Living For The Weekend

by: Valerie Fraling Special to the AFRO
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“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until; at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone” gone where? Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!” And, that is dying…death comes in its own time, in its own way. Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.” Henry Jackson Van Dyke

 “Ah, the magic of music, with it, all things are possible.”  E.A. Bucchianeri

Sending bouquets of flowers to my “Southern Girl” song stylist and pianist Ora Reed, on her induction into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, as they celebrate Mississippi’s music, musicians and musical heritage. The honorees are selected based on the distinguished global impact they made in their musical arenas. Ora, has performed nationally and internationally most recently residing in Dubai and Kyoto, Japan where she performed nightly.

Other 2017 inductees include R&B, Motown artist G.C.Cameron, classical pianist Bruce Levingston, Pop, Hip Hop, R&B artist Brandy Norwood, and music producer and Malaco vice president Gerald “Wolf” Stephenson. Inducted posthumously were Bluegrass and Country artist Pete Pyle and Jazz trumpeter Dalton Smith. Ora is currently on her way to the 2017 Global WIN Conference in Oslo Norway where she has been invited to be a participant before heading to Baltimore to spend a few days with friends, then back home to her beloved Mississippi.

Celebration time come on!

Cleve Brister’s block birthday party was an old school reunion with more than 200 friends and former classmates in attendance to celebrate a Baltimore legend. The party stretched through three family homes with tons of food located throughout. Among the guests in attendance were Hattie Fields, Vivian Braxton, Shawn Braxton, Frances Tilghman, Louise Wylie, Gwen and Nathaniel Trader, Mildred and Billy Harper, Dwight Pettit, Donald “Duck” Welling, Rosa and William “Shorty” Trusty. Special thanks to Cleve’s wife Nancy and his daughter and grandson for such an amazing evening.

Happy birthday Billie Garner-Brown, Claudia McKee, Beta Dotson, Miss Shirley Ball, Glenda McKinney, Vashtied Battle, LaVerne Gaither, Phil Allen, Susan Parker, Brenda Wright, Dave Couser and my grandson Damien Lee on his 30th birthday.

“Only those who truly love and who are truly strong can sustain their lives as a dream. You dwell in your own enchantment. Life throws stones at you, but your love and your dream change those stones into the flowers of discovery. Even if you lose, or are defeated by things, your triumph will always be exemplary. And if no one knows it, then there are places that do. People like you enrich the dreams of the worlds, and it is dreams that create history. People like you are unknowing transformers of things, protected by your own fairy-tale, by love.” Ben Okri

Sending happy anniversary wishes to Rorye and Dominic Jordan, Sandi and Jai Matthews and Joshua and Lindsey Hill- Eldridge may you always dance the anniversary waltz.

“Wishing you were somehow here again. Knowing we must say goodbye. Try to forgive, teach me to live, give me the strength to try. No more memories, no more silent tear. No more gazing across the wasted years. Help me say goodbye help me say goodbye” Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom of the Opera

September has always brought me joy, a time to celebrate my birth and reflect on new beginnings. This month I faced the reality of just how precious the life we live is, and why it should not be taken lightly. The death of Christopher James at age 30, the son of my friends Linda and Ken “Stromie” James and the death of Gregory Hill Jr. at the age of 26, son of  my friends Greg and Karen Hill,  leave us dumbfounded of what might have been had they lived. They were both so full of life and promise. The deaths were not the result of street violence so, it was not newsworthy except to the family and friends who mourn them. Then I rejoice the death of my longtime friend, attorney Stanley Morstein at the age of 87, a renaissance man who lived life fully as a husband, father, grandfather, attorney, an actor and an adventurer who started bicycling down the California coastline and jetted around town in his red sports car in later years. I knew these three men well, but I mourn the loss of Christopher and Gregory, because we will never know where their later years would have led. Two young men with the future and promise of old age gone too soon.

You’re a winner!

Baltimore’s sportswoman Betty Greene, an avid golfer and bowler is super proud of her sons and their accomplishments in the sports arena. Son Andrew Chatmon, Jr., is the bowling coach at Alabama State University. He guided the women’s bowling team in the 2017 SWAC tournament beating their biggest competitor Texas Southern University. Another son Ronnie Brown, Jr., is competing in the Golf Channel’s Amateur Tournament in Palm Springs. Their grandparents Robert and Doris Tarter, won tournament trophies in both golf and bowling.

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