My mother was a lovely woman—with a sick sense of humor. Most of the time my mother was a person who would lend a hand to a neighbor in need; she was always ready with words of comfort when times turned challenging; she had a great sense of humor and a story for every occasion. However; when my then-12-year-old daughter, Katie discovered an old clown doll in my mother’s condo, she freaked out.
Katie doesn’t like clowns. She considers them “Creepy” and quickly runs away when she meets a real-life clown and averts her eyes when one appears on the television. Once my mother realized that this little clown doll agitated Katie, the more sinister side of her sense of humor emerged and “Creepo the Clown” became part of our lives.
Mom started the game with Creepo by simply setting him out where Katie would notice him, waiting until Katie left for the day and then moving him a few inches from his previous location. She repeated this until Katie realized that he was “moving” around the house over the course of time. Within a few weeks, Creepo made his way from the extra bedroom at mom’s house to the dining room, to the living room and eventually to the back door, where he made his escape to the outside world.
Almost six months ago, shortly after Creepo’s escape, my mother died (wow… has it been six months?) leaving Creepo missing in action. A few weeks after my mother died we moved to our new home. It was only days after the move that Katie realized that Creepo’s previous escape to the outside world was really just the prelude to his new, more active and more exciting life, in our new home.
Creepo has sprung out from behind shower curtains, has fallen gleefully from the linen closet, has lurked between the couch cushions, and has been eerily hanged from the cord of a blow dryer. Katie and I take turns hiding him for the other to find. The original startle of finding Creepo in the most unlikely of places has given way to groans of “Hi Creepo….” each time he emerges from his lair with his trademark, unchanging, creepy grin.
Yesterday, my wife, Jenny, took Creepo and his antics to the next level. When Katie and I got home from running an errand our one-year-old son, Jake (aka Goobie) was squealing wildly, running around the house behind one of his walk-behind toys, with Creepo riding proudly on the front of the toy. When “The Goobie-Creepo Express” rounded the corner into the kitchen to greet Katie, the Creepo game was officially taken to a new level.
Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my mom and think about her. I often wonder how much she and my Dad would enjoy Goobie and how they would be proud of Katie, and our little family. But there is no doubt that my mother is smiling down upon the next generation of Wingler children bridging the gap left by grandparents lost while ghoulishly scaring the crap out of each other with this little creepy clown. Well played-Creepo, well-played.