Cake Box Brownies

Every six weeks for the longest time my mother and I went to the Cake Box Bakery in Parker Square while I was growing up. 

It was supposed to be my treat for having a good report card, but I still got to go even when I brought home that ‘C’ in math in the sixth grade. 

I loved going in that bakery. 

We would place our order at the counter and then sit at one of the tables at the front of the bakery where you could see out the solid glass storefront window. 

Got the same thing every time.  A brownie and a glass of milk. 

They had all kinds of pastries – fancy ones – and beautifully decorated cakes, but all I ever wanted was a brownie and a glass of milk. 

These brownies weren’t just typical brownies, either.  They had a thick layer of icing on the top and they were chewy.  

The kind that gets stuck to your front teeth and you can’t get it off when you bite down into it. 

The kind best served on a plate and eaten with a fork. 

We never bought any to take home.  We only ate them at the Cake Box. 

It was our special outing. 

Sometimes we’d eat lunch at the fountain in English Pharmacy just a few stores down.  It was the last drugstore in town to have a working soda fountain, complete with a long green counter where you sat on green vinyl-topped chrome stools.  

Most of the time my mother and I sat in a booth right next to the grill and Jessie took our order. 

Got the same thing every time.  

A pimento cheese sandwich on plain bread and a Dr. Pepper. 

For as long as I can remember. 

And then, if it was close to my birthday or Christmas, we’d walk all the way down the sidewalk to the toy store on the corner and my mother would let me go up and down every aisle and look at every toy they sold. 

I don’t remember a single thing we ever bought from that store. 

Thanks for all those sweet times, Mama - happy birthday!

But I won’t ever forget those afternoons. 

My mother turns 90 today. 

I think we’ll have brownies.


17 Comments Add yours

  1. Angie says:

    Happy Birthday to your adorable mother, Sally! And I know I’ve said it before, but… I LOVE YOUR BLOG! You are a storyteller, and God has given you some stories to tell! Every post you write is a vignette that dances in my mind with all its details. Thank you for whisking me away with every story from your life!

  2. Greg A. Pittman says:

    Oh how I remember the Cake Box and the The English Pharmacy both in Parker Square. A time back when you got service with a smile as sweet as the delights you use to get there.
    Mom and I would always walk through Perkins Department store and somehow everytime I would end up with my nose pressed against the glass at candy counter in the middle of the store.
    Everything was always laid out with such precision and style as if they weren’t to be eaten, just admired.
    And most times, not always mom would buy me a little bag of rock candy or enlish toffee. My favorites. I’m calling my sweet Betty today and remind her how much I love her.

  3. You were such a beautiful little girl, and now you are a beautiful woman! This picture is a treasure. And now whenever I have brownies at your house they will mean a little more!

  4. Kelvin says:

    Happy Birthday Betty! I love you very much! I hope you have the happiest birthday ever.

  5. Sue Thomesen says:

    Happy birthday to one of the people with the best laughs I know! I too loved the bakery in Parker Square! That brought back a flood of memories of my time in WF. I loved going to Parker Square and visiting the toy store with my first born. Thanks for the memories….sung to the tune of “Thanks for the Memorie”…..

  6. Lisa says:

    So sweet! What a great way to start my day. Oh how I wish I was there to give her a big hug… Happy Birthday, Mrs. Betty! I love you! Love you too, Sal.

    1. sallygary says:

      Wish you were here to celebrate with us, too! Maybe we’ll have brownies, or maybe one of those lemon bundt cakes she used to make – remember those? Either way, I’ll eat a piece for you….love you, too!

      1. Lisa says:

        Oh, yes. I’d pick the lemon cake over chocolate any day. Please tell her I love her!

  7. Happy Birthday to your sweet mom Sally! What a great memory to have about the brownies. Enjoy your day and the brownies!

    1. sallygary says:

      Thanks, Tracy – we’ll eat an extra brownie just for you!

  8. Beverly says:

    addendum…….it was then i knew i wanted to have what she had and live like she did. she never knew she was my earthly inspiration, but she was and still is.

    1. sallygary says:

      Beverly, thank you so much for sharing this sweet story – a story that reaffirms the truth I know about both my parents. There were some hard times early on – times that I know were hard for both of them – and yet it was faith in God that sustained us. I’m so thankful for their belief – their trust in God – their faithfulness. That’s their greatest gift to me. It’s so sweet to hear the names of the women you mentioned who were in that class – I remember them well and I’m glad my mother had that safe place in all of you. And I’m glad that we are becoming more of a place where we can truly bring all of our junk – because we’ve ALL got junk! – and just be open and honest about where we are in life. Encourage each other. Pray with each other. That’s what church is supposed to be about!

  9. Beverly says:

    so many years ago i was in a Ladies Class with your sweet momma. your dad was struggling some with his faith and she was worried. She chose to share this with the class and ask for advice. this class had some of the finest Christian women attending that I have ever known, Bea Robinson, Wilma Ward, Dutch Childers, Norene Ledbetter, Evelyn Mansur, Christine Pipes, Christine Mann, Neta Blancett, Sammy Schreff, all saints i was privileged to know. someone began saying the “Lord’s Prayer” and we all joined in, not once but twice for good measure. It was the first time i remember emotion flowing into tears in a class (we didn’t do much of that back in those days, wasn’t our culture) Your Dad of course survived and is one of the finest Christian men i know. Your Mother, of course, has always walked beside God in my estimation. Happy Birthday Betty

  10. LOVE THIS!!! And happy birthday to Betty! She’s a gift to all of us. Love you!

    1. sallygary says:

      I’ll pass that along to her this afternoon – thanks, Bubba! Someone else has a November birthday we’ll be celebrating soon, doesn’t he?….love you, too!

  11. Leah says:

    Happy happy birthday to your sweet momma!! What a blessing she is to so many! And I agree, chewy brownies with frosting are the BEST! Truly my most favorite food in the whole world.

    1. sallygary says:

      Thanks, Leah – I’ll pass your birthday greeting along to her this afternoon!

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