"There is an old photo of young Sarah as a mere toddler, standing in a blue jumper in Skagway yard dangling two shrimp from her tiny hands. Her clothes are soaked, and her pearl skin is filthy, her brown hair tousled. 'That was Sarah for you, [neighbor] Moore said, 'She wasn't your typical little girly-girl.'" (Lorenzo Benet, Trail Blazer: An Intimate Biography of Sarah Palin) I can't recommend the book highly enough.
The Heath neighbor who tells that story was one of 11 children. His family engaged daily in something that could verge on a desperate struggle for survival. The father and mother had to do everything necessary to provide food and shelter for their children.
What if a family didn't hunt and fish? Then, it would not get nearly enough protein. As Sarah's neighbor puts it, "The wild game and fish -- that's food and not just a hobby." In short, it wasn't recreational hunting. It was sustenance hunting, as it still is in much of Alaska.
The way Sarah grew up -- and in fact, the lifestyle she still pursues -- is one that's incomprehensible to the over-socialized, over-suburbanized. over-secularized elites that dominate the media (Katie Couric? Rachel Maddow?) and entertainment worlds (Ashley Judd? David Letterman?). People in those cultures are detached from the basic realities of life in a way that Sarah and her family never have been.