feature all male singers including Baltimore’s favorites Al, Billy, Luke, Lenny and Ronny with surprise guest performers. Call 443-955-8600 for tickets or more information

The 100 Black Men of Maryland are hosting their annual Heritage Luncheon on Feb.19, at Bonefish Grill.  The musical entertainment will be Sterling Silver, featuring Guy Bragg, Bobbette Hitchcock, Darrel Taylor, Daryl Adams, Ike Clayton and Maynard Parker. For more information, contact Mel Bates, at 443.997.0771.

Thanks for your service

In remembrance of Executive Order 9981, join our friend and honoree Michael Gales at the 18th annual Buffalo Soldiers Memorial Banquet at Morgan State University Feb.17. Call Angela Phillips at 410-302-6758 or [email protected].

Sharon Green Middleton, vice president of the Baltimore City Council, is re-opening the Maryland Women’s Commission. If interested in joining applications are being accepted through February 9 at https://wc.baltimorecity.gov/apply-now

Grandiosity Events is sponsoring “Dancing in the Moonlight,” Feb.10. Contact: www.eventbrite.com/e/grandiosity-events-presents-dancing-in-the-moonlight-a-valentines-event-tickets-39853640311

I’ll be seeing you! Valerie and the Friday Night Bunch