“I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”-Muhammad Ali

The greatest, Muhammad Ali, lost his final fight to Parkinson and the world mourned. His death gave us the opportunity to reflect on his life from his humble beginnings as Cassius Clay to the defining moment when millions all over the world held their breath and prayed when he lit the flame for the 1996 Olympics as we witnessed the effects of Parkinson on his body. When he lit the flame, the world cried tears of joy as he proved once again why he was the greatest.

“I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”-Muhammad Ali

The moans and groans from the people at the Baltimore Civic Center years ago who missed the fight while standing in line buying refreshments.

The respect he gained when he stood up to the United States government and when he changed his name and refused to answer to Cassius Clay. He was the greatest!

Rest peacefully in Paradise, Champ. You are the greatest and you made America great. You put style, grace and class in boxing, we listened to every word and you taught us to be on time or the party is over. You were so fast people stopped blinking because they were afraid they would miss the knockout punch. When people doubted how great you were you proved it by calling the round you were going to win and then you gave us the most quoted line, “I float like a butterfly and I sting like a bee.”

“Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.”-Dalai Lama

The Friday Night Bunch, along with family and friends, gathered at Ruth’s Chris Water Street to celebrate the birthday of two of their favorite people: Dr. Marie Washington, a political icon in Maryland politics, and Leander Douglass, everyone’s favorite mixologist. Dr. Washington arrived with her daughters Jackie, Zoey and son-in-law Jeff to attend a dinner meeting not realizing the girls had cancelled the meeting. Imagine the look on her face when she walked in amidst shouts of surprise and happy birthday greetings.

Leander’s look was priceless when he realized we were also celebrating his birthday. Leander’s birthday was a great opportunity to show him our appreciation for making our Friday Nights special. After dinner, guests enjoyed a delicious strawberry cake from the French bakery Patisserie Poupon and champagne. Special thanks to Jackie Washington, Zoey and John Sheff for rearranging Marie’s schedule  and to Senator Nathaniel McFadden and City Council President Bernard Young for altering their busy schedules to join other guests in the celebration of two special friends.

Kudos to Suited to Succeed, Cereta Spence and the committee for the successful annual Suit-a-Palooza, an evening of elegance saluting and honoring women Veterans and suited angels at the Baltimore Harbor Hotel. The honorary chairs were Maryland’s First Lady Yumi Hogan, East Baltimore Community Corporation chair and retired veteran former Councilwoman Paula Johnson Branch and Baltimore City NAACP President Tessa Hill-Aston. The luxurious ballroom hosted more than 500 guests enjoying an array of food stations prepared by renowned chefs and restaurants including Black Tie Caterers, Island Cuisine, Chef Phi’s homemade rolls, and top chefs from Strafford University.

The evening included a fashion show designed for the working woman, and vendors. Special thanks to TV personalities Kelly Swope, Linh Bui and Tom Rodgers for an outstanding job as emcees. As a side note, it was an honor for me to be a part of this outstanding committee in support of such an awesome charity.

“I found love on a lonely highway.”-Jeff Floyd

Congratulations to Kevin and Novella Carter on celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary and the renewing of their vows at the Personality Club. The guests dressed in black and white, as requested by the host, to witness the Carter’s love and commitment to each other. The Carter’s “love story” began on the #11 bus when Novella was 14 and Kevin was 17. Now you know “the rest of the story.”

The Good Company pop-up dinner party series hosted by the George Ray Agency and Chef Irvin Darnell, the first in the series that will occur at various venues in Atlanta, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard debuted at the Palisades in Towson, Md. with more than 100 people in attendance. Among the guest at the inaugural event dining on boneless short ribs, turkey burger balls on a stick, mashed cauliflower, mixed  greens and more while sipping assorted cocktails and champagne were Kenneth Patterson, Stephanie Farmer, Muriel Cole- Webber, Sonja DeCaries and Darnell Moses.

Happy birthday to Pastor Harrison Johnson, Gladys Bragg, Joseph Hillery, Dr. J Laws Nickens and Ellsworth Jackson.

 “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.”Australian Aboriginal Proverb

We are sending prayers of condolences to Debbie and Errol Taylor on the death of her cousin Barbara Rose Winston; to Dr. Anne Emery and family on the death of her son Travis Emery and to General William “Kip” and Joyce Ward on the death of his mother Phyllis Ward and to the family of Shad Brown. 

Our thoughts and prayer to the Pulse Club in Orlando and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community for the senseless deaths as they celebrated Gay Pride month.

Remembering my dad Benjamin Scott Johnson and missing him. Happy Father’s Day.