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Madame Chamberlaine: In the Air!

Tzipie Wolner

To the astonishment of every single person sitting in traffic (including us!), the car lifted clean off the street! Up like a helicopter we went and — whoosh! — flew right over all the other cars

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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Photo: Shutterstock

I looked at my watch. Shuli looked at her watch. When Madame Chamberlaine looked at her watch, I got really, really nervous.

“What will be, Madame Chamberlaine?”

Madame pulled the ivory curtains back and looked out the large window.

“They should be here already.”

The Shabbos table was set. The soup and cholent were on the blech. We were all dressed in our Shabbos clothes and yet, we were all worried.

You see, my parents went to visit an old couple who lived about an hour away. They left in the morning. They were sure they’d be home by noon. But it was 40 minutes to Shabbos and still they weren’t back.

“Let’s call them again,” I said.

“Vraiment!” Madame said. “You know they are stuck in traffic.”

I called anyway.

My mother sounded terribly worried. “Nothing is moving. In a few minutes, we’ll have to park the car on the shoulder of the road and start walking home.”

I told Madame what my mother said.

She shook her head.

“Did your mère tell you exactly where she was?”

“My mare? I don’t have a horse!”

Madame laughed.

“Non, chérie, mère means mother in French.”

“Oh! And father is fère?”

“Oh, no! Father is père. Brother is frère!”

“Then sister must be sère!”

“Wrong again,” Madame laughed. “Sister is soeur.”

“Sir?” (That is almost how sister is pronounced.) I laughed. “I like that. Yes, sister, sir!”

Madame looked at her watch again.

“We have no choice. We have to pick them up,” she said.

“Madame, don’t you understand? There was a huge accident! No car can pass either way.”

She clucked her tongue.

“Well, regular cars cannot pass, but the automobile of my friend, Corrine, can pass.”

“Madame, that’s not possible!”

“You can come and see for yourself. Let me see if Corrine is available.”

Madame dialed and babbled in French.

“Fantastique! Get your coats on and we’re getting your mère and your père!”

A minute later, there was an earth-splitting sound of a million birds tweeting at once.

Madame grabbed our hands.

“On y va!”

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