Confession No. 136 — You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…

For those of you who are new to these parts, this project began almost four years ago with my ‘Confessions’ — everything from rants about people wearing pajamas in public, to very personal pieces about my life as I know it.  Following is one of those intimate essays, a letter to our youngest son.

April 10, 2015


You won’t remember today. You are seven. Your morning started as a disappointment because we told you that you’d have to buy lunch in the school cafeteria. I came to your rescue at 11:15, but it is you who should get the credit for rescuing someone.

When I ordered your turkey sandwich with lots of extra black olives and a side of oil & vinegar, I never realized that it would be the catalyst for one of my favorite memories. For once, I arrived at your school before your lunch period and made my way to the cafeteria with our lunches in tow. My timing rewarded me, much in the same way that Atlantic Coast beaches reward early risers.

Soon after I settled in and prepped our lunch spread, the first-grade classes began filing in. One by one I caught glimpses of the teachers leading their students into the room, each time feeling anxious and then disappointed. Until I spotted your teacher … and you.

By the time you read this I hope you will have experienced at least of few perfect moments in time, such as looking up at the sky at the exact point that a meteorite shoots across the horizon, or glancing out the car window just in time to see a whooping crane take flight from an obscure patch of grass. When you’ve experienced moments like these, you’ll know how I felt when I looked across that cafeteria today and made eye contact with you.

Your wide grin – with those two missing front teeth – was as cute as a litter of boxer puppies. When I waved to make sure we were actually looking at each other, you pointed then waved in response. When you broke from your line and headed in my direction your smile continued to grow. And so did mine. Most of the time it’s not so good to run out of sandwich bread in the middle of the week. But this week was different.

As a boy, my mom would sing to me ‘You are my sunshine,’ and I think I’ve finally realized why. I pray that you are able to find joy in the little things like I found today. I pray also that I realize more often that these really aren’t little things at all.

You won’t remember this day. But I’ll never forget it, Sunshine.

I love you.

Everybody loves a good crab cake. Even our youngest.  What makes a good crab cake? Why, crab of course!  The following recipe is more Southern-style than the traditional Maryland version. Still, when you bite into these crunchy beauties you get crab … and more crab.

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Crab Cakes

What makes a good Crab Cake?  Why crab, of course!  These have plenty of it, and little else.

What makes a good Crab Cake?  Why crab, of course!  These have plenty of it, and little else.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Crab Cakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer/Main
Cuisine: American
  • ¼ cup - mayonnaise
  • 2 – Green onions, chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1TB – Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp – Fresh lemon juice
  • ½ TB – Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 TB – Roasted red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 lb – Crab (lump or claw), picked thoroughly for shell fragments
  • 1¼ cups - Panko breadcrumbs, divided
  • Couple drops – Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. In a medium to large bowl, combine well the mayonnaise, mustard, egg, lemon juice, Old Bay, hot sauce, roasted pepper and green onions.
  2. Fold in crab, then gently fold in ¾ cup of the panko crumbs (reserving the other ½ cup).
  3. Refrigerate mixture for about 30 minutes.
  4. Shape mixture into 8 'cakes' about 1-inch thick.
  5. Cover the bottom of a large skillet with vegetable and preheat to medium-high (just below the smoke point).
  6. Lightly dredge each crab cake in remaining ½ cup of panko crumbs.
  7. Fry the crab cakes until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Serve with rémoulade or mango salsa.



  1. I seem to have gotten something in mah eye.

  2. Your writing makes me want to go to school and learn some skills. Very nice Adam. And some bird talk. I’ve only seen one Whopping Crane in my life, they’re absolutely incredible in every way.

  3. This is so touching! Your son will love this someday, and I am sure he is racking up moments like this all of the time, with you as his Dad! (Great Crab Cake recipes, too!)

