I smiled the other night after glancing through the Metro section of the Post before dozing off. Often, reading the news before falling asleep can cause nightmares. But that particular night, there was actually some good news.
Beyond the stories about a man dying for five hours on the Metro, unnoticed; beyond the man who swindled an elderly couple out of their life’s savings; beyond the woeful budget news, there were two stories about parties — a surprise birthday party and a non-traditional bachelor party.
For starters, Dr. LaSalle Leffall Jr., noted cancer surgeon and professor at Howard University Hospital, was surprised when admirers threw him an 80th birthday party at work, interrupting his surgical grand rounds with medical students. Lefall has been making rounds at Howard University Hospital for 60 years, first as a young medical resident and later as Professor of Surgery. He is credited with teaching more than 5,000 medical students and 270 general surgeons. Someone once estimated that he had trained about two-thirds of all black surgeons in the country. Leffall was caught off guard while visiting patients when he was suddenly surrounded by the medical school’s choir singing Happy Birthday and presenting him with a huge cake. Dr. Leffall had graduated summa cum laude at age 18 from Florida A&M University, then medical school at Howard, then completed a surgical fellowship in oncology at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center before serving in the Army medical corps. ”I love what I do,” he said, “and that is teaching students and seeing patients.” A great story.
Another story was about the bachelor party of 26-year old Erik Pedley of Germantown, Maryland, who decided to take the money his friends had collected to give him a party and use it (and his friends) instead to volunteer to fix up an elementary school near his college fraternity house. Is this a lame idea or a great one? I loved it! These guys pulled weeds, painted basketball backboards, fixed broken benches and did general repairs. This time, it was the school principal who was surprised. “I was so amazed when Erik called,” said the Hyattsville school’s principal. “He said, ‘Instead of a bachelor party, my friends and I want to come and help out your school.’” John Kelly, the reporter, said that Erik “isn’t a total drip.” Erik had told him that he thought the money could go toward something less traditional than the usual bachelor party.” Maybe it could help people other than breweries and bare-naked ladies.”
Now, there’s a thought!!