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October 1, 2014

Palin’s Book & My Xmas Pilgrimage to Wasilla

Christmas Eve was a bitter night. Despite my best efforts, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I was not going to make it through blogging all of Sarah Palin’s Christmas book, Good Tidings and Great Joy, before the big day. There just wasn’t enough eggnog in the world to keep up the pace.

I had debated at one point handling this predicament like that children’s hide-and-seek trick, where they’re supposed to count to a hundred before they come find you.

“One, two, skip a few, ninety-nine, one hundred!”

Chapter 1, almost done, skip the crap, I’m fin-ished!

But I really wanted to see if I could make it – if it was possible for a human being to read every word on every page and remain a functioning member of society. Was I never to know? Despite the warm festivities, and Christmas cheer surrounding me, I was tormented deep in my heart.

Then, a friend disguised as an angel (or something) said, “Hey, but the 25th is really just the first day of Christmas, right? And there are 12 days, so I think you’ve got until January 6th to finish, if you want to be technical about it.”

IF? Hell, yes I want to be technical about it. I had just snatched my blogging adventure out of the jaws of sanity! My heart leapt! It leapt like 10 lords. It danced like 9 ladies! I could milk this sucker like 6 maids!

And I will beat this analogy like 12 drummers.

12drummers120

Suddenly, the lights on the tree twinkled a little brighter, and the nog was eggier, and a peace fell upon my heart.

Fast forward to Christmas night. The mercury in Alaska plunged, and the stars came out by the bazillions. The forecast called for a potential display of the aurora borealis – the northern lights. Or as Sarah Palin called them in Chapter 3, “the dancing hem of heaven.” Whatever.

A trip north was in order to escape the glow of Anchorage, so Mudflats photo editor Zach Roberts and I charged our camera batteries, grabbed a couple coffees to go, and headed for darker skies than Anchorage would allow. The northern lights were out, but low to the horizon, and a cloud bank had obscured some of the sky. You win some, you drive for an hour-and-a-half for nothing some.

On the way back to town, just before midnight, we drove through the City of Wasilla, and past the Palin Palace where they’d celebrated the real meaning of Christmas with the vaguely racist “Eskimo Bingo” gift grab.

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Sarah Palin posted this picture of “Eskimo Bingo” to Twitter.

We stopped for coffee again, and across the street an awkward, and sweetly amateurish display of lighted Christmas shapes were propped up next to the the Welcome to Wasilla sign. There was a bell, and a candy cane, and a moose. There was a sign that scrolled words – “Merry Christmas… Have a safe and happy holiday… Jesus is the reason for the season…”

And suddenly I thought that perhaps, just perhaps, we had been called to Wasilla to seek deeper answers – that the reason for our mission lay elsewhere. You may remember from Chapter 2 of Good Tidings and Great Joy, there was a large section about the nativity scene put up by the good people of Wasilla every year, right next to the lake.

It was time to pay a visit to Jesus and the rest of the O’Nazareth family.

The temperature was 14 degrees below zero, and felt colder. By the time we trudged across the squeaking, groaning snow pack from the parking lot to the manger, the tip of my nose was numb, my eyes were streaming, and my teeth actually hurt – an ice cream headache from the air.

zdmanger

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I was walking in the high-heeled footsteps of the ghost of Mayor Christmas Past. The journey to the manger site, as Palin described it, involved a change in footwear.

“I replaced my warm Bunny Boots for cool, high-heeled leather ones when I left City Hall.”

She changed out of these:

boots

Bunny boots.

… and into something a little more appropriate for trekking through the snow and presenting the holy family to the people of the city.

Sarah Palin Wearing Smokin' Hot Boots Does Power Lunch In Washington DC.

Sure enough, there was the manger, just as was foretold.

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She had described uncrating the nativity figures, including Mary:

“Her pale blue scarf covered her hair, and her face was frozen in perpetual admiration for her child, Jesus. Now, that’s not a bad way to be stuck, I thought.”

mary

Looking at the actual Mary, I wasn’t sure whether I’d call the expression “admiration,” and it looked to me like a very bad way to be stuck. Kind of like the person who’s wheeled into the ER, and things go bad, and their eyes roll up into their head.

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I’m not sure either (as a mother) that my expression would be one of “admiration” if my child was in this state:

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Jesus Got Run Over by a Reindeer

I might be placing a better-safe-than-sorry call to Bethlehem 911, if I weren’t in the middle of a seizure myself.

