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“When you walk through a storm hold your head up high and don’t be afraid of the dark. At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky and the sweet silver song of a lark. Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown, walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone. You’ll never walk alone.” Carousel

“Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy, to do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars; to sit on a branch and study the clouds.” Regina Brett

Four friends who shall remain anonymous declared Friday August 14 2015 National Play Hooky from Work Day. We recreated Ferris Bueller’s day off. The invitation stated; “A private cookout, play hooky from work and don’t get caught.” Guests received a text on Friday morning with the location of the party and the details.

“It’s as simple as tit-tat-toe, three-in-a-row, and as easy as playing hooky.” Huck Finn

Eighty plus guests started arriving at my home around noon with swim gear, exotic cocktails, and an appetite for the scrumptious food prepared by our personal chef. The chef captured the theme of the party by creating delectable dishes for each excuse. “ I’m sick today” handmade turkey burgers; “Extra-long lunch break” grilled lemonade BBQ chicken, “A personal day” blackened salmon seafood salad;” “dog sick” red potato salad; “working from home” fire roasted mixed vegetables; “It’s a rainy day” fresh backyard green salad; “having car trouble” Jack Daniel baked beans; “Doctors Appointment” grilled corn on the cob with Chipotle-lime butter. The 85-degree weather created the perfect environment and there were no regrets for playing hooky from work.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller

Renita Mingo, the first Black, female General Manager of Ruth’s Chris Steak House celebrated her 35th birthday in epic style including a total white out party in Aberdeen Maryland at the spacious estate of Dr. Lejeune Cornish.

Guests came from Arizona, Virginia, Buffalo New York, Indiana and New Jersey to participate in the weekend celebration. Franklin James of the Hyatt Place Inner Harbor greeted guests as they checked in and received white gift bags filled with goodies and the itinerary for the weekend. Saturday evening the shuttle transported us to the white out party catered by Ruth’s Chris with music by DJ Tanz, the hottest DJ who had guests dancing “in the small wee hours of the morning.” Everyone’s favorite bartender Leander “Lenny” Douglass was the perfect bartender mixing signature cocktails the way only Lenny can. Sunday guests enjoyed a brunch in Owings Mills at Stone Cove Kit Bar. Later that evening they headed to D.C. for an all-night celebration at the 18th Street Lounge. Special thanks to Angie Burnett and Craig for coordinating such an awesome weekend for the birthday girl.

“I said a hip, hop, the hippie, the hippie to the hip hip-hop, and you don’t stop. The rock it to the bang-bang boogie, say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie.” The Sugar Hill Gang

We boogied, sang, swam and danced at Sherman and Ida Dobson’s annual friends’ cookout at “The Meadows.” The guests who participated in karaoke sounded like professional performers; when Lenny Pack serenaded his wife Paula with Stevie Wonder’s “You and I” for their anniversary, guests erupted with thunderous applause. Denise Dobson-McDonald led the group around the pool doing the conga line with Dr. Charlene Cooper- Boston leading the wobble. The hot fish, fried chicken and assorted food prepared by Rob’s Southern Connection had guests wanting seconds and thirds. Rob caterers for all occasions including “pig pickings.” Call him at (410) 977-3041.

“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” Alex Haley

The Friday Night Bunch hosted the annual grandparents’ day with over forty grandchildren enjoying a hot summer day of swimming, diving and water sports. The informal diving competition created laughter as each diver displayed his or her skill. The grandparents marveled how the children have grown over the year. The only non-swimmer was a two-year-old who was anxious to join the rest.

It’s Virgo time; are you ready? Happy birthday to Dr. James Wood, Sara Smalley, Jacqueline Richardson, Frances Tilghman, Joseph Zammarella, Steve Wainwright, Carlos Hutchins, Dante Daniels, Kara King Bess and a happy 50th birthday to the best son-in-law ever, retired LTC Gregory Packer.

“Here we are on earth together, it’s you and I. God has made us fall in love, it’s true I’ve really found someone like you. Will it say the love you feel for me, will it say that you will be by my side to see me through until my life is through? Well, in my mind, we can conquer the world in love you and I,” Stevie Wonder

Happy anniversary to Eugene and Sara Smalley, Dante and Candes Daniels, Councilwoman Sharon and Glen Middleton, Tanya and Randy Dennis, and Donald and Judy Rainey.

“Somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind, they took the time and prayed for me. Oh Yes they did, I’m so glad they prayed, I’m so glad they prayed for me.” Dorothy Norwood

Sending get-well wishes to former President Jimmy Carter, Governor Larry Hogan, Shirley Richmond and Jannette Witmyer.

Our condolences to Kathryn Harris on the death of her husband Dunbar Poet Reggie Harris, to Mildred Owens on the death of her husband Charles Owens, to Leroy Jefferson on the death of his wife Almetta Jefferson and to Nannette Mitchell on the death of her husband Dr. Keiffer Mitchell.

“I’ll be there Valerie” and the Friday Night Bunch