“Summer, summer, summertime; time to sit back and unwind. Put your car on cruise and lay back cause this is summertime” Fresh Prince

“Summertime and the living is easy” Summertime by Gershwin or the Fresh Prince both romanticize a way of “easy living.” What better place to enjoy the summer than Baltimore and its summer traditions.

The temperature soared to 100 degrees and I wanted to see “what’s going on” in the city on a steamy Saturday afternoon. “I heard it through the grapevine” that the best snowball stand was on Monroe and Lafayette streets, established in 1978.

To be in the snowball business for three decades; they must have good snowballs. Since I had not had an egg custard snowball in eons, this was my first stop. They even have a small size for the weight watchers.

Now, that I’m in the sweltering heat, where’s my next stop? I decided to get some fresh turkey wings, but the mental picture of long lines in the market on a hot day wasn’t appealing. I called my girlfriend “Big Shirley;” and she said go to Lexington or Hollins Market. Ain’t no way was I driving downtown in the heat, searching for a parking space. Since I was on Monroe Street, I went to Hollins Market.

The first thing I noticed was an ATM machine sitting in the middle of the market. Why is there an ATM in the middle of the market? I found the poultry stand, ordered the turkey wings, chicken legs, wings and thighs and reached for my bankcard, when I saw the sign “cash and food stamps only.” Wait this is 2011, everybody takes debit and credit. Now I know why the ATM is sitting in the middle of the market. Naturally it is not my bank’s machine so I knew I would have to pay a fee.

I put my card in and hit the button for withdrawal. It gave me a balance. Not a problem, I adjusted to the glare and hit the button for a withdrawal. I paid for my meats, went to the next stall and brought some stricalean bacon. Now I’m buying stuff I don’t see in the grocery store because I’ve got cash.

Sunday, I put on the turkey wings, fried the chicken, satisfied with my adventure at Hollins Market, until I got my bank statement. You know those jokers charged me $2 for the balance I didn’t ask for and $2 for the withdrawal.

“Memories, light the corners of my mind. Misty water-colored memories, of the way we were”

Peach cake from Fenwick or Woodlea Bakery is also a summertime favorite, well worth the drive; call ahead because they sell fast.

Other favorites are silver queen corn and beefsteak tomatoes. You know you’re from Baltimore when you remember a beefsteak tomato sandwich on white with mayonnaise, with the juice running down your arms. I’m ready for my perfect summertime meal; tomato sandwich on white, silver queen corn, peach cake and an egg custard snowball. Add a soft shell crab on that sandwich, drink a cold natty boh and enjoy “the land of pleasant living.”

Someday, someone will walk into your life and make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else.” Anonymous

The harbor side wedding on the pier overlooking the harbor was spectacular, as we anxiously watched the overcast sky threatening to sprinkle rain blessings on the guests gathered to witness the marriage of Darren Henson and Zakia Williams at the Fredrick Douglass Museum. The rain ascended after the wedding while guests dined inside the gallery. Orchids to Aunt Joy Owens and new mom in-law Delle on the exquisite floral arrangements and décor. The champagne reception catered by Nikita Haysbert of Forum Caterers had everything from soup to nuts.

Darren’s dad Dan Henson was best man and Master Shemar Coleman escorted his mom “down the aisle”

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” John F. Kennedy

We saw The Help in July at the premiere sponsored by the NAACP. I love movies but I rarely go to the theater; although recently I have been to three premieres, Precious, For Colored Girls and The Help. This movie piqued my curiosity when I saw the trailer and people reading the book.

I thought about my Mom-Mom, Mayfield Peaco Johnson from Perryman, Md. who did day work for the vice principal of Havre de Grace High School. I thought about others like Mom-Mom and the experiences they endured to make a living for their family. I thank GOD for The Help that took action to make a statement against their employers.

I wonder what secrets they carried to their graves in their own subtle ways of dealing with their employers. I urge everyone to see the movie or read the book. I must confess I’ll never be able to look at a piece of chocolate pie again without LMAO.

“Another one bites the dust.” Summer’s “gone to soon” Valerie and the Friday Night Bunch