A Christmas Dummy

by Mark on December 6, 2010

Mortimer Snerd & Jerry Mahoney

Many of us received a very special holiday gift as a child. It is the one we wanted the most or a surprise dream gift. I am the fortunate receiver of a wonderful gift. In fact it actually became two of my favorite Christmas memories.

The torn page from the Sears catalog was hidden in my baseball glove. I felt a little guilty ripping it out, but the Christmas catalog was normally destroyed by December. I unfolded the page and peered at the black and white image of my dream gift, a Jerry Mahoney Ventriloquist Dummy. On the book shelf there were two overdue library books about throwing your voice or ventriloquist jokes. I knew Santa was not going to disappoint.

My siblings and I screamed down the stairs on Christmas morning. Front and center, beneath the tree, was a red-headed wooden wonder with a huge grin. My best Christmas gift of all time became an alter ego. We performed at my elementary school, in the neighborhood, and before friends and relatives. The routine always began, “My name is Mark Weber and this is my little pal, Jerry Mahoney.” Jerry shot back, “He always says that so you won’t think he’s the dummy.”

People watch ventriloquists like Nascar races: some for the entertainment and some to see a car wreck. Consonants, like ‘F, P, M, and P, are impossible to pronounce without moving lips. You learn the eyes are on the dummy, not you. A shake of his head or roll of his eyes is a distraction helps Jerry say ‘Mississippi’ without losing the magic.

After a few years other distractions, like sports, Popsicle sales, and girls, captured my attention. A worn Jerry Mahoney with tattered clothes and a missing shoe remained in his suitcase. He was forgotten other than my Mom’s snapshots of the two of us in suits at a performance.

Some forty years later at a time when nostalgia overtakes us about Christmas memories and related joys, I found a long lost friend on a leather chair near the Christmas tree. My best friend, Sandi, and Kathy resurrected Jerry Mahoney, with the help of a toy repairer and new wardrobe. Wow! Holding him in my lap brought the same magic and wonder of that earlier Christmas morning.

A couple years later, Jerry’s pal – Mortimer Snerd, was adopted. The two of them share a special place atop family room bookcase playing baseball; holding a basketball; or exchanging presents.

Life may include some regrets. There are baseball collections that were tossed with Mickey Mantle rookie cards. There are special Christmas surprises that only survive in our memories or in old photos. Like all my life, I am a lucky guy. Every day I can look up and smile at my special Christmas dream. He smiles back.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

JL December 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Good one Mark…..reminded me of my soldiers set that Jim & I along with the McCurdy’s and Hode played with daily!!

World War 2 was recreated many afternoons on Greenhouse Ave!!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: