She’s over 40 years old, with big brown eyes, a light pink dress and arms and legs that only turn at the shoulder and hip. He’s a new addition down on the farm, standing 5 feet tall with a painted-on beard, a rounded belly and wire-rimmed spectacles.
What do they have in common? Both are quite successful at creeping out the Buntjer kids.
I recently hosted the 11-year-old niece and nephew (cousins born two months apart) for an overnight stay at my house. Both, however, refused to go upstairs or downstairs alone. My house is not scary, and having both of them scared of their imagination was, at first, a little irritating.
It wasn’t until I accompanied them downstairs that I learned the true source of their fear. It’s my doll — a childhood toy given to me by my parents, and given to me again once I was finally settled in a home of my own.
The doll was in the basement, a room the kids seem to think is haunted by her presence. She’s not an ugly doll. In fact, she still has all of her hair — even the retractable ponytail, which utterly creeps out Niece Katie. Nephew Reece does nothing more than shudder at her appearance.
Once I learned the source of their fear, I did what any prankster-loving aunt would do — I brought the doll up from the basement. (Actually, when Reece wasn’t looking, I plopped Kathy on the steps leading upstairs — behind a curtain.)
I let a couple of hours pass — long enough for Reece to forget about the doll, and then suggested the kids go upstairs to retrieve pillows for their makeshift beds. I winked at Katie, whispering to let Reece lead the way. (He’d already objected to going alone.)
Reece pushed aside the curtain, started up the stairs and nearly came nose to nose with the doll.
Uff da. I’ve never seen a kid scramble so quickly to the couch to bury his head under a pillow. It still makes me laugh until I cry.
I think I should put Kathy in my will — a gift for Nephew Reece someday. Oh, wouldn’t I just love to see the look on his face!
As for the life-sized Santa, Mom bought him unassembled and still in his original box for the bargain price of a dollar at a recent auction. We brought him to the farm and set him up in the living room. At the sense of motion, he starts singing Christmas carols and swaying his hips — and he even comes with a karaoke microphone!
When one of the great-grandkids visited, she kept her distance — never getting within a four-foot perimeter of the jolly fellow.
Santa was eventually carried downstairs, where Mom found a spot in the rec room — not to display there, but simply to store him out of the way.
A certain older grandchild, however, now contends Santa Claus was put in his exact spot by Grandma to scare the bejeezus out of guests. Let me just say, the kid’s first encounter with the big guy in the cell-phone illuminated darkness was a bit rough. It seems the grandkid fell over backwards up the steps in a fit of panic.
Oh, I can hardly wait for Christmas!