“S huly, where are we going again?”

Shuly shrugged. “Not sure. Somewhere out in Nowheresville.”

“Nowheresville? Is that a real name?”

“No, silly,” Shuly laughed. “But I’m convinced that Madame Chamberlaine also doesn’t know where it is.”

“So tell me why we’re going.”

Shuly leaned close and whispered, “Some crazy story about an old lady and a cat that got into huge trouble.”


“Vraiment, Shuly,” Madame said as she walked up right behind us. “Tes oreilles sont grandes!”

“What’s the story, Madame?” I asked.

“Well, Shuly is halfway right,” Madame Chamberlaine said with a smile. “There is an old lady who is in trouble, but she doesn’t own a cat. Her name is Mrs. Katz.”

Shuly and I giggled.

“She lives all alone up in the mountains and she is in trouble because she’s out of food.”

“Oh,” I said. “So we’re going to bring her food?”

“Oui, mes petites. We’re leaving maintenant. S’il vous plaît, can you help me with these boxes?”

We helped Madame schlep the boxes filled with yummy food out to the car. We buckled up and Madame drove and drove and drove. I yawned. This trip was long and boring. I glanced at Shuly. She was snoring, her cheek pressed against the window. Soon, I was snoozing too. When I woke up, we were still on the road. However, now the road was very narrow, very bumpy, and very deserted. We were the only car in sight.

I sat up.

“Madame Chamberlaine, where in the world are we?”

“You’ll see soon enough.”

“Do you know where we’re going?”

Madame gave a tinkling laugh and the tassels of her pink tichel danced. “Chérie, I’m following my GPS. Seems that it knows where to take us.”

Ten minutes later, Madame stopped the car. In front of us was a vast field, yellow and dry. We each took a box of food and followed a tiny beaten path through the crackling, prickly growth. Hot and sweaty under the baking sun, we finally reached a little wooden hut. Madame rapped on the flimsy door and what do you know? The whole door collapsed!

“Ooh la la!” Madame exclaimed.

“Vat’s going on dere?” a gritty voice said.

“Bonjour, Mrs. Katz!” Madame said. “We came to bring you some food.”

“Tenk you, tenk you!” The old woman shuffled toward us, leaning on a wooden cane. “Oy a broch!” she said when she saw the broken door. “My door broke again!” She lifted her cane and waved it at the door. “Dat door! Always making trouble. How will I sleep tonight with no door?”

“Viens, mes filles,” Madame said. “Let’s put the boxes away, then we will fix the door. Okay?”

We nodded.

When the food was packed on the right shelves, Madame found an old toolbox in a shed next to the hut. She fixed the door and tightened its hinges.

Mrs. Katz hugged her. “Do you have time to fix some more broken tings?” she asked Madame.

Madame Chamberlaine laughed and said, “Avec plaisir!”

And so the afternoon wore on. As soon as Madame finished fixing one item, Mrs. Katz would hug her and ask her mend one more. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 667)