Monday, June 6, 2011

Recap: Penn-Branch Gala

Although Ms V lives in Fairfax Village/Hillcrest, I try to share news in the ward. Ms Geraldine Washington has given me permission to share her recap of the Penn Branch Citizens/Civic Annual Dinner.

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Before, I hurry off to morning services, I'd like to give a recap of last night's Penn Branch Citizens/Civic Annual Dinner and Dance held at the Navy Yard. Headed by my neighbor, Gilbert Bussey, the association's officers, particularly Ms. Penn Branch herself, Alberta Paul, did a wonderful job of hosting the affair which included honoring outstanding Penn Branchers, like Mr. Howard Greene and Sally Thornton, both who have served as block captains for approximately 40 years respectively. Plaques of recognition as well as live plants were given as appreciation and thanks for their service. Business owner Paula Haynes and others were also recognized.

Reamer Shedrick served as Master of Ceremonies and proved to all that our neighborhood is pregnant with many untapped talented folk and unsung heroes and heroines. Though Shedrick, who was slated to be the evening's Master of Ceremonies, arrived late to the dinner, Irv Kelly, who admittedly was not prepared for the task as he left all of his MC jokes at home, was a very capable stand-in. Nonetheless, Shedrick's penitence for his tardiness was to serenade the audience with a song - which he performed accapella. His perfectly pitched rendition of "To God Be The Glory" proved to be nothing more than a slap on the wrist as he skillfully and quickly dispatched those of us listening to a spiritual chamber of thankfulness and gratitude. He was so moved himself, at the song's end, he gave unadulterated and total praise to God for the things he had done for him. It was inspiring indeed.

If the buffet of crispy fried chicken, finger-licking spare ribs, succulent green beans, sweet candied yams, fresh garden salad, creamy macaroni and cheese, dinner rolls, and lemon ice tea didn't make you happy and glad (at least, last night) to be to be Penn Brancher, the coconut, lemon meringue, and sweet potato pies, carrot and chocolate cakes for desert made you want to renew your membership for the next ten years. Speaking of that, who's the membership clerk? I need to pay up and forward.

After dinner, the dance floor was opened up by Mr. Entertainment himself, no not Jackie Wilson, but MC Reamer Shedrick, who by the way, throughout the rest of the night, never heard a song he couldn't dance to. Neighbors showed their dancing skills or lack thereof, line dancing, hand dancing and free-styling. Those walks around the neighborhood must be paying off because no one's backs, knees, or hearts gave out on the floor. Even Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who dropped by to extend well wishes, showed off his highly publicized hand dance skills and honestly, I'll have to give credit where it is due....that young lady dancing with him was good! Seriously, the Mayor handled her like Fred Astaire handled Ginger Rogers.

Also on hand to deliver expressions of thanks and acknowledgment were At-large Councilman Phil Mendelson who has always supported our community both on issues and at events. He visited each table and greeted neighbors as he is such a kinder and gentler fellow of sorts and I was very appreciative of his praise of my testimony given at the Redistricting Roundtable on June 1. He's no doubt earned my support for his re-election. That's stroke me, I'll vote for you.

Our very own councilwoman, Yvette Alexander, also addressed her constituents and contributed tickets with parking to the Nationals games to winners of the raffle. It was a complete joy to see and speak to so many neighbors. My sister, Col. Carolyn Washington, who is stationed out of the country serving in the military, is visiting and was surprised to discover she and Judith Gee, seated right next to us, are both Bennett (College) Belles. Most of their night was spent reminscing of other Belles and the like.

Though I never heard a last call for alcohol, it must have been time for the Neighborhood Watch because by 10 pm, neighbors began hugging, kissing, and bidding farewell. Some time later, it was plain to see that I and my sister were among the last dustings of folk left but we were still so enjoying the music, we stayed. But, I knew it was time to go, when the DJ, Gregory Gray, started playing, "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On!"

At that point, we left. I had to hurry home and change.

Have a wonderful day, all!

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