Stephen King is big news for his “Under the Dome” series, loosely set in Bridgton, but he can’t compete with Henry, who really is the most popular local resident. He is the whimsical mannequin, living on our front lawn, who has been entertaining his summer fans for 16 years.

Henry began life as a tree growing on our back field. By the time my husband finished cutting, carving and creating, Henry had developed a personality. After his first stint of sitting on the front porch with his hand in a wave, folks drove by and waved back. It was the signal for all-out deception of the public.

This week he is dressed as a doctor advertising “TATTOO REMOVAL $10.00” and is holding a handsaw. Since his debut, Henry has been seen weeding flowerbeds, playing darts, getting ready for a bike ride, lying under the front end of our truck doing a repair job, catching raccoons, riding motorcycles, checking out a neighbor’s fire truck, even fishing from a ladder into a tub of water.

Sometimes Mother Nature moves in and adds chutzpah to Henry’s antics. At the time, he was on a ladder against a tree, saw in hand to prune a limb when a blast of wind blew him off the ladder.

The impact made him lose not only his glasses but also his pipe (he was a smoker then) and cap. Judging from the angle of his leg, his femur didn’t look good either, but the most macabre sight was Henry’s left hand still grasping the ladder rung. We hurried to pick him up before someone called 911.

Several times neighbors have requested to have Henry do something in their yards. He is very amicable and has willingly done it. After a few times of visiting with neighbors and doing silly things, a serious Henry watcher became worried that the entire neighborhood was becoming infested with Henrys.

He has his own stories. A stretch limo pulled in front of our house and stayed there for about five minutes. No one got out. The windows were tinted and we couldn’t see in, but Henry said it was Elvis.

Henry has had some lady friends join him over the years. Aunt Tilly from Nova Scotia came for a visit, but she didn’t do well in inclement weather and after a rainstorm contracted a severe case of face mildew. Her delicate health kept her on the porch for the rest of her visit. He now has a lovely lady, Marilyn Merlot, who stands the weather quite well but likes to be on the porch.

At one point my husband was running out of ideas, but our super neighbors came through with wonderful suggestions as well as great toys for Henry.

A contest for the best idea was run, but they were all so good we had to have a drawing. The winner received the best gift ever — an acorn packed in sawdust in a plastic bag labeled, “HENRY EMBRYO — just add water.”

Everyone loves Henry, who is our goodwill ambassador spreading whimsy, smiles and outright laughter.

Barbara Jenni is a resident of Bridgton.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.