And as the wise men thousands of years ago, we stood in wonder – shock and awe, if you will.

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And I began to notice something else as I stood – sinuses freezing solid with every inhalation, fingertips screaming from the biting cold, in the dark dark Wasilla night.

It wasn’t just Mary. It wasn’t just baby Jesus. It was everyone.

manger3

Joseph

manger1

Shepherd

 

manger4

Wise man

The eyes! The eyes! Don’t look into them!

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Turn away!

eye

The sheep is the only one with life. He’s stealing the souls of the holy family, and turning them into zombies!

Run!

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You are the last one, Baby Jesus… Soon your soul will be mine, and then my dastardly barnyard plan will be complete. BAAAAAAAAAA-hahahaha!

The wind chill factor from hoofing it back to the car freeze-dried our cheeks. If I’d had my coffee with me, I would have poured it on my face. The engine cranked up and I stuck my fingers in the blower vents on the dashboard.

On the way out of Wasilla, we passed through a strobe light Christmas village where the pulsating lights coordinated with a local radio station playing Christmas carols. We drove through a candy cane forest, and past a larger than life-sized crucifix to the strains of Jingle Bell Rock. On the way out, we decided against taking a free candy cane from the empty drywall mud bucket on the mailbox.

freecandy

We had seen strange sights this night. We had many questions.

But we did come away with at least one answer to a question that’s been in the news quite a bit this holiday season. Jesus and his family were definitely totally white.

 

[All watermarked photos by Zach D. Roberts]

Comments

comments

Comments
48 Responses to “Palin’s Book & My Xmas Pilgrimage to Wasilla”
  1. sierraseven says:

    Folks, I was just watching the video of Sarah on Fox, delivering her New Year message (resolved: to eet moar meet!), filmed in front of a crackling fire … allegedly filmed in Wasilla, whence Sarah says they’re gonna “jump on the Ski-Doos” (who say “ski-doo” in Alaska?) and ride ‘em to the base of Mt McKinley (yes, she actually said that).

    But I digress. Go and watch the video – for my purpose, you can mute the sound, mercifully – and just watch that nice fire behind Sarah. Just keep watching it … maybe pick a spot on one of the logs and watch it … is it just me, or is the fire “looping”? Is that a video fire behind Sarah?

  2. Winski says:

    Mud…. I hope you got triple-time combat pay for this…

  3. Peg says:

    Next Christmas come on up to rural Fairbanks and spend Christmas with us. We can do all kinds of holiday things like drive the neighbor (one of Schaeffer Cox’s militia minions) to new levels of paranoia or get all drunked up and shoot playfully at the other neighbors across the road. It’s a BYOA (bring yer own ammo) affair though!

    • juneaudream says:

      Send moi a plane ticket, reserve a pair bunny-boots and I’m in!..oh..remember I’m old as dirt..so. I .’fire towards sound’..thatt-‘ell work..?

      • Peg says:

        Sounds great juneaudream! The crazy militia neighbor is easy to spot – he spends a lot of time mumbling about the government and how the helicopters flying overhead are dropping cylinders in the ground to listen in on us. I bet Schaeffer is missing this special friend!

  4. mag the mick says:

    Dear Jeanne. I am not a priest. Even with Pope Frank in place, I’m no closer to being one. But I have always wanted to say:

    “Ego te absolve”.

    You are forgiven, and the burden you have accepted gracefully, that of finishing the book, is hereby lifted from your shoulders.

    Go forth and read Palin no more, my child.

    • mike from iowa says:

      To my favorite Mag anywhere. Hope your Christmas shined and the New Year year brings you best wishes and more tramp el tigres from South of the border.(for aesthetics). Be glad to send you some arctic type air conditioning,its 58 degrees in my adobe as I type this. Perfect for hot dry Arizona heat. :) :) :)

    • Soldier for Hire says:

      well aren’t you a dumbaxx…EGO = Edging God Out…yup indeed whatzername did that ions ago…for sure!

  5. beth. says:

    “Her pale blue scarf covered her hair, and her face was frozen in perpetual admiration for her child, Jesus. Now, that’s not a bad way to be stuck, I thought.” — another in the loooooooooooooooooooong list of instances where Ms Palin’s view and/or recollections of situations, events, and actions are miles and miles and miles away from certifiable facts and plain-as-day reality. beth.

