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As It Was: Meringue Pie Survives Mule Train Trip

A master mule packer for the Rogue River Forest Service for 31 years, Gordon Jesse Walker, was known for bragging at demonstrations of his work for local granges, schools, and nursing homes that he had packed everything except a meringue pie.

One day he arrived with his mules and horse, Molly, at Big Ben Creek and started to arrange the belongings of a seven-man trail crew into three piles for three mule loads.  The crew foreman walked up with a broad grin across his face and a box containing a beautiful, lemon-meringue pie measuring 12 inches in diameter and 2 inches high.

As the pack train started down the trail, the crew reminded Walker they expected pie for lunch.

Walker chose his best mule for the job, Dillon, but worried that yellow-jacket nests along the way might spook the mule to run away.  Walker carefully cushioned the pie and used a special hitch to hold it in place.

Eight miles later at the end of that day’s trek, Walker carefully unwrapped the pie in perfect shape from its box, much to the surprise and relief of his hungry crew.

Source: Walker, Gordon J. "Six Years With a Government Mule."  G.J. Walker, 1990.

Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.