The first MoonPie I ever ate was in the early 1960’s at a store just south of Montgomery, Alabama on U.S. Highway 29. An old woman, her calico dress soaked in the sweat of a humid Southern summer, took my change, handed me a vanilla MoonPie, and told me not to choke on it. I remember that part in particular since I didn’t plan on choking to begin with. I sat on the steps of that old store eating my MoonPie and drinking an RC Cola.
Even as a kid I wondered if it was possible to have any other drink except an RC with a MoonPie. It was common knowledge that RC and MoonPies went together. Everyone said that. Even Big Jim Folsom enjoyed the combo while running for governor. But why? At the time I didn’t know it was because of the large size and low price of both items that easily made for a handy workingman’s lunch.
So as a young boy with questions in his head and looking for an excuse not to do homework, I rode my bike up to the little gas station on the corner and hung around the front door asking people who came out if they always drank RC Cola with their MoonPies.
One woman looked at me like a truant delinquent. “Why ain’t you in school, boy?”
“Cause it’s Saturday, ma’am.”
She didn’t like that answer and turned with a huff, almost hitting me in the head with a fuzzy, flat purse that looked like a sail cat freshly peeled off the road.
I remember one conversation in particular all these years later. The old man lived next to the church. He was older than anyone I had ever seen who was still alive. Every Sunday morning he stood next to the church door wearing a new denim leisure suit and shaking hands. I never saw him go inside.
“Why you up here at this store by yourself?” he asked, tucking a chocolate MoonPie into his coat pocket, the little bell from the door still ringing behind him.
After noticing that he did not have an RC Cola with him, I asked, “Sir, ain’t you supposed to drink RC with your MoonPie?”
“You can drink anything with a MoonPie, son,” he said. “The MoonPie don’t care. Don’t have to be an RC. I crumble it up in milk sometimes. Poured a beer on it once, but don’t you try that or go tell your mama I said it either. I drink Coca-Cola with it, Dr. Pepper now and then, orange juice when I have some, and maybe a “Yeller Dope” (old school slang for Mountain Dew). Only thing I’ve never had with a MoonPie is eggnog. Just ain’t right.”
The next Christmas, I saw my uncle drinking eggnog out behind a fireworks stand and asked if he’d ever had a MoonPie with it.
“Awe yeah,” he slurred. “That’s the best way to do it. “Anybody tells you MoonPies and eggnog don’t go together is a liar.”
“But what if that man lives next to the church?” I said.
He squinted off into the distance, thinking for a moment. “Especially him,” he said.