    -sorry, I just can’t get the images out of my head. Between them and “Bat Out of Hell” tumbling around in my ol’ brain, ’tis going to be a rough next few days. …and yet, I keep coming back to the ‘flats for more — gee, thanks, Pups. ;-) b.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Where you been,Missy? You are starting to worry me with long absences from here. I suppose you’re gonna try to convince me you have a life outside of the Mudflats? I ain’t buying it,unless you say it is true. You in control of your almost a mountain forest? Have a wunnerful Holiday season and a splendiferous New Year.

    • juneaudream says:

      Oh yeah..bat otta hell here too..sigh..as the morning rumbles up..from its accustomed eastern ridges…

  6. zyggy says:

    If that book helps to you create such a wonderfully funny story, I would like you to keep reading more books. You need to publish your work Jeanne in a book, ebook. I want the rest of the world to know how truly gifted you are.

  7. mike from iowa says:

    Baby Jeebers looks to be singing Meatloaf-I’m begging for the end of time,to hurry up and arrive. Cuz if I have to spend another minute near Sarah,I don’t think that I can rilly survive. I never break my promise or forget my vows,but god only knows what I can do right now. I’m praying for the end of time that’s all that I can do,do,do. I’m praying for the end of time so I can end my time with you. (Paradise by the Dashboard Lights)

  8. CorningNY says:

    Jeanne, I don’t think I am overstating when I say you have redeemed my..ahem..winter holiday. I am trying to survive my first Christmas away from my native upstate NY (as you see from my screen name!) in Long Beach, California…UGH! (Lights on palm trees?! Just…morally wrong.) But your post (and ALL your posts, really) have really lifted my spirits. THANK YOU so much! ;)

    • carol says:

      Not that they were strewn with lights, but the first Christmas probably had more palm trees than snow.
      Just finished a book by Kathleen (?) MacGowan, “the expected one”, on the premise that Jesus married Mary Magdelene and had children with her. She subsequently escaped to nowadays France and her children observed the directive to go forth and be fruitful. Raised (again) questions I’d had even before the Dan Brown book came out with a similar premise. But it’s a good read with the requisite twists and turns of a mystery story.

  9. beth. says:

    In all the years the city has been putting this rendition of the Holy Family on public display, has NO ONE mentioned that it’s flat-ass hideous beyond words? It is, imho, seriously uglyfied sad; I mean, seriously, seriously, really uglyfied sad. Ain’t nothing “serene” about it. Sad, though, it’s got a-plenty. Creepily sad.

    And those setting it up for display each year, or even citizens viewing it each year — Didn’t any one with even half an ounce of talent –or even none at all–, offer to paint, oh, I don’t know, eyes onto the figures? Or are Mary, Joe, et.al., doomed to look as if they’re perpetually stoned out of their collective gourds? Just creepy!

    Not to mention poor Baby Jesus. Wowzers! Yet, He may be the only accurately depicted one; eyes bugging out of his head in terror –abject terror, I say– in the sure knowledge of what not a few self-absorbed and self-promoting people, people who claim to follow and love him, are going to do to others, “in His name”. Oh, Baby Jesus — looks like he’s got the sweet bejeezers scared out of him…poor thing. How sad…on so many levels, just incredibly sad.

    Dollars to doughnuts, iffn you check each figurine of the crèche, you’ll find “Made in China” or “Made in Italy” discretely written/stamped somewhere on it. I’m betting on “Made in China”. beth.

    BTW: Anyone know what happened to the other two Kings? b.

    • CorningNY says:

      As a person of 100% Italian descent (my mother was born in Florence, my father’s parents emigrated from Sicily). I would like to think that true Italians would NEVER put out something so hideous as that scene. I would like to think that the people who gave birth to Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci would do better than that…

    • slipstream says:

      The other two kings will be right back. They just popped into the nearby Denny’s for a Grand Slam breakfast (breakfast served all day!) and to warm up bit.

  10. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Just a footnote on the creche….

    I HAVE heard that hysterical women say
    They are sick of the palette and fiddle-bow.
    Of poets that are always gay,
    For everybody knows or else should know
    That if nothing drastic is done
    Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out.
    Pitch like King Billy bomb-balls in
    Until the town lie beaten flat.

    All perform their tragic play,
    There struts Hamlet, there is Lear,
    That’s Ophelia, that Cordelia;
    Yet they, should the last scene be there,
    The great stage curtain about to drop,
    If worthy their prominent part in the play,
    Do not break up their lines to weep.
    They know that Hamlet and Lear are gay;
    Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
    All men have aimed at, found and lost;
    Black out; Heaven blazing into the head:
    Tragedy wrought to its uttermost.
    Though Hamlet rambles and Lear rages,
    And all the drop-scenes drop at once
    Upon a hundred thousand stages,
    It cannot grow by an inch or an ounce.

