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The Ubiquitous MoonPie

“We’d like something about this big,” the man said, lifting his arms to the sky, and framing the moon within the circle of his hands. Thus was laid design for the ubiquitous MoonPie.

Is there anyone reading here today who has been denied the sheer pleasure of freshly tearing away the cellophane wrapper around a fat chocolate sphere, then biting into the gooey marshmallow stuffing between the two cookies? Have you reached over for the bottle, upended the cold glass cylinder and chugged down a draft of RC Cola to wash down the sweet morsels?

In his book, “The Great American MoonPie Handbook”, Mr. Dickson had written of the MoonPie’s® lost history. Not long after his book was published, he received a telephone call from Earl Mitchell, Jr., identifying his deceased father, Earl Mitchell, Sr., as the person responsible for the invention of the MoonPie®.

Mr. Mitchell’s story goes like this … Early in the 1900s, while servicing his territory of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia, Mr. Mitchell was visiting a company store that catered to the coal miners. He asked them what they might enjoy as a snack. The miners said they wanted something for their lunch pails. It had to be solid and filling. “About how big?,!” Mr. Mitchell asked. Well about that time the moon was rising, so a miner held out his big hands, framing the moon and said, “About that big!” So, with that in mind, Mr. Mitchell headed back to the bakery with an idea. Upon his return he noticed some of the workers dipping graham cookies into marshmallow and laying them on the window sill to harden. So they added another cookie and a generous coating of chocolate and sent them back for the workers to try. In fact, they sent MoonPie® samples around with their other salespeople, too. The response they got back was so enormous that the MoonPie® became a regular item for the bakery.

The phrase “RC Cola and a MoonPie®” became well known around the South, as many people enjoyed this delicious, bargain-priced combination.

I ate MoonPies as a child, and although I was familiar with RC Colas (it was my mom’s favorite soft drink), I don’t recall particularly drinking RC as I ate my fat cookie, although I understand many people did. I believe I lost contact with MoonPies for many years, for I don’t remember buying them as Jerry and I were rearing our children. Probably, this was because our homes have been in California, and the MoonPie was born and proliferated in the South and drifted to the Midwest. I’ve noticed in recent years, however, that the MoonPie has made its way westward, and a time or two, I feel to confess, I have taken a box from a WalMart shelf and handily transferred the treasure to my shopping cart. At home–not with an RC Cola–but with an icy glass of milk I have indulged.

Have you?

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