While I feel like I grew up in a "small town," I have to admit the Wasilla really doesn't feel "small" to me anymore. The school district actually makes it feel smaller to me because so many people know my mother (and I am constantly amazed at how people can just look at me and see her...I get we look alike (doesn't bug me..my mother still looks very young, that bodes well for me!), but I don't think we are clones which it seems a lot of people believe). I also realized that we knew a lot of people in the area and we were related to absurd amount of them as well (I had cousins in my graduating class), but that's true any place you live awhile - you see people you know.
Yet what happened with the green bag made me think that Wasilla really is still a "small" town. So before Christmas, Ray took the kids to Adam's hockey game and was meeting my parents there (I stayed home to do work). They finished up the game and because they were going to the VFW next to see Santa, they went to Wendy's for lunch. My mother and I usually each have a bag going for the other one and so she had a bag (the "green bag" henceforth) for Ray to take. In it were my Christmas card labels (my father had printed them for me), two wrapped presents that Ray, in an effort to hide them from me, had sent to my parents' address (as a note, what he should have done was ordered it through their account as well as Amazon does NOT make it easy to not see things...which I told him upfront, but anyway), and some cookies cutters. My father was charged with sticking these in our car in the parking lot. He, not paying attention, put it into the wrong car. No one realized this until much later in the day. We called Wendy's and they didn't know anything. Later it turned out someone had tried to return the bag and Wendy's refused to take it. So we figured this was a lost cause and really it wasn't anything irreplaceable. I mean, how would anyone know where this random bag came from? Well, turns out my address list....the person whose car it was stuck in was very confused by this, as we all would be. But looking at the address list, noticed there were a lot of Cottles...and she knew a Cottle (my cousin Kelsey). So she contacted my cousin, who at first didn't know what this was about, but at a family Christmas event heard the story of how my father lost the bag and put it together. She had a number and my mother called the woman and we ended up getting the bag back. Turns out the woman works at Mat-Su college as an adjunct like I do and lives about 2 miles from me. Ray had already repurchased the presents, so we'll donate these (they are games), but it is a pretty cool story.