    On their own feet they came, or On shipboard,’
    Camel-back; horse-back, ass-back, mule-back,
    Old civilisations put to the sword.
    Then they and their wisdom went to rack:
    No handiwork of Callimachus,
    Who handled marble as if it were bronze,
    Made draperies that seemed to rise
    When sea-wind swept the corner, stands;
    His long lamp-chimney shaped like the stem
    Of a slender palm, stood but a day;
    All things fall and are built again,
    And those that build them again are gay.

    Two Chinamen, behind them a third,
    Are carved in lapis lazuli,
    Over them flies a long-legged bird,
    A symbol of longevity;
    The third, doubtless a serving-man,
    Carries a musical instmment.

    Every discoloration of the stone,
    Every accidental crack or dent,
    Seems a water-course or an avalanche,
    Or lofty slope where it still snows
    Though doubtless plum or cherry-branch
    Sweetens the little half-way house
    Those Chinamen climb towards, and I
    Delight to imagine them seated there;
    There, on the mountain and the sky,
    On all the tragic scene they stare.
    One asks for mournful melodies;
    Accomplished fingers begin to play.
    Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
    Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.

    -W.B. Yeats

  11. P.J. says:

    I think instead of finishing the book, you should post photos of the book burning and banning, once and for all, can’t we just burn her at the stake (if via book at least?).

    • carol says:

      At a birthday party where only gag gifts were requested, someone gave a copy of her first book. Yes, that was a fingers halfway down the throat gag. I can’t find it in myself to gift (gag) it on, friend suggested that it had BTUs if nothing else; I can’t burn any book, but that one has possibility.

  12. P.J. says:

    Ain’t nothin’ says Xmas with a C but strobe lights by heavens. It had ta a been the reel nativity. I is sure.

  13. Moose Pucky says:

    Two antlers up to the sheepie soul stealer and for the “something a little more appropriate for trekking through the snow and presenting the holy family to the people of the city.”

  14. akbatgirly says:

    I’m counting on you to finish reading this book so that I don’t have to. I specifically instructed my family NOT to buy that book for me for Christmas, not even as a joke. I received a signed copy of Going Rogue at Christmas a few years back, and was only able to slog through one chapter. It just uselessly takes up space on my bookshelf now, nobody plans to read it. Guess I could take it to Title Wave, but I’m pretty sure they’d reject it. Maybe I can sell it on ebay?

  15. boudicasmith says:

    Does your wonderfullness know no bounds? I want to be you when i grow up (I’m 62).

  16. Enid L. Dunn says:

    I am delighted with this article.
    Thank you for taking a hit for all of us. You are a gifted writer. I only hope that you do not give up on writing about this abyssal group of ignorant ass-hats.

    I am delighted with your writing in other arenas. Not all things Palin. The birds pictures are splendid.
    Thank the lord you have recognition by the HuffPo, etc.

    I was asked to write the foreword of Shay’s book and have followed the odyessey.

    Thank you for your talent.

  17. RipleyInCT says:

    *guffaw*

    And, also, too, I posted a photo on my FB of a partridge in a pear tree on Christmas and actually had this very conversation with at least 2 people about the 12 days of Christmas. Of course, it was all because I bothered to actually find out… mostly so I could post the photo of each day as they went by… then my ADD got the best of me and…. Hey LOOK! A shiny thing! *runs off*

  18. tallimat says:

    I saw that set up a few years ago. It has always seemed like a incubator with those lights, beaming mega WATS thru baby Jesus skull.
    pooooooor….

  19. mike from iowa says:

    “Suddenly the lights on the tree twinkled a little brighter”-Could have been the whitecoats at the asylum turning the generator up to full power for the shock treatment you’ll need if you don’t stop trying to hurt yourself,Missy. Reading this drivel and braving sub-zero temps is insane,but drinking coffee on top is beyond the pale.