  4. As I began reading your post, I was interested in what would be one of your favorite memories of your youngest. When I realized it was his smile growing wider as he came toward you, I could feel the tears forming. What a beautiful thing to share. I just had to sit back and remember those little smiles from my own children already grown and gone. Thanks for that!
    Now about these crab cakes, oh my goodness what a tasty recipe this is! I’ve never made crab cakes before, but this is a great inspiration to do so!

  5. It is 5:40 am Pacific time, I should be up and getting ready for work. I happened to check my email and found this email that I had missed earlier during a very busy week/end.
    I am so glad I found it.
    I love your food but I really love your honesty.
    Thank you for beginning my Monday and workweek on a good note.
    Coming to you from Dungeness crabland…. This recipe will get a try very soon.
    Jill T.

  6. You seem like a great Dad! Most people don’t realize You Are My Sunshine, is one of the saddest song’s ever. Look up the version by “Lou Dite” on YouTube. Recipe looks great and I will give it a try. Thanks for taking the time to share your stories and recipe’s by blogging.

    • adamjholland says:

      Oh, I’m familiar with the lyrics. I just choose to sing the part about making me happy when skies are grey. 😉 Glad you stopped by and I appreciate your kind words.

  7. What a lovely post. I think parents often have those fleeting moments with their children – ones that just fill us up inside and stay with us forever… I love how you were thoughtful enough to save this moment in writing for your son. This is something he will treasure forever. It serves as a reminder to be “present” with our children or loved ones and how an ordinary experience can be extraordinary if one only looks for the “beauty” of the moment. That sounded so cheesy but I meant every word of it. Your blog is becoming one of my favorites not only for the recipes but for the writing! Thank you for this post. -Kim

  8. Hi Adam! I just stumbled across your blog and I’m already a fan. Love the letter you wrote to your son – so incredibly sweet and precious. I hope you save a copy and gift it to him later on when he’s older…I’m sure he’ll appreciate it! And don’t be so quick to think he might not remember it…I still remember special moments like that from my school days where Mom or Dad surprised me with a special lunch or early getaway. Those are the best memories.

    As for the crab cakes… YUM! They look so crispy, which doesn’t always happen with crab cakes. They also look pretty compact, as in they’re not falling apart – more brownie points! Can’t wait to try your recipe, thank you for sharing! 🙂

  9. A good dad who would bring a lunch to the cafeteria and then sit down to eat it with his son. Also a good dad whose son was happy to see him at school in said cafeteria instead of being embarrassed or upset that he couldn’t sit with his friends. I watch (only across the room) as a little boy in this house begs for attention from a dad who can’t get his nose out of that stupid iPhone absent-mindedly yelling the boys name every so often without even knowing why. My daughter’s dad wasn’t present and neither is my grandson’s – at least most of the time. It’s a good thing my daughter had to very present grandads and my grandson has one very present PaPa – still……..I hope one day that my daughter tells me that her husband (and not her) ran by the school to have lunch with my grandson – boys need their dads.

    You are a good dad.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Kelli. You bring up a good point about the phones. It’s ironic how these things are supposed to improve communication, but we’ve separated ourselves (from each other) because of our fascination with checking emails, looking at other people’s photo albums or checking to see how many people ‘like’ our social media posts. It’s like E.M. Forster (“The Machine Stops”) had a crystal ball.

  10. This brought back the memory of the times I used to bring my kids lunch. It was special and it brought a tear to my eye to think about it. I so wish I could do it all over again. And those crab cakes? similar to mine except I use cornmeal instead of panko. Would you bring me those for lunch?

  11. I normally don’t read the blog posts and skip right down to the recipe, but I read this one and teared up. So great how much love you and your son have for each other! Glad something made me stop on my busy internet-hunting to read this!

  12. What a beautiful story. Love it. I sing the same song to my son, just like my Dad sang to me when I was little.

    • adamjholland says:

      Take your time and enjoy these moments, because once they become teenagers you’ll want to strangle them (or yourself). Thanks, man.

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