By Valerie Fraling, Special to the AFRO

“The years of imprisonment hardened me…. Perhaps if you have been given a moment to hold back and wait for the next blow, your emotions wouldn’t be blunted as they have been in my case. When it happens every day of your life, when that pain becomes a way of life, I no longer have the emotion of fear. There is no longer anything I can fear; there is nothing the government has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I haven’t known.” – Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

“My favorite place to eat is my grandma’s kitchen. She makes a mean crab cake.” – Karlie Kloss

Do you remember Nate’s & Leon, The Pimlico Hotel or Nick’s Seafood at Cross Street Market? If you do remember. I’m sure you tasted the most delicious crab cakes ever. Want to know a secret? The crab cakes are created from an old family recipe by Charles Hawkins, former chef at Pimlico Hotel. It’s been in the Hawkins’ family since 1947. Unfortunately, these places have closed, however Charles’ son, Brian Hawkins, has kept the crab cake tradition alive at the Brass Tap, 1205 W. Mt. Royal Ave across from the light rail stop. That’s right, you can ride the light rail and get off at the Mt. Royal stop for a Baltimore classic crab cake and rinse it down with one of the many cold beers on tap.

So if anybody wants to get me something, get me 60 crabs – one for each year. I don’t want no diamonds, I don’t want no shoes, I don’t want no party. I want some crabs.” – Patti LaBelle

We couldn’t resist ordering crabs the one great spring day we had in April. Looks like this will be a good year for crabs based on the crabs we got from Cravin Crabs in Halethorpe. At $60 a dozen for the large crabs it was well worth it for such meaty and succulent crabs.

“Saturday mornings are for mimosas and brunch” – Lisa McLean

Colin’s Restaurant 2nd annual brunch was a huge success with every seat occupied and guests waiting to be seated. The menu included all the brunch, breakfast and lunch favorites including French toast, salmon, pulled BBQ pork and unlimited mimosas. Guests enjoying the delicious brunch were Dorothy “The Queen” Williams, the AFRO’s Diane Hocker, Denise Deleaver, Bishop Josephine and Tommy Ridgley, Marcia Tuck, Rev. Sadie and Barry Bankins, Tatijana Jobes, Anita Wilmore, Dr. Ashanti and Lyonna Woods and Marc Myrick.

“Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.” –Barbara Bush

More than 400 people attended Dunbar Alumni Association’s bull and oyster roast at the UAW Hall on Oldham Street. The all class reunion was the perfect opportunity for Poets, and friends of Poets, to spend a memorable afternoon meeting and greeting old friends and classmates. Enjoying the pit beef, ham, fried oysters, oysters, clams  and so much more were Selena Redd, Geneva Starks, Ronald Bailey, The honorable Tiger Davis, Lady Di, Lenora Dawson, Doni Glover and Derrick Jones. Thanks Jerrelle Francois for inviting me, I’m looking forward to next year. Go Poets!

“Behind you now is yesterday; let your experience and knowledge pave the way. Here’s to you and to your success, we know you will give it your best.” – Theodore W. Higginsworth

Wishing Andre Goppy, former service advisor at R&H Mercedes, much success on his next venture in Charleston South Carolina.

“So long, it’s been good to know ya!” – Arlo Guthrie

It was a pleasure knowing Andre for the 11 years he was my service advisor. Like EF Hutton, when Andre said it, you listened with complete confidence that he had his customer in mind.

“Life isn’t about your age. Life is about living. So when your birthday comes be thankful for the year that has just past and anticipate with a happy heart what the coming year will bring.” – Catherine Pulsifer

I remember a few of my mother’s favorite things, so for her birthday I invited her to lunch at The Peppermill on York Road so she could enjoy a lunch featuring a menu of shad roe, oyster stew and fried oysters.

Happy birthday Yoma Howard, Debbie Allen,  Pat Crisp, Victor Green, Paula Stephens, Morgan Chase, Michael Andre Settles, twins Krystal and Kristie Jones, Sheriff John Anderson and Shirley Richmond.

Happy 21st anniversary to my line sisters, the 108 Black Pearls. It’s hard to believe that it has been 21 years since we bonded into the illustrious sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Sending get well wishes to Phil Strambler as he continues to recuperate at home.

“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.” – Barbara Bush

Sending our thoughts and prayers to Delegate Antonio Hayes on the death of his mother Sonia “Pinky” Hayes and to the AFRO’sTakiea Hinton and her mom Gloria Bryant on the death of her stepfather and her mom’s husband, retired Korean war veteran Colonel Rudolph Valentino Bryant.

Family and friends are mourning the death of longtime educator, community and social activist Cardrienne Perrin Griffin. Her husband of sixty years James “Jim” Griffin and family will receive friends on April 22 at March Family Tribute Center 5601 Old Court Road from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with funeral services on Monday at Bethel AME Church. For more details, contact March Funeral Home. Read her obituary on page B1.

What’s happening!

April 22 at Bethesda Blues& Jazz Supper Club Kim Jordan will perform a tribute to Gil Scott Heron in honor of April Jazz appreciation month.

“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” – Mark Twain

“I’ll be seeing you.”– Valerie and the Friday Night Bunch