“Enjoy your freedom but hear this from me; it cost you nothing, but it wasn’t free. For your peace of mind, safety and slumber, prices were paid that no one can number. There were fearless buyers who caved not in. But, gave life and limb so that you might win. Often nameless on earth, but known on High, for gifts to you only courage could buy.” David Evans “Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.”  Phylicia Rashad

The GEMS entered their 40th anniversary by introducing the guests at their annual Labor Day dance at The Lafontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie to new members Rosemary “Duchess” Atkinson, Muriel Gates, Deidre Stokes and me.

I have enjoyed attending this event for more than twenty-five years and was honored when they asked me to join this illustrious group of women whose sole purpose is to have fun. This exclusive invitation only dance is an opportunity to reciprocate the many social invitations the women receive throughout the year. Members of the GEMS, many of whom are legacies: Sharon Pinder, LaVerne Naesea, Audrey Freeman, Mildred Taylor, Shirley Swafford, Jackie Robinson, Debbie Taylor, Brenda Baker, Wendy Dukes, Joyce Jackson, Pat Tunstall, Juanita Morton and Michelle Emery.

The co-chairs for this year’s dance were Pat Tunstall and Audrey Freeman, who received rave reviews on the fabulously decorated ballroom. Guests danced to the sounds of the XPD band.

Among the guests in attendance were Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Del. Nick Mosby, the Hon. Sheila Dixon, Beverly and John Carter, Dr. James Haynes, Bishop Josephine and Thomas Ridgley, Ann Parker, JoAnne Jolivet, Sen. Delores and Dr. Russell Kelly, Walter Hill, Linda and Ken James, Greg Williams, Carole Hilton, Tobi Pulley, David Morton, Ray H., Ellsworth and Chandra Jackson, Errol Taylor, Leroy Jackson, Erthman Naesea and Dr. Vallen Emery.

“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.”  Paul Sweeney

People are still talking about the splendid 50th anniversary celebration and renewal of wedding vows by Sarah and Eugene Smalley at the estate of niece and nephew Tobi and Damien Pulley. More than 250 guests dined on a full course catered meal underneath several white cathedral ceiling tents with crystal chandeliers while listening to Rae Bernard’s jazz combo. The tent was decorated in huge floral arrangements of white roses, lilies, sweet pea, gladiolas and other gorgeous flowers designed by Brandon Wiley’s Fleurs d’Ave.

“How beautiful to find a heart that loves you, without asking you for anything, but to be okay.”  Khalil Gibran

Out of town guests came from New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida and Connecticut to witness this momentous occasion; Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Brown, Skipper Stewart, Angela Singletary, Maxine Gardiner, Robin Gardiner, Sandee Petway, Patricia Moore, Stephanie Petway, Mr. & Mrs. Bradley Dean, Butch Petway, Joyce Anne Ford, Mr. & Mrs. Weldon Reynolds, Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin Wright, and Marlene Moore. It was great seeing Sarah’s aunt, 96-year-old Shirley Henson, still fabulous in attendance.

“God made the world with a heart full of love, Then He looked down from Heaven above, and saw that we all need a helping hand. Someone to share with, who’ll understand, He made special people to see us through the glad times and the sad times, too; a person on whom we can always depend. Someone we can call a friend. God made friends so we’ll carry a part of His perfect love in all our hearts.” Khalil Gibran

When Virgos celebrate a birthday be prepared for for a week of festivities. Eunice Jenifer Robinson was feted at a surprise birthday party hosted by her children Leonard Chambers and Tracey Jenifer at American Legion’s Thirsty Thursday night with deejay Mike Jones. On Friday night, Eunice joined me at Fleming’s Steak house, where manager Damien Hawkins and staff provided us with a perfect dining experience of crab cakes, succulent lamb chops and braised pork belly with grits. Next stop was the Four Seasons to visit our friend Leander Douglass and enjoy the spectacular view. Saturday, I hosted a night at Camden
yards with a group of friends and their children. It was a special treat when Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford stopped by to wish me a happy birthday. The Orioles lost, but the perfect weather was a home run.

“The Professor” turned 75, and family and friends gathered from Florida, D.C., New Jersey and Connecticut to celebrate Dr. Charles Groce’s birthday at American Legion Post 122 in Owings Mills. Guests enjoying the festive evening were Ann Taylor-Ross, John and Prodgilee Pearson, Sheri Kober- Evans, Freddie Vaughn, Myrna Cann, Victor Green, Anita Hunter, Donald and Judy Rainey, Myrtle Britton, Jackie Brock, Clayton and Wanda Tucker, James
and Pat Waddy, Elaine Morton, Louise Wylie, Pastor Purcell and Gloria Wylie. Longtime friend Dr. William Kelson entertained guests and the Professor’s daughter and granddaughter displayed their musical talents with the 10-year-old granddaughter during a rousing rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday to You.”

“Bess you is my woman now.” George Gershwin

Guests were elated when Charles and Pat Crisp announced they had jumped the broom on July 17. Wishing nothing but “love and happiness” for the lovely couple.

It’s your birthday make some noise! Wishing a happy birthday to Mildred Taylor, Dr. Raymond Bowen, Anita Stanford-Curry, Iglehart Williams, Kay Curry, Gwen Trader, Miguel Stokes, Gwen Trader, LaVerne Gaither, Walter and Queen Carr, Yvonne Frye, Rosalind Robinson, Valarie Phillips, Susan Parker, Robert Blount and Rosalyn Quarles.

I’ll be seeing you!