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.
But I won’t ever forget those afternoons.
My mother turns 90 today.
I think we’ll have brownies.