Alaska Short Story: Star Encounters
I was riding in the backseat of my friend’s rusty old Ford Bronco on our way to the Alaska State Fair. We made a stop in Wasilla, Alaska, because one of the car’s occupants needed to run an errand at the shopping center. We had just driven through Hatcher Pass, a gorgeous drive that took us from Willow to Wasilla through the Talkeetna Mountains and almost to an elevation of 4,000 feet (a much prettier drive than down the Parks Highway, trust me).
As we collected our friend after he had completed whatever it was he needed to do, we drove through the parking lot of the strip mall and past the front entrance at Target. I stared out of the dusty window toward the store, not really paying attention to anything in particular. I noticed a fairly large crowd of people in front of the store. A woman with a few children was pushing a cart out the front door, and I looked at her and thought she must be the most glamorous woman in Wasilla. As I was about to comment to my friends the large amount of makeup on this particular woman, more than is common for women in southern Alaska, I realized that I was looking at none other than Sarah Palin.
We almost got into a couple of fender-benders trying to park and run over to her like crazed fans, like we saw quite a few other people doing. I debated jumping out and asking her for a photo, but I decided that I couldn’t miss that opportunity. What other celebrity was I going to see who was going to embody Alaska more than Sarah Palin, aside from a grizzly bear? They might be one and the same, as a guest pointed out to me when I told this story at work later on in the week. Regardless of the real or perceived threat, I played fangirl and asked Ms. Palin for a photo. I told her I was a big fan and she graciously agreed. Although I’m not actually a Sarah Palin fan (except for the seeing Russia from her house comment…who’s not a fan of that hilariousness?), we posed for a photo and all I can say about her is that she was incredibly nice and patient, and looked damn good in a camo fleece.