By Valerie Fraling, Special to the AFRO

“Johnny Taylor, still the favorite and Bobby Blue Bland still the blues, 5 dollars you got to pay, just a jukebox and no DJ. The smaller the club, the bigger the party, something about this room. The smaller the club, the better the party, the dance floor, you can barely move. everybody’s dancing. A hell of a party up in here” Mel Waiters

“One bourbon, one scotch, and one beer one bourbon, one scotch and one beer. Hey mister bartender, come here I want another drink and I want it now” George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers

When George Ray, Rosemary “Duchess” Atkinson, Kim Smalls, Donnell Moses and me were discussing the way we partied back in the day arriving at the bars around noon and the party was on. The younger members of the discussion thought we were kidding. That’s when the idea of an old fashioned bar crawl developed. Do you remember the Saturday afternoon jazz sessions at the Sportsman’s Lounge or listening to jazz on the jukebox at Mack Cest Ce Bon or, the Wooden Nickel when beer was a dollar and drinks two dollar? Well, those of this new generation whose drinks are $10 to $15 couldn’t believe the prices we used to pay.

“Here’s what I want you to do just loan me two dollars until the next time I see you. These last two dollars I’m not gonna lose; one goes for the bus fare other one for the jukebox. I gotta hear me some down home blues” Johnny Taylor

We leased a party bus for forty people and our first stop was Colin’s Seafood and Grill. Then we headed to the Eastside where many of the partygoers had never been, where my longtime friend Tiger Lil was waiting for us at Pat Chase. The next stop was the Apollo Club. Thanks to Neil and the members of the Apollo for the food and good dancing music. Our barmaid started blowing the whistle; it was hard to get the group back on the bus to head west to 1513 McHenry Street, where more food awaited the partygoers. Next stop was Ronnie Jackson at Roots Lounge. By this time the group was slowly winding down for our return trip to Colin’s and then home. The bus driver liked the stops and said he will return to the spots we hit.

“You say your party’s jumping and everybody’s having a good time you know what’s going through my mind do you mind if I get comfortable and kick off these shoes. While you fixing me a drink play me some of those down home Blues.” ZZ Hill

Some of the “bar crawl” participants were Shirley Belton, Larry Taylor, Brenda Bailey , Helen Hughes, Tina Thomas, Charlotte Jones, Carolyn Richardson, Keisha Buffaloe, Gregory Williams, Vhonda and Jimmy Lewis, Josephine and Tommy Ridgley, Sallie Ferguson, Sarah Smalley, Brenda Baker, LaVerne Naesea, Debbie Hawkins, Tobi Pulley, Tonya Tucker, Jackie Brown, Mickey Wheeler, Sharon Hinds, Kim Terrell and Tera Harris.

I can’t tell you what happened on the party bus, but I can tell you this, if you want an old school party complete with a fun group mingle the generations. At the end of the day “we are family.”

“It’s very clear our love is here to stay. Not for a year, but forever and a day. The radio, and the telephone and the movies that we know may just be passing fancies and in time may go. But, oh my dear our love is here to stay.” Ella Fitzgerald

The couples celebrating their anniversary have stood the test of time and as Ella, Frank, Sarah and so many sang, their love is here to stay. Happy anniversary 58th wedding anniversary Gwen and Nathaniel Trader; happy 57th anniversary James “Peck” and Gloria “Tutti” Bogans; happy 49th anniversary Bishop John and Cecelia Bryant; happy 44th anniversary Kathy and Charles Fitzgerald; happy 41st anniversary Dr. Donald and Rosemary Atkinson and happy 26th anniversary Carol and AJ Miles.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain

Happy birthday Robin Ott, Bill Massey, Ariel Pulley, Linda James, Gregory Williams, Gregory Hill, Joshua Elkridge and my grandson Matthew Lee Packer.

Monica Watkins celebrated the end of her successful reign as president of the Baltimore Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, at a summer themed party “time for the get down” at the Crosby’s spacious Woodstock home. More than 250 guests enjoyed a hot summer day, swimming and dancing to the sounds of DJ 5 Star after listening to a jazz band. The Divine 9 attended including Monica’s line sisters 108 Black Pearls.

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” Ernest Hemingway

Family, friends and parishioners are mourning the death of Rev. Dr. Reginald Lawrence, Pastor of St. Mark’s Institutional Baptist Church. Dr. Lawrence, a retired attorney for the Baltimore City Public School system was the husband of Karen Long Lawrence and the brother in law of Mildred Long Harper.

Many remember our longtime friend the dapper Judge Jacques “Jack” Leeds, a graduate of West Point and retired judge of the Workers Compensation Board. Jack was also a racetrack aficionado, along with his beautiful wife Polly. Jack died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. The memorial service for Jack is July 21 at Diamonz from 110 a.m.-2 p.m.

“Gone too soon” is my young friend Rodney Carter, who died from medical complications after years of suffering. His community is remembering the longtime accountant, as a fun loving computer whiz and a dancer, who was a lifelong resident of Mt Winans.

Keep Russell and Ernestine Jolivet and family in prayer as they eulogize Russell’s brother James Jolivet in Houston, Texas.

Sending get-well wishes to our Wednesday night member Gerald “Captain” Brown and Maxine Gaskins.

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