“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” – Henri Nouwen

“I’m coming out” with the “pomp and circumstance” befitting a Diva, Miss Ross “set it off” at the Strathmore Music Center with a 16 piece orchestra and eight wardrobe changes while performing with style and grace. At age 66 Diana Ross is undeniably a “DIVA.” The sold out concert at the fabulous Strathmore Music Center was a perfect venue for this magnificent performance. “And still I rise” from the moment she ascended onto the stage like a queen slowly arising up from the undercroft to greet her subjects we were “hypnotized.” “You can’t sit down” people were dancing in their seats and the aisles. The audience participation was phenomenal when she sang “stop in the name of love” and other classics. The look of joy while singing “endless love” as she noticed a couple in the box seats slow dancing was priceless. Miss Ross walked to the edge of the stage and serenaded the couple to the delight of the fans.

“It’s a small world.” The show was in Montgomery County so “imagine” my surprise when I heard “hush hush somebody’s calling my name;” to my delight it was good friends Mayor Jeffrey Slavin of Somerset in Chevy Chase, entrepreneur Donna Morris and Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin, elated that I was in their neighborhood.

Before heading back home my guest and I had a late supper at PF Chang in Bethesda. The hot & sweet soup, chicken lettuce wraps and the calamari were exquisite. It was a delight, experiencing the delicate tastes and aromas each more distinct than the last. The appetizers were plentiful so we had to wrap our entrees of Mongolian beef and spicy chicken. Looking around the restaurant we realized we were the last people there. We asked what time did they close; they said 10:30. It was 11:30 but they said “please take your time we have things to do before we leave.” Now that’s what I call world class service.

“Those truly linked don't need correspondence. When they meet again after many years apart, their friendship is as true as ever.” – Deng Ming-Dao

Condolences to Tyrone & Dora Harris on the death of Tyrone’s mom Constance Harris; to Rosa Carpintireri on the death of her father Joseph Carpintireri; to Wendell Pete France on the death of his brother Bobby Rock.

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” – Elizabeth Foley

“Thanks for the memories” the beauty of shared friendships is that when it ceases to exist as we knew it “precious memories” linger. The death of my friend Deloris Gilliam rapidly brought back “memories of the way we were.” Heartfelt condolences to her husband John, children Kevin & Gabrielle, her brother Emory Bernard Woods and lifelong childhood friend Michele Michaels Larkins.

“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.”- Charles Kettering

“With a child’s heart” I reluctantly accepted the gracious invitation extended by my friend Beverly Carter to attend The DuBois Circle closing meeting at Murphy Fine Arts Center. The reluctance was simply because it was on Tuesday evening and “on the other side of town.”

“And you don’t know how glad I am” that I went. This performance presented by the 2010 NAACP ACT-SO, performing visual artists was outstanding. These talented young people received standing ovations as they performed masterful interpretations of classical and contemporary dance, classical instrumental voice, poetry and visual presentations. The participants were Frederick Taylor, Charles Hayes, Charles Burke, Jordan Peters, Ariyana Russel Cooper, Aliyah Caldwell, Sharon Anaba, Vaughn Midder, Brandon Buckson, and Christopher Green. They were accompanied by Annette Haynes, Baltimore City ACT-SO Chairperson and Marietta English, Baltimore County ACT-SO Chairperson.

Prior to the performance guests enjoying the wine & cheese buffet and music by the Rodney Kelly Project were Charlene Monts, Dr. Leslie King Hammond, Jose Mapily, Michael Haynie, Danielle Baird, Donna Wilson Johnson, Judge Marcella Holland, John Carter, Sara Gray, Walter & Jeanette Hairston, Carolyn Cole, Cheryl Hitchcock, Roslyn Wood, and Pat & Howard Jessamy.

In her closing remarks President Nannette Mitchell stated she would not watch the 11 o’clock news after witnessing such remarkable young people perform. Kudos to the DuBois Circle on your 104th year and to Beverly for not letting me “just say no.”

“Celebration times come on.” Happy birthday Jacqueline Cooper, Virginia Hubbard, Joan Wilson, Laverne Naesea, Monica Watkins and a special happy 40th birthday Lance Johnson..

Sending roses to Aunt Blanche Taylor a member of Northwood Appold UMC, her niece Annette Keene informed us that she is at Gilchrist Hospice.

“As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”- Leonardo da Vinci

It’s been a rough week with the death of our longtime friend and mentor Ray Haysbert. Condolences to his wife Carol, his children Raymond, Reggie, Nikita, Brian and the Forum family.

“Let no man write my epitaph.” – Burl Ives Look over your shoulder, Ray’s legacy is undeniably his epitaph. He is flying over the skyline of Baltimore regaling in his days as a Tuskegee Airman and his contribution to the making of Baltimore. I asked Ray how he maintained his daily activities he said “every morning I gets dressed and go somewhere.

More Park sausages Mom Please!!

“ I’ll be there.”

-Valerie & the Friday Night Bunch