As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY.” Charlie Chaplin

We are entering the final days of the “long hot summer” but oh what a summer. The Labor Day weekend wraps up a summer of festivities or does it signal the beginning of the fall social scene when we hasten to drink the “last of the summer wine.”

Saturday, Zenith Hospitality’s John Lee hosted a Grand Prix party at Luna Del Sea on Pratt Street with owner Tony Assadi. Our front row seats at the starting line gave us the ideal location to view the cars and drivers up close. The hot sun did not affect the cool demeanor of the drivers as they waited for the four-car pileup to clear as the blazing sun beamed on them; finally, the drivers lifted the car doors and stepped out to the cheers of the fans. Joining us were Marcy Crump, George Ray, Irvin Creighton, Takiea Hinton, Anthony Jones, Delegate Nathaniel Oaks and Ralph Lee.

“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.” Kellie Elmore

“Come Sunday” Auvea Fortune and I were guests of my childhood friend Delegate Nathaniel Oaks at the home of Michael and Allison Schechter for an old-fashioned crab feast with bushels of crabs and old bay drenched corn on the cob covering the eight-foot tables in the enormous yard. Enjoying the crabs were Mayor Sheila Dixon, Anthony “Petey” Edwards, Carolyn Blakeney, Cynthia Jackson, Council President Jack and Darlene Young, Kenneth Oaks and Ralph Lee.

“Summer ends, and autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.” Hal Borland

The quintessential party to close a perfect summer weekend was “Monday morning” with GEMS President LaVerne Naesea and members Deborah Taylor, Wendy Dukes, Jackie Brown, Shirley Swafford, Michelle Emery, Brenda Baker, Anne Emery, Regina Bernard, Audrey Freeman, LeMoyne Cooper, Alisa Henderson, Helena Hicks, Juanita Morton, Sharon Pinder, Judge Shirley Watts and Mildred Taylor who entertained guests at their yearly Labor Day breakfast dance at the Lafontaine Bleu. This invitational-only event with vocalist Tracey Curbeam, crooning standards and popular tunes while guests enjoyed omelets to order, cream chipped beef, breakfast meats, carved meats and more, created a whimsical morning. The elegantly attired guests were Pat and Howard Jessamy, Carol and Joe Hillary, Lynda Brown, Walter Hill, Reginald Pinder, Earl Taylor, Dr. J Laws Nickens, Diane Hardison, Mert and Dean Evans, Chandra and Ellsworth Jackson, Liston George, Anne Parker, Paul and Blanche Beckham, Shirley Robinson, Linda and Ken James, Gregory Williams, Carol Hilton, William Brown, Judson and Goldie Wood, Susan Parker, Richard, Jesse Murphy and Dr. Vallen Emery.

“I hate to see that evening sun go down.” Nat King Cole Not wanting to end the enchantment of the morning, we hosted about 30 guests at my home for a late supper of jambalaya, carved ham, burgers, hot dogs, salmon and assorted salads. We were sitting poolside enjoying the “summer breeze,” reminiscing about the splendid morning when “suddenly” percussionist David Baker distributed musical instruments and “in the still of the night” he started playing the bongos as we joined in with cymbals, bells, tambourines and shakers for an impromptu jam session that can only be described as “this magic moment.”

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu

Happy anniversary to Herb and Deanna Brown, Gregory and Karen Hill, Eugene and Sara Smalley, Brenda and Napoleon Sykes, Dante and Candes Daniels, Russell and Cassandra Johnson, Sandi and Jai Matthews and retired MCIJ assistant warden Billy Hayes and Dr. Francine-Conway Hayes on their 20th anniversary.

“Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever, and we’ll meet now and then when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.” Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull)

Happy birthday Dr. John Lampkin, Clarissa “ Aunt Sissy” Johnson, Auvea Fortune, Eunice Jenifer-Robinson, Brenda Wright, Phyllis Baptist, Milton “Skip” Hamiel, Rosa Williams and happy 101 birthday to Rosa Thompson.

“There’s a leak in this old building and my soul has got to move…” LaShun Pace

Our prayers to Vivian on the death of her husband of 52 years Hezekiah Braxton; his death will leave a tremendous void for his family and friends. It’s hard to imagine a cookout without Hezy frying fish or supervising the annual neighborhood party. While the golfers were on the golf course, Hezy would arrive early to set up for our Wednesday cookouts.

“Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it’s so incredible, it’s unbelievable.” Tom Landry

During the 1962, Colts preseason game Hezy caught three touchdown passes. The headlines read “45,000 See Colts Show off Sleeper.” Hezy rest in peace; you’ve scored the ultimate fantasy football touchdown.

“Death is the golden key that unlocks the door to eternity.” John Milton

Condolences to Angela Baugh on the death of her mother Addie Askew, Almeta Sly-Thompson on the death of her husband, the Rev. Dr. Jesse Thompson, Dr. J. Laws Nickens and Jean Powell on the death of Etna Nickens Blackwell, to Vernell of Vernell’s Ice Palace on the death of her father James Smith and to the family of Leonard Patterson on his death.

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