Did you know that St. Nicholas Avenue between 141st and 145th street is now officially known as Dorothy Maynor Way? Dorothy Maynor was a world-renowned concert artist, beloved first lady of St. James Presbyterian Church, founder of the Harlem School of the Arts, Harlem’s cultural ambassador and a relentless advocate of community pride, improvement and empowerment way before the terminology became popular.

Another advocate of community pride, Joseph P. Fleming, who was known as “General Counsel to Harlem,” was recently laid to rest but not before receiving the tribute of a lifetime. Friends, family, colleagues, clients and those who knew him well and best all gathered at Abyssinian Baptist Church for a final farewell. Words of praise and thanks for a job well done were poured upon him by community members such as James Davis Jr., the Revs. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III and Dino Woodard, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad, Nicholas Cherot Esq., Robert Adair, M.D., Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Lloyd Williams of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Adelaide Sanford of the Board for the People of African Ancestry, Alex Pressley, Gail Monroe-Perry, Prince Riley and LaShonna Holloway, the Revs. Reginald Williams and Roy Fleming Jr., Gina Moore, Monte O. Harris, M.D., and Lateefah, Joey, Terilyn and Lavon Fleming.

There was also a reading by Betty Dopson; “My Life is in Your Hands” was sung by Roderick Covington, accompanied by the LoveJonesNYC Band & Singers; son Joey Harris Fleming sang an original composition, “Heart & Soul”; and Sophia Nicole sang “Total Praise.”

Joe was a man of true grit. He walked it like he talked it. Always there, a true friend and aid to those in need of legal assistance or just a shoulder to lean on. Honorary pallbearers included Brian Adjo, Corwin Breeden, Russell Broome, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jambey Clinckscales, Tom Collins, Virgil Ecton, Leon Ellis, Anton Gladden, Bennie Hadnott, Chris Ifill, Carl McCall, Arthur Miller, Robert Perry, Anthony Ricco, Patrick Waldron, Nathaniel Joseph Williams, Winston Williams and Kenneth Woods. Besides all of those, he leaves to mourn his mother, Mary Terry Fleming, devoted assistant Drew and beloved wife, Temple-Jene. Never goodbye, just so long, Joe, until we meet again.

Also passing unexpectedly was Bryant Mills, rest in peace.

Still celebrating birthdays are Mary Moultrie, Mahou and Caleb Crawford, and Bianca Featherstone. Happy anniversary, Larry and Harriet Coldwell.

While the summer madness is over, it’s never too late to visit the Winery Tasting Room at the Wolffer Estate Vineyard, located in Sagaponack on the east end of Long Island. Open year-round, the winery has the most interesting collection of wines, including one sparkling brut that will have you coming back for more. With apple and pumpkin picking nearby, why not make a day of it and “become part of the experience.”

The Mid-Manhattan Branch NAACP’s annual Freedom Fund Benefit Luncheon took place recently at Marina del Rey, and as always, it was a smash. Honorary chairs this year were Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Dr. Marcella Maxwell and Dr. Roscoe Brown. Honorees were Wyclef Jean, City Councilwoman Inez Dickens, Robin Bell Stevens, NBPA Executive Director “Billy” Hunter; Willie Walker, general manager of the Harlem State Office Building; Anthony Harmon, who is director of parent and community outreach at UFT; and branch members Marti Greenberg, Ruther Miller, Anna Lewis Esq. and Beverly Wheeler. A reception, luncheon and dancing to the Warren Daniels Band on a beautiful Saturday afternoon–who could ask for more?

“How much is that dolly in the window?” is the question I asked after spotting the cutest doll ever in the window of Goodwill, located on 135th Street and Fifth Avenue. “Items in the window are only sold on Saturdays. Doors open at 9 a.m.,” I was informed. “What is the purpose of this?” I replied, only to be told, “It’s to give everyone a chance to make a purchase.” Hmm, sounds more bureaucratic than fair to me, and I didn’t like the sound of that at all. However, mother that I am, I resolved to awaken at 7 a.m., on a Saturday, hoping to get a head start on the line I’m sure would form.

Hard as I tried, it wasn’t hard enough, as when I got there at 8:15–doll or no doll, I wasn’t going anywhere without first having a cup of coffee–the line had already formed, and it didn’t look good. One thing I can say is, the doors did open at 9 a.m., but that’s about all I can say. People were there–some with shopping carts, others in their pajamas, some since 4 in the morning.

Tickets were handed to each person on line, even those under the age of 10. This was getting crazier by the minute, especially when I overheard that some people were there not because they had their eye on a piece all week and really wanted it; no, they were just there for the fun of it, and some not even from the neighborhood. While waiting my turn to enter, I watched through the window as two ladies actually fought over an imitation leather pocketbook. I was even sadder when I saw someone purchase the doll. It was an Isabella Doll, and I have to admit, she was charming. Oh well, mommy tried.

The whole thing just seemed so ridiculous to me. Goodwill is open seven days a week until 8 p.m. That certainly seems like enough time for anyone who wants a chance to buy something, to come in and buy the item they desire. Instead, Goodwill chooses to make a game out of it whereby we were lucky things didn’t get ugly.

I would like to practice a little good will myself, if I may. I have a couple of really good LSAT prep books for anyone who is about to take the law school entrance exam. I tried to give them to the 124th Street public library, where at one time they were trying to develop a law section. Unfortunately, I learned that the libraries are no longer able to accept books as a donation (more bureaucracy that I don’t understand). To anyone interested in obtaining them, they are free! Contact me at montana2us@yahoo.com to make arrangements for pick-up.

Until next week … kisses.