“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” Ernest Hemingway

“On the pulse of morning” Mayor Rawlings Blake’s slogan “Baltimore a great place to grow” is evident in the Carrolton community where Lenny Clay’s barbershop sits on the corner of Carrollton and Fayette. “People,” “standing on the corner” or walking pass the barbershop, open the door to say hello to Mr. Lenny the neighborhood icon.

“Lift up your eyes upon this day breaking for you. Give birth again to the dream…and say simply very simply with hope — Good morning.” Maya Angelou

Lenny has known generations of families in this close-knit neighborhood and has witnessed growth and demise from the windows of his shop. Often, I will visit my longtime friend to chat and watch the pulse of the neighborhood while eating a fish sandwich from Hollin’s market. It reminds me of sitting on the porch. On any given day, James Lewis, Purcell Wylie, Danny Henson, Darren Mohammed, Ackneil Muldrow, Eddie Brown, Rev Errol Gillard, Dr. Abdul Lawal, Rev Homer Favor and others will stop for a chat or a haircut.

“Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you — not because they are nice, but because you are.” Unknown

At first glance, it would be hard to miss the decay of the neighborhood, but after the first glance, all you see is a community hustling and bustling “on the pulse of morning,” with a gleam of hope in their eyes through the mist of a better time.

What inspires me to sit and chat is the energy that is generated from the community.

I’ll bet that’s why the others keep coming back for a chat and a haircut. Lenny keeps his pulse on the community and we return because we are the pulse of the city and the community. We see there are better days ahead, through the mist of morning, we know Baltimore is a great place to grow and we see it on that corner.

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control; now.” Denis Waitley

“That’s why I’m easy; I’m easy like Sunday morning.” One “lazy Sunday afternoon”, I drove “downtown” with no destination in mind and “somewhere along the way” I stopped at City Café on Eager Street. The bartenders Erin and Swagger informed me that it was happy hour, featuring beer, wine, champagne and martinis. I was in a “New York state of mind” so I ordered champagne, fried oysters and fried lobster.

The oysters were plump and “juicy” and the lobster was chunks of lobster, lightly battered served with drawn butter. Ooh, my mouth is drooling as I write. The champagne was chilled to perfection, each glass tasting better than the last. The  owner Gino Cardinale has a great “personality” and memory. “Imagine” my surprise when he spotted me at Camden yards on opening day and said, “Hi Valerie, do you remember me?” He scored big with me that day.

“A roast is like a get-together where people come down, talk about you, and dog you out, the way you came up, the knucklehead things that you did, stuff like that.” Bootsy Collins

On April 25, Jubilee 2012 will roast my friend Jeffrey Slavin, Mayor of the Town of Somerset and 2011 Philanthropist of the year for the Community Foundation for Montgomery County. The roasters will be Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Attorney General Gansler and Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin. To support a good cause contact sallen@jubileemd.org.

Join Victor & Pat as they party the night away cabaret style Saturday May 5. For tickets, call 443-742-1941.

Tickets are going fast for Janora Winkler’ Gospel play “Do u see what I see?” Saturday May 12, call Pastor Reggie Phifer at 443-413-0405 or Janora at 443-955-8600 for tickets.

“Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them.” Thomas Kinkade (RIP)

Congratulations to artist Karen Buster, daughter of Lester & Mary Buster on the successful exhibition of her work at the Douglass/ Meyer museum.

“We can’t all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by.” Will Rogers

“While you were sleeping” Sending dozens of violets to Newark Mayor Corey Brooks for rescuing his neighbor from a burning building while she was sleeping.

I remember when I was growing up; it was Jack Benny that I used to listen to on the radio at 7 o’clock on Sunday nights. And that went on and on, and he became an institution. In our own way I think we’ve done the same.” Mike Wallace (RIP)

Happy75th to Howard “Chops” Campbell, Big Easy owner Danny Bradford, Gian Marco’s John Massey, Angela DeVeaux, Alma Tucker, Elvard Cooper, Renee Spruill, Brenda Sykes, Betsy Gardner, Yvonne West, Carolyn Blakeney, Vhonda Lewis, Tequila Sunset’s Libby and happy 21st birthday to Morgan Chase and Brianna Felton.

“Death; the last sleep? No, it is the final awakening.” Walter Scott

Condolences to Rev. William Calhoun on the death of his wife, Philathia Reese-Calhoun and the family of Dr. Joseph Russ on his death at the age of 98.

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