When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants slumber after safety. When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear. When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our eyes briefly see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken. Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds formed and informed by their radiance fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves. And, when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us.They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.”  Maya Angelou

Union Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Hathaway was full to the rafters on a breezy Tuesday morning as Rev. Hathaway and Dr. A.C.D Vaughn eulogized their friend.  The Unified Voices of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions conducted by Dr. Gregory Branch lifted their voice in adulation to a fallen warrior. They came from Tennessee State, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Alabama, Washington D.C., California, Tennessee, Kansas and Baltimore to say good-bye to a quintessential man. “A man for all seasons” whose friends like his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers, Dr. Johnnetta Coles, Dick Gregory, Sammie, Ellis, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Jack Young, state Del. Nathaniel Oaks,  Hospital CEOs, Lou Fields, Ronald Flamer, Myra Queen, Eleanor Matthews, Frances Gaines, JoAnne Jolivet, his coworkers and “everyday people” took time to pay tribute and celebrate the life of our longtime friend Dr. Levi Watkins,  a son of the Civil Rights Movement, friend of Martin Luther King; a man who met Nelson Mandela and counted Maya Angelou as his personal friend, yet loved spending Sunday mornings with his local friends. To talk with Levi or Doc was like a history lesson. Oh, how I loved to hear him say Val I talked to Maya yesterday and I mentioned your name or see the joy on his face when he talked about the new African-American students he recruited for Hopkins medical program and to hear his laughter as his eyes crinkled into slits when telling a joke. He shared his love and talents to save the life of countless people who live today because Levi lived. Sundays will never be the same for Nathaniel, Goose, Mike, Fred, Bruce, Mark and Jack because as he always did when it was time to leave Doc just slipped quietly away.

“Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out. Welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about. Well the names have all changed since you hung around, but those dreams have remained and they’re turned around. Who’d have thought they’d lead ya back here where we need ya. Yeah we tease him a lot cause we’ve got him on the spot, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.” John Sebastian

Hundreds gathered on a rainy day in Baltimore to witness the investiture of former Mayor Kurt Schmoke as the eighth president of University of Baltimore at the Lyric Opera House. Members of the legal, judicial and political community were among the invited guests who witnessed Baltimore’s favorite son return home. The elegant reception and investiture guests included his lovely wife Dr. Pat Schmoke and children Gregory and Katherine, Marsha Jews, Dan and Delle Henson, Frank and Marcia Coakley, Reginald Thomas, Cheryl Hitchcock, Kenneth Thompson, Judge Yvonne Holt-Stone, Lydia and Sam Redd, Marion Patterson, Del. Charles Sydnor, Sean Burns, Dr. Frankie Martin, Jesola Jones, Dr. Ann Emery, Vernon Green, Rev. Frank and Marlaa Reid, former Mayor Sheila Dixon, Sylvia and Eddie Brown and Dr. James Wood. Music was provided by Baltimore City College Jazz Band accompanied by Patrick Alston who delighted the audience with jazz standard Dat Der and other classic jazz pieces that had us patting our feet.

“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall in love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.” Maya Angelou

Friends and coworkers from Living Classrooms celebrated Talib Horne’s appointment as the executive director of Bon Secours Community Works at Max’s of Broadway. The standing room only crowd included Marsha Jews, James Bond, Alexis Coates and Granville Templeton.

“Some enchanted evening” includes a night of gaming, entertainment, gourmet food and a fashion show at the Lyric to benefit “Suited to Succeed” an organization dedicated to helping women dress for success. For tickets www.suitedtosucceed.org or to donate slightly worn clothing call 410-528-1799.

A toast to John Lee and Marama Nengel of BAHA on hosting a fantastic evening at Azumi “ sitting on the dock of the bay” in Harbor East. The overflow crowd networked with their contemporaries in the hospitality industry while dining on sushi, ribs and other Japanese delicacies. Seen enjoying the night were Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Renita Mingo, Angela Burnett, Bernard Simms, Denise McKoy-Bell, Dr. Charlene Cooper-Boston, Yvonne West, Cereta Spence, Pat Roselle, Everlon Moulton, Don McCafferty, Brenda Lee, Libby Massey and Wanetah Wilkins.

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