Back in the early 60's, students at Turnagain Elementary School would start the school day with a flag raising ceremony during which the assembled multitude would raise their shrill little voices in a rousing chorus of the Alaska Flag Song. Then we'd skin a moose and turn the meat over to the lunch ladies to make into stew for our afternoon meal. Often in winter, we'd watch Dr. Bill Mills' classic film about the dangers of frostbite. This included graphic footage of how to deal with the resulting "blebs", which resemble overgrown red grapes. Invariably at least one kid lost his moose stew. Sometimes more hapless tykes would join in, for the second choral performance of the day.
I never got frostbite, and I never forgot the Alaska Flag song. But this ain't the Alaska of the sixties, and the song was desperately in need of an update, given the Alaska we live in now. Reluctantly, I took on the job, adding today's panhandling politicians to the gold panners of yore. Who needs a frostbite flick? Now you can get nauseated singing our state song!
Note: This originally appeared in the Anchorage Daily News, where it prompted complaints to the publisher. That's keeping your eye on the sleazeball folks!