After the wardrobe issue was cleared up, Mrs. B and I went for a drive through Oakland. She was a licensed driver up until a few months ago, and losing her freedom of transportation has been rough. Given that she had been cooped up in her house stressing all week I convinced her to let me take her out for a drive.
Our first stop was Fenton’s on Piedmont Avenue.
Mrs. B and I decided that since her problem was losing weight and mine was gaining weight that she would get a vanilla ice cream cone and I would get a diet coke. Deal.
Then we drove down Pleasant Valley Road, over the hill to Lakeshore Drive, and all the way around Grand Lake. Mrs. B told me stories of what Oakland was like when she moved here in the 40s and how much it had changed. She noted each church we passed, and of the Baptist ones which ones she and her church, which is in East Oakland, associate with.
We drove across town on MacArther and up Telegraph. We were on our way to the Colonel’s, (as both my father and Mrs. B refer to Kentucky Fried Chicken, the old fashioned way). Mrs. B likes to indulge in dinner from the Colonel when she’s not feeling too well. She only likes the chicken at the location on Telegraph in the 60s, they make the best chicken there, and she only likes thighs. No coleslaw, her teeth can’t handle it. Mashed potatoes, yes.
We were passing Bakesale Betty’s on the corner of 51st when Mrs. B remarked that she had always wanted to try their chicken. Mrs. B and her daughter had noticed the line out the door at midday and loved the concept of the ironing board tables (they thought, “hey, we can open a business with ironing boards for tables!” and rightly so).
The line out the door
The ironing board “tables”
We stopped and got Mrs. B a sandwich. I had reservations about doing so. Bakesale Betty isn’t authentic when talking fried chicken with a ninety-three year old African American lady who moved to Oakland in the 40s from New Orleans. But Mrs. B said, “hey! I like trying new things at my age too!” So I got her the sandwich and we drove home.
I told Mrs. B to call me later and let me know her thoughts on the sandwich. I got a call around 6:30PM:
“Hi Darlin!” Hi Mrs. B! How do you like your sandwich? “Well you know, I don’t like breasts. I only like thighs. I know Mrs. B, I’m sorry, they only make breasts there. Well I only like thighs but I’m eating it and enjoying it! I’m sorry Mrs. B! “Don’t worry about it Darlin! I appreciate you! Call me when you wake up in the morning. OK, talk to you in the morning Mrs. B.