Every now and then, I get to thinking about how fleeting life is, and how important it is to live every day as if it were your last day. I am not being morbid here, just thinking about this journey we are on and how important our time here on planet Earth is.
These thoughts didn't just start coming to me since I turned 80; I have always thought about how precious life is and how we must value it by doing the right thing. This is not to say that I have always done the right thing. Like everyone else, I have made my share of mistakes.
However, it seems that life's worth becomes more evident to me now, daily. Especially since I was notified more than once in the past two weeks of the passing of two dear friends — Dr. Kenneth Johnson, a dentist who had relocated to Maryland many years ago, and Gloria Newbold, who lived here near her sisters Maud Newbold and Shirley Newbold Funches.
Both Kenneth and Gloria are members of two of Miami's pioneer African-American families. And it seems like only yesterday we were teenagers, going to the Monday night teenage dance upstairs at the Longshoreman's Hall on Northwest Second Avenue and Eighth Street in Overtown.
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While I am saddened over the loss of my friends, I am not one to spend time brooding over when my own time will come. God has been too good to me to let the thought of my demise overtake my daily thoughts. I am a happy, and relatively healthy octogenarian. (Did I just call myself that?) I love the Lord, I live peacefully with my family, friends and neighbors, and I enjoy a good, deep-belly laugh now and again. To paraphrase a verse from the Bible, laughter does a soul good like medicine. I try to take several doses a day.
Which reminds me of an annual event that brings on the laughter: the Booker T. Washington High School Alumni Association's Living Legends Award and Orange and Black Scholarship Gala.
Led by Roberta Daniels, president of the association, the event was held April 14, and not only to honor BTW's living legends and to present thousands of dollars in scholarships to graduating seniors from the school. It is also an event that brings together each year, the oldies as well as young people, who are just graduating. One of the gala's main features is the roll call of each of the school's graduating classes from as far back as 1936. It is a fun time, as class members proudly strut across the carpet to music that represent the era of each class.
And now a warm Neighbors in Religion salute to the 2018 Living Legend honorees: Eloise McCoy-Cain, Ph.D., Community Service; Lucile Mounts Dobrin, Cultural Arts; Benny W. Samuels, Ph.D., Education; Gwendolyn Harmon Walker, Entrepreneurial; Cleo George Reynolds, Health Care; Sharon Noreen Lovett, Philanthropy; Janet Roberts Symonette, Public Service, and Percy Oliver, Sports. Terry Jefferson, a BTW graduating senior was honored as a Future Young Leader.
Also honored at the event was Georgiana Johnson Bethel, 92, and one of the school's oldest living teachers. Bethel received a standing ovation when she was recognized. So deserving.
'Colors in Motion'
Speaking of things that make you smile: Karen Peterson Dancers will present "Colors in Motion" at 10 a.m. Friday in the Miami Senior High School Auditorium, 2450 SW First St. The donation is only $10 at the door.
Hand bell concert
The first combined hand bell concert, featuring the 16-member Wayside Bells and The Old Cutler Ringers from Old Cutler Presbyterian Church, will be at 4 p.m. Sunday in the church's new sanctuary at 7791 SW 98th St.
The ringers range in age from high school to age 81. The bell choirs will be joined by members of Wayside's orchestra in performing both secular and sacred selections. Jena Congdon is the director.
According to information from Wayside, many churches no longer use the hand bells as a part of their worship service. The concert will be a chance for musicians and the audience to rediscover this beautiful musical art form.
For more information, call Connie Skinner at 305-790-8110.
Free prayer breakfast
The SBC Community Development Corp. and The New Florida Majority invite the community to a free prayer breakfast to be from 10 a.m. to noon on May 5 at Second Baptist Church, 11111 Pinkston Dr. in Richmond Heights. The program will feature the political candidates for District 27.
Call Jessica Garrett Modkins at 305-970-1518 for more information.
Hampton House exhibit
The community is invited to the opening of the newest exhibit at the Historic Hampton House: "Social Center of the South — The Past and Present of the Historic Hampton House" at 6 p.m. Saturday .
The exhibit was produced by the participants of the Hampton House's new music and history mentorship program, the Brownsville Unity Music Project, which represents a strategic partnership between Florida International University's Department of History and the University of Miami's Shalala Music Reach Program.
The exhibit tells the story of the Hampton House from its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s to its rebirth over 40 years later as a community cultural center. The event is free and open to the public. Call 305-638-5800 for more information.
Israel's birthday celebration
Temple Beth Tov Ahavat Shalom invites the community to help celebrate Israel's 70th birthday at 2 p.m. Sunday at the synagogue, 6438 SW Eighth St. in West Miami.
The program will include a surprise guest from the consulate of Israel, music, food and Israeli dancing. There will also be live music by Cantor Irving Resnick, the synagogue choir, Paulina Claro(cq), and a special music performance by Roger Prado. Admission is $10 per adult and $5 per child. Call 786-223-7757 for more information.
Church garage sale
It's time for the annual garage sale at St. Basil Catholic Church, 1475 NE 199th St. in North Miami Beach. The event will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m . Saturday , and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
Items for sale will include linens, clothing, toys, and books. There will also be a white elephant table filled with what-nots and knickknacks. There will also be food for sale and available to eat in or take out.. Everyone is welcome.
STRATUS4 String Quartet
Music in Miami will present a concert featuring the STRATUS4 String Quartet 6 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Cathedral, 464 NE 16th St.
The string quartet will preform two major classical works: Ludwig Beethoven's quartet in C minor (op18 no. 4), and a work by Frenchman Maurice Ravel. Tickets are available at the church.
Business Month Program
The annual Business Month Program, presented by the Gamma Alpha Chapter, Iota Phi Lambda Sorority will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Universal Truth Center, 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens.
During the program, the sorority will honor the businessman, businesswoman and business firm of the year. Several community leaders will be honored for their outstanding contributions that have impacted the quality of life in the community.
It's free. For more information call Helen F. Reed, program chairwoman, at 305-785-2090.