  20. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    No one should blame you for throwing in the towel after 3 chapters, to have made it that far might be likened to trying to ice skate to the south pole, alone, in winter. After the first three miles you might think – waitaminute!
    why am I doing this? As to the technical extension of time you might want to consider that even so those are
    a whole lot of priceless seconds you will never recover – if the screed is available as an e-book it might be just as satisfying and even more insightful to just generate a word-cloud and be done with it. (As an aside I don’t much care for word clouds per se unless they are normalized and quanified into percentages.) Your interpretations are amusing and informative of course but in the context of applying your own acumen to a word salad that has been left too long in the blender set on ‘puree’ perhaps a random sampling would be a better approach than trying to make sense of the mess. Just suggestions though I admit anyone would have to be a little concerned about tackling such an assignment, a little like rendering palliative care to Ebola patients with no idea what the proper safety procedures are. Risky to put it mildly.

    Wasilla sounds like such a charming village. Do they celebrate other holidays there like the Spanish Inquisition? Krystal nacht?

    And the artistry of that creche! Michelangelo must be GREEN with envy! (Well perhaps not envy something more commonly associated with gastro-intestinal aliments.) My goodness, it gives a whole new meaning to the word kitsch. Braving temps of 14 below (-25,6 here) to view and document that is worthy of either a citation for valor or a well-intentioned psych evaluation.

    The aurora on the other hand is certainly worth the pursuit. I have only seen it once and that in an unlikely place at an unlikely time but it was still an exceptional experience and one that I have not forgotten in over 40 years. Just another reminder of what a vital and direct role our star provides us. So I guess I would conclude that is more sensical to pursue auroras that to try to winkle something rational out of the sterile maunderings of Palin and her ghost /goule writers. But hey, who am I to comment on your efforts? I know
    paleontologists who get their jollies carefully dissecting coproliths for the insights they provide into the diets of extinct thunder lizards. A status for she who will not be named devoutely to be wished.

    Not farewell, but fair forward, traveller. Now I have to go and start making a repast for some friends. A pity it isn’t possible to email a few k BTUs in your direction, we have them in abundance…

    Coincidentally, because I have a whiteish grey beard and head all the local children uniformly call me ‘Papa Noel’. I find it amusing Time to get back on task…

    Best wishes to all mudflatters everywhere and their matriarch.

    BTW – I love to cook good meals for others. Nothing is sweeter than providing for a basic need.

  21. Beaglemom says:

    I think the baby in the manger just wants his mom to look down at him and cover him up and maybe feed him. He looks a bit frantic. He’s cold and hungry and probably wondering how they ended up in Wasilla Alaska, of all places, when they started out in Bethlehem!

    Stay warm, Alaskans. We’re getting a dose of your frigid air here in northwest Lower Michigan starting tomorrow evening. From a balmy 45 degrees F here today and sunny (first day above freezing in about a month) to barely above zero F by Wednesday. And winter has just begun.

    It’s a good thing that we got lots of books for Christmas presents this year. We’re planning on just hunkering down and reading, in between trips outside to clear the driveway and the deck of snow.

  22. Sally in MI says:

    I think Sarah relates to that plastic Mary because she too, has wonky eyes. Think someone could find some paint for those figures before next holiday season?

  23. daMamma says:

    Well that story was pretty surreal. The photos more so. *shudders*

    In all honesty, I do not think I could manage to read her book. So I’ve been living the adventure through your blogging. Gracious you are brave.

  24. bubbles says:

    well my goodness. that certainly is quite something. what that ‘something’ is, is uncertain. for once I am speechless. I am on my way for a celebratory Tea in honor of my daughter at the Biltmore in Santa Barbara i think I will just order a double gin and tonic and to hell with the tea. Jeebus!…my head hurts.
    hugs and much love to you Jeanne and hope for a joyous season to all you Mudpuppies. love Bubbles

  25. Zyxomma says:

    I’m SO glad you recognized that you don’t have to finish till Three Kings Day, or Epiphany, or the 12th Day of Christmas, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it. That’s one scary creche!!

    • COalmostNative says:

      … Or Orthodox Christmas Day (Jan 7), or Chinese New Year (Jan 31)… If you reach National Freedom Day (Febr 1) and you still are slogging through the gobbledygook- use the #%!?*$& mess to start a cheery fire, and be done with it.

  26. juneaudream says:

    Well..THAT was a..most worthy trek..with much to commend it. Given the direction..of that most ‘blog-holy’ pilgrimage..it will not shock you to discover..that what the 3 wise men..brought on the 12th day..was moi! Yep..I am..the baby..born..and have helped to heal those..who needed healing, and to hiding burrs..under saddle blankets..of those who needed a lil..reality check. 76..this coming 6th..and still..yanking the World around..to suit..moi specs! ..howsomeever folks, pls. put YOUR shoulders to..The Wheel..we needs all the help we can get..to..improve..the world…..

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