Recap: Yehudis has supper alone with Miss Gross, because her father had to go to help his mother. She finds out that Miss Gross was also adopted. In the meantime, there are scary noises outside; when she opens the door, she sees a man leaving. Miss Gross says he was the man who wanted the journal. Miss Gross stays for Shabbos because Yehudis is afraid to be alone. They start reading the journal to see if there is a clue of why the man wants it so badly.
“Yishai, please!” Miriam was moaning softly. “Sorry to do this to you. The weather is awful, but the baby wants to come now. Can you go next door?” She took a breath. “The Benders – Mrs. Bender will come so you can run to get the midwife. Remember, I showed you which house it was in town.”
I thought back to when she’d pointed out the house. “Yes, I remember.” I wondered how I’d find it in this blinding snowstorm but I didn’t voice my doubts to poor Miriam.
Ezra, come home! I slipped on my coat and boots and rushed outside. A howling wind bit at my cheeks and swirling snow blinded me. I ran to the Bender house as fast as I could, plodding through almost a foot of snow.
I knocked hard on the Benders’ door. Mrs. Bender appeared in her nightrobe. “Yes?”
“Sorry to wake you in the middle of the night. It’s an emergency. My sister-in-law is giving birth.”
She dressed and was ready to go to the house in a few minutes. She woke her husband to tell her where she was going.
“Do you know where the midwife lives?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Hurry.” She headed towards my brother’s house, and I headed towards the midwife. I asked Hashem for help. Everything looked different and the snow was piling higher and higher. I had to lift my feet way up to move forward. The snow was already up to my knees. My fingers were numb. I had to keep hitting my gloves against my side. I plodded on. The wind raged at me like a merciless wrestler.
I trudged on and on. I saw a row of homes. Was this the right place? I remembered the blue shutters, but everything was covered in snow.
Hashem, please help me. I moved forward. A cat ran past me. Its yellow eyes glowed in the dark.
I glimpsed a person ahead. He was holding a lantern. “Excuse me, sir. Do you know which is the midwife’s house?”
He wore a scarf on his head, but I could see that he was an older man. He pointed towards a house a few feet away. I saw a part of the blue shutter sticking out from the snow.
I thanked him and raced over to the house. I pounded on the door.
A man answered and ushered me in. “Please, I need the midwife,” I said. “My sister-in-law…”
A woman emerged from a back room. “Go sit by the fire. You must be frozen. I’ll get my bag and you’ll tell me who needs me.”
I sat down by a fireplace with crackling flames. The warmth restored feeling to my fingers and toes. “Jake, can you take us by the carriage?”
Her husband strode out the door.
“Thank you so much.” I said.
She reappeared carrying a bag. She slipped on her coat and boots.
“I’m sorry for waking you in the middle of the night.”
“Babies don’t think about those things. Let’s get going,” she said.
The horse plodded through the snow, and we were back at my brother’s house fairly quickly.
The midwife hopped out of the carriage. “Thanks, Jake. You best get the breakfast for everyone. Could be a quick birth or a long one. It’s a second babe.”
I thanked the midwife’s husband for getting up in the middle of the night and driving us in a blizzard.
“Thanks to Providence, we can help. Got to stick together out here in the West. Got to help one another. It’s the L-rd’s work.”
The midwife was already inside when I stepped through the door.
Mrs. Bender called to the midwife. “Thank G-d you’re here. The baby is coming now.”
I sat by the fireplace and rubbed my hands together. Then I took my T’hilim and began praying for a safe birth.
A short while later, there was this miraculous sound. A newborn baby was crying. Dovid wandered into the living room, rubbing his eyes. “Where’s Mommy?”
“She’s busy right now, little man.” I helped him wash neigel-vasser and then I recited Modeh Ani with him. He davened next to me. He loved to touch my t’filin.
As I was putting my t’filin away, the midwife strolled into the room. “Congratulations, you have a new baby niece. Come meet her. Dovid, you are a big brother now. You have a baby sister.”
“Yay!” Dovid jumped up and down. Together we went into the bedroom.
Miriam was propped up with a pillow behind her head cradling her new baby.
“She’s so tiny,” Dovid said.
She was beautiful. Her eyes were shut, with long lashes against her pale little cheeks, and she had a full head of dark hair. “She looks like Ezra,” Miriam whispered. “Dovid, come touch her back.”
I thanked Hashem over and over.
I looked outside. The snow ceased and the world was blanketed with layers of white velvet. Dovid and I spent most of the day outside building snowmen and snow castles. I wanted to keep him busy so Miriam could rest.
“Towards evening, Ezra came home.”
We hugged and I wished him mazal tov.
“How will you name her?” I asked, realizing you needed to name her in shul when there was a Torah reading.
“We have the name. When you get home, you can do it officially for us in shul. She’s Devorah, after Miriam’s grandmother.”
I agreed but wished he could do it himself for his baby.
“Do you like your new sister?” Ezra took Dovid in his lap and hugged him tight.
“She’s so small.”
“You were tiny like that once, too.”
Ezra turned towards me. “Mr. Burr will be coming by in the next few days.”
Dovid slid out of his father’s lap. “Scary man. I don’t like scary men.”
“Dovid has in his mind he doesn’t like Mr. Burr,” Ezra said.
“We’re finalizing the plan, and then Mr. Blennerhassett will be going first with him out West to Mexico. Our family will follow in the spring.
I listened and wished there was something I could do to stop this terrible plan.
To be continued…
Susie Garber is the author of A Bridge in Time (Menucha Publishing, 2021), Secrets in Disguise (Menucha Publishers, 2020), Denver Dreams, a novel (Jerusalem Publications, 2009), Memorable Characters…Magnificent Stories (Scholastic, 2002), Befriend (Menucha Publishers, 2013), The Road Less Traveled (Feldheim, 2015), fiction serials, and features in various magazines. Fiction serial Jewish Press Falling Star (2019).