Morgan and I drove home from Texas with this doll in the back seat.
She insisted on buckling the doll in.
When Morgan was a baby, my mother–who adored Morgan, her one and only granddaughter among many grandsons–had this doll commissioned. A photograph of Morgan was used to sculpt the doll’s porcelain face, and the doll is wearing one of Morgan’s baby dresses, plus her socks and shoes, her hair ribbon. Everything. It’s the Morgan doll.
When my mother told me about this plan, I said, oh…. That’s nice! Honestly, I thought it was a strange idea. But then it reminded me of the life-size painting of my dead brother (who died on the tractor, see how everything comes back to the tractor?!). Now we have a life-size baby Morgan. I know, I know, actually it was a very sweet thing for my mother to want to do and expressive of her love for Morgan. But. I never did think the doll’s face looked like Morgan, and it also reminded me of, like, stuffing a dead pet. Okay, it wasn’t REALLY a stuffed Morgan. But see? So many ways this weirded me out.
But I never said anything about it. Just tried to not really look at the doll whenever I was at my mother’s house.
Three years ago, my mother passed away. This summer, my dad told Morgan it was time for her to take the doll. Morgan and I have never really discussed the doll, and when she put the doll in the car and buckled her in, I thought, great, I’m glad Morgan gets to take the doll home.
You know, for her.
Then Morgan told me that she didn’t really like the doll, that it creeped her out. It was like a mini-Morgan! And she didn’t want it! It was the center of a lot of arguing and hysterical laughing on the way home from Texas. WHO had to take the doll? Morgan insisted I should have it. I insisted she should have it. The doll reminded me of the clown that was left in the field on my farm after the family of Betty Quick came to scatter her ashes by the gas well that she drilled. I imagined her family sitting around her house with what must have been Betty’s beloved clown music box. “You take the clown.” “No, YOU take the clown.” “No, YOU TAKE IT!” Nobody wanted the creepy clown, but Betty loved it so. Then they came up with the idea of leaving the clown on my farm as a tribute to Betty. Worked for them, but that creepy clown music box is still in my pasture.
That’s the way it is with the doll. My mother loved the doll. We loved my mother. But neither of us want the doll! Yet we have to keep the doll because my mother loved it and we loved my mother. And we can’t put it out in the field.
We got home and the doll ended up on the dining room table with this sign.
The doll gets around. She’s been in Morgan’s closet. My closet. Behind the shower curtain in the bathroom. At the foot of my bed. Under Morgan’s covers. And so on. The doll moves as we both try to give the doll to each other.
At least the doll has been a source of entertainment.
And you know, I think my mother would laugh.
And most likely, I’ll die before Morgan since I’m older, so I’m pretty sure I’m gonna win. Eventually. I’m not sure where the doll is right now. PROBABLY RIGHT BEHIND ME.