“May the work I’ve done speak for me… The works I’ve done, sometimes it seems so small, it seems like I’ve done nothing at all. But when I stand before God’s throne and hear Him say well done then I know the works I’ve done spoke for me.” -The Consolers

“Let no man write my epitaph.”-Burl Ives

Who knew that when the students of Morgan State stood together to fight for equality during the Civil Rights movement that one day their Alma Mater would recognize them for their efforts? For thirty plus years I have greeted the best neighbors one could have as “Hey Russ” or “Hey Tina” but effective Dec. 18, I will officially greet my wonderful neighbor with “Hello Dr. Jolivet” or “Hello Dr. Russell.” My good neighbor and friend will receive an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater Morgan State University as a Morgan State University Student Civil Rights Pioneers who played a vital role in the non-violent students’ sit-ins and mass protests against discrimination in public accommodations in Baltimore and Maryland from the late forties to the early sixties.

I am also proud to congratulate Carolyn Wainwright, Anita Hunter and the Mayor of Woodlawn Eugene Smalley on receiving their honorary doctorates for their participation in the protests at Morgan. Job well done, Dr. Jolivet, Dr. Wainwright, Dr. Hunter and Dr. Smalley. You stood so we can sit. What a great day.

“How can you rise, if you have not burned.”Hiba Fatima Ahmad

From the ashes of Baltimore, our Phoenix, Sandtown’s Devin Allen, whose iconic photo of Baltimore during the April riots appeared on the front cover of Time magazine, has been chosen by Time Magazine as one of Time’ s top 10 covers of the year.

“If I walk in the pathway of duty, if I work till the close of the day, Lord, I shall see the great king in all his beauty when I’ve gone the last mile of the way, Lord. When I’ve gone the last mile of the way, oh yeah, I shall rest at the close of day for I know there are joys waiting. When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.”-Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers

When I heard that Little Melvin had died I thought about his faithful wife Mary and the day she introduced me to Melvin. Before I met Melvin, he was a Legend, but the mild- mannered man I met was so impressive I was in awe. He was a man filled with wisdom and intelligence. I met him years ago doing the heyday of the Sphinx Club and he accepted me as a friend because I was a family friend. Our conversations were always of interest because he was knowledgeable. His honesty gained the respect of his friend and peers. One Saturday afternoon, I stopped past their beautifully decorated house on Park Avenue with Ora Reed who used to live in that house when she was in Baltimore. Melvin opened the door and was the most gracious host in the middle of the afternoon proudly showing Ora the house and his impressive decorating skills and carpentry. What started as an unexpected visit became an afternoon of friendship. I asked Melvin how he learned to do all this he said “Val, when you doing time there’s nothing to do but learn.” He was a wise man who changed his life and the life of Baltimore because he lived. Rest peacefully in Paradise my friend.

“I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” -Frank Sinatra

Celebrating the 100th birthday of Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra 

“May you live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine.Frank Sinatra

Celebration time, come on. Happy birthday to  Nykidra Robinson, Almie McIntyre, Willa Hanna Cordell Corky Boone, James Jim Coleman, Carole Jackson, George Ray, Trena Brown, Todd Sherrill, Darren Henson, Sandra “Sunshine” Fowlks, Morris Day and a special happy 90th birthday to Georgia Dodd and a Happy 95th birthday to Tuskegee Airman Walter Robinson.

Jannette Witmyer and the Baltimore Association of Black Journalist are hosting a coat drive to benefit the Penn-North Kids Safe Zone Dec. 18 at Teavolve Café Harbor East. www.babjmd.com

“Missed the Saturday dance, I heard they crowded the floor, couldn’t bear it without you,
don’t get around much anymore. Thought I’d visit the club, got as far as the door, they’d have asked me about you, I don’t get around much anymore.”-Sam Cooke

To our family and friends who are sick or shut in Living for the Weekend’s Christmas wish is good health as you continue to recover. Laurie Harris Mc Daniels, Rosalie Griffin, Margaret Lee, Ralph Wright Napoleon Sykes, Bernice Hardy, Shirley Richmond, Robert Chambliss, Bernice Mc Daniels and Alvin Jones, both at Keswick 700 W. 40th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211 visiting hours are 9 to 9 and to Rev. Donald Atkinson, Elvard Cooper and Frazier Brice are doing well at their perspective homes in the Forest Park Golf Club community of Hillsdale.

“I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree, Christmas Eve will find me where the love light gleams, I’ll be home for Christmas If only in my dreams.”-Bing Crosby 

Sending love to our Troops near and far and remembering that everyone can’t come home. A Merry Christmas to our City Leaders, wishing those days would come back when we all just got along in politics and life.  Agreeing to disagree but still remaining friends.

Merry Christmas. The lights on your Christmas tree are your blessings. Count them one by one.

Valerie and the Friday Night Bunch