Sunday, June 7, 2009
I'm glad you've chosen to check in once again to hear more about Governor Sarah Palin's trip to New York. If you haven't read the 2 posts prior to this one, please start with those first. I told you a couple days ago that after being in Auburn for a couple days, I would also go to Purchase, NY to participate in the Walk for Autism. That's exactly what Kristina and I did. We left Auburn on Saturday to drive down to my house--a 3 1/2 hour ride. After staying in Hudson overnight, we traveled to Purchase this morning. The drive to Purchase was much shorter than the drive to Auburn, and Kristina and I had a good time laughing about so many inside jokes from the weekend. I will have to blog about the behind the scenes things that she and I encountered, but I'll save that for another time. She is now floating back to Buffalo, and I am here reflecting on what in the world transpired over the weekend. I say she's floating because it'll be a while before her feet touch the ground, and I say I'm wondering what transpired because I don't know if I'll ever wrap my brain around it all.
I was pleased to see so many people at the Walk for Autism. Money had been raised and some participants had teamed up for this worthy cause. Many had signs and team names and shirts. Everyone was amped up about it all.
Sarah Palin was to be in attendance, along with her husband, Todd; her daughter, Willow; her sister, Heather; and Heather's son, Karcher. (I just love that name). Karcher is autistic, so it was a personal event for the family. Of course, Sarah's assistant, Meg Stapleton, was also in attendance.
When Sarah was announced, the crowd went wild. It got a bit crazy, and I have to admit I was relieved to see that. I was somewhat nervous about her being in the New York City area. I wasn't quite sure how she would be received, but she was certainly given a reception befitting a queen. Almost immediately, people began to yell out, "We love you, Sarah!" and other cries of adoration. Sarah reached out to people, signed autographs, and was just her normal gracious self. That could not have been easy because it was blazing hot out there, and New Yorkers are pushy. They were closing in on her, but she never stopped smiling or taking pictures with people. It was a chore to keep the crowd back; it really was chaotic. But Sarah made each person she talked with feel special.
Meg was busy taking good care of Sarah and getting her through the crowd. At one point I caught her attention and said hello. I must admit I was both pleased and surprised when she addressed me by name. As I walked, I talked a little to Heather and Willow. I asked each of them how they "handle all this." Heather's face seemed to say, "Oh my goodness!" But all she said was, "I don't handle it. This is Sarah. I just let her do her thing, and she's just so kind." So true. I'm not sure how many people could handle all that. It reminded me of my mission trip to Africa when I was handing out candy to some of the kids in the village. As they surrounded me, the rest of the mission team kept walking, and the kids completely closed in on me. My African friend had to rescue me because all I could think was, "They're gonna kill me and take my candy! Help!" But if Sarah was nervous, she certainly didn't show it, and Meg would never leave Sarah behind.
After walking for a bit--or trying--Sarah and her group veered in the other direction. No doubt a good decision. It would have taken hours to walk the two miles if she continued. It was like bumper to bumper traffic in New York City! As she headed away, I saw Todd walking and called his name. A picture of graciousness himself, he turned, recognized me, and walked over. We were going to shake his hand, but he hugged Kristina and me instead and smiled warmly. He mentioned my being a relative of Harriet Tubman, which surprised me. Having no idea how he knew, I sked him. He said he got the information from the website--Motivation: Truth, I assume, because I did mention it in my post a couple days ago. I also gave Sarah my blog business card on Friday and told her I write about her a lot and have written about how Trig and she have transformed my classroom. She said she would check it out. Clearly, she's a woman of her word--and her husband, too, must have enjoyed a trip here to Motivation: Truth. Very, very cool.
Personal note to the Palins: I hope you get to visit my blog often and that you'll get to read everything in the archives. But if time is limited--as I know it is--please read these incredibly special ones: Sarah and Little Trig Palin Come to My Classroom, Part I: Sarah Palin Teaches my Classes Here in Upstate New York, Part II: Sarah Palin Teaches my Classes in Upstate New York. Those are just some of the ones that will bless you, the ones I know will inspire you and illustrate how you are being used to touch and shape the minds of people you've never even laid eyes on. As you read, I know you will be amazed at how God has enabled you and your family to reveal His character to 7th graders, even when they're not fully aware of the depth of what is transpiring.
Back to the Walk: After taking a picture with Todd, I asked him to let Sarah know we had been there. By then, someone else had grabbed him to take pictures as he was trying to make his way back after being left by the rest of the group--kind of like me in Africa!
The Palins were scheduled to go to a Yankees game next, and then to a gala located less than an hour from where I grew up and where my aunt and uncle still live in Long Island. There, Sarah is being honored by The Independent Group Home Living Foundation, a group that advocates for people with special needs.
Kristina and I continued on the walk, and when it ended we got in the car, got lost for a bit, and then returned to Hudson. A couple hours later, Kristina was at my house doing some blogging of her own, and then shortly thereafter, she was on the road back to Buffalo. It's about a five hour ride (or float, I should say!), and she just called to say she arrived safely, already telling her parents all about her experience. I tried to tell my aunt about my experience, but she wasn't quite as interested. It's can be lonely being a Black Republican! LOL!
Let me find a way to bring all this to a head. My heart is completely overwhelmed. My brain is mush. I simply have not yet been able to digest the last couple days. It has been an honor to have the Governor of Alaska here in New York. I'm telling you also that judging from the way she was treated by Purchase, NY, and especially the way she treated them, I know she can change things in New York. New York State is blue to the core, but I'm telling you, if anyone can turn it red, it's Sarah. She has the message, the drive, the intelligence, and the charisma--in its truest sense even--to capture the attention of the majority of New York. If any conservative can do it, it's Sarah. She has what it takes.
Kristina and I were doing our thing for the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee, and it was wonderful for us to travel a bit within the state keeping up with the person our Committee wants to run for the presidential nomination. I have been honored to meet Sarah, to listen to her speak, and to be able to report back to the people who absolutely adore her. I have posted my writings on Team Sarah, and SarahNET as well, and everyone is completely fired up! This is what I expected. My desire, too, is to reach those who are not yet fired up for Sarah. I had a conversation with one such lady in Auburn. I specifically approached her because she was a member of a demographic seriously lacking in the Republican Party. Guess...I wanted to find out where she stood, and when I did, I then wanted to pick her brain a bit. She was waiting around for quite some time for the parade and Sarah. We spoke briefly, and I learned that she was not a Sarah supporter, but she said she was there because the day was historical. She would not tell me why she did not support Governor Palin; she just said it was "philosophical." She was polite enough, though, and wished me luck in my endeavors. I want to do more of that kind of thing. How can you figure out what's going on inside people--voters--if you don't talk to them, if you're afraid to step out? Now, she didn't give me anything to work with, but that's okay. Someone else will, which will give me an opportunity to communicate our message. I am convinced Republican principles are healthy. It drives me nuts to hear so-called experts say we need to water down the message. No! The message doesn't need to be changed. It just needs to be articulated better and taken to people who have been deceived into believing that the message isn't "for" them. Sarah can do that--and those of us who support her can help.
As I was saying, I have not yet been able to digest this past weekend. If I told you the things that have happened leading up to this point, you'd be amazed. If I told you about how God has moved so mightily in the circumstances surrounding my trip to Alaska, you'd stare me down. If I told you how I am seeing prophetic Words come to pass in this whole thing, you'd be as dazed as I am. I just shake my head at the utter audacity and specificity of God, but as blown away as I am now, I just know in my "knower" that I will be even more blown away before it's over.
Okay, here are some pictures of Governor Palin & Company in Purchase, NY for the Walk for Autism. Enjoy...