“As a Negro, for instance, I do not need to go looking for ‘happenings’, the absurd, or the surreal, because I have seen things that neither Dali, Beckett, Ionesco, nor any of the others, could have thought possible.”- Romare Bearden

The “summer wind” like Joe Turner has come and gone so quickly. Now we are in “that September,” remembering the “summertime.”

“The secret of a good memory is attention, and attention to a subject depends upon our interest in it. We rarely forget that which has made a deep impression on our minds.”- Tryon Edwards

Reflecting on a few of my favorite events this summer, I remember the excitement chatting with the affable Wynton Marsalis when he performed gratis for the Living Classrooms’ 25th anniversary and benefit concert.

Meeting Robin Thicke at the African American Heritage Festival. Remember my travelling to Towson in the ice storm last year to hear him sing, “lost without you?”

It was fun celebrating Dawn Rini’s Christmas in July 50th birthday party on The Avenue in White Marsh, hosted by her husband Tom. The room was decorated beautifully with Christmas trimmings and Ann Ridenour dressed as a Christmas tree with lights and ornaments.

Spending the Fourth of July weekend with members of the Seafarers, Neptune, and other African- American yacht owners watching the fireworks at the Inner Harbor and cruising to Annapolis. I enjoyed overlooking the Severn River, celebrating Nikki Gatewood’s 30th birthday; with her own personal fireworks, provided by her dad. What a spectacular sight.

Had a ball at Joe Zammberella 45th birthday party hosted by Gustavo King. Congratulations to Gustavo, who recently became a United States citizen. The home was beautifully decorated with 45 records dangling in space.

“God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.” –  J.M. Barrie

I enjoy the tastes of summer; steamed crabs, corn on the cob, tomatoes, ribs, fried chicken and ice-cold beer. When did we stop frying chicken for our parties? I was asked to pick up chicken from Hip Hop Chicken. I had never been to Hip Hop so I was surprised when I saw the line. Now you know we’re the best chicken fryers; but now we’re in line buying fried chicken. I stopped daily for the next week for a fried chicken breast sandwich with mayonnaise. For just $2 it was addictive. I broke that addiction quickly, I could just see my cholesterol rising HIGHER, but it was good.

I rode to Philadelphia with my son Michael and his family to check out Pat’s King of Steaks and Genoa, featured on “Man vs. Food” to taste the best Philly cheese steak. Situated on opposite corners both restaurants had long lines. What an adventure and a great day to spend with the grandkids, tasting and voting on the best sub. Caution: place your order right or back to the end of the line. It was funny seeing grown folks practicing how to order a sub. Bon Appetite!

“If you ask me, how are you? l’ll answer GREAT! Because in saying so, I make it so. I give thanks I can choose my attitude.”- BJ Gallagher

The invitational Labor Day Breakfast hosted by GEMS, Cynthia Askew, Brenda Baker, Darlene Bernard, Regina Bernard, LeMoyne Cooper, Wendy Dukes, Anne Emery, Michele Emery, Helena Hicks, Alisa Henderson, Yvonne Leacock, Juanita Morton, LaVerne Naesea, Jacqueline Robinson, Shirley Swafford, Deborah Taylor and Mildred Taylor was a success. Guests start arriving around 10 in the morning for a day filled with dancing and fellowship as friends greeted each other after their summer vacations.

We were the guests of GEM Deborah and Errol Taylor; other guests were Reginald & Sharon Pinder, Cynthia Rankin, Robert Hammond, Meredith & Dean Evans, Walter Hill, Gregory Williams, Carole Hilton, Alpheus & Debbie Jones, Paul & Blanche Beckham, Bernice & Franklin Beard, Carol & Joseph Hillary, George & Marian Russell, Pat & Howard Jessamy, Liston George, Ann Parker, Leonard Wilmore, Susan Parker, Raphael, Arnold & Virgie Williams, Mary Demory and Vallen Emery.

“Ain’t no stopping us now” After the dance we went to Susan’s house to close out the summer. When we arrived on Madison Avenue, the neighborhood was without power. The grill was lit, the wine was poured and the party was on. “We don’t need no music” We started singing, harmonizing and doing the temptation shuffle. “It’s electric” Just as the sun was setting and the last candle was lit, the power came on. Were the neighbors applauding us for entertaining them, or glad the lights were on and we had stopped? What a way to officially end summer 2010!

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” -Thomas Campbell

Prayers to Ron Jones and family on the death of his mother Sarah Jones and to Sharon Green and family on the death of her dad Raymond Green

Calling all Virgos to the floor – got some here but we need some more!

Happy birthday all Virgos: Carol Hilton, Clarissa “Sis” Johnson, Harry Johnson, Beta Dotson, Delores Chambers, Eleanor Janey, Milton Skip Hamiel, Judge Jacques Leeds, Nelson Taylor, Rotunda Jenkins, Lendell Brown, Robert Blount, Ann McFadden, Norita Easley, Tammy Carter, Unita Gillis King, Dr. Ray Bowen, Mildred Battle, Gwen Trader, Dr. James Wood, dancing twins Vivian Kee and Doris Moaney on their 86th birthday, Yvonne Frye, and Yvonne’s mom Blanche Purnell celebrating her 89th birthday.

“School Daze” My elementary school, Benjamin Banneker No. 113, formerly on Greenmount Avenue, is hosting their 20th reunion Sept. 26 honoring former principal Florence Gloster. For tickets call 410-534-5945. I remember my kindergarten teacher Doris Gibson Williams, who still looks fabulous.

“I’ll be seeing you”

Valerie & the Friday Night Bunch