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Serre Chevalier 121
A culprit of a cadran. More in today's story....

secourir (seuh-kor-reer) verb
       : to help, aid
       : to rescue

Verb conjugation of secourir:
je secours, tu secours, il secourt, nous secourons, vous secourez, ils secourent (past participle: secouru)

Audio File: coming soon...

We've featured the French word "secours" and learned many examples, in a past edition that was illustrated by a story. Today, we focus on the verb secourir -- because actions continue to speak louder than words...


"Trial by Tire" (Part Three: Final Chapter)
click here for previous chapter

It took me several moments to believe the predicament that our family of four suddenly found ourselves in: there, strapped into our car and all but teetering on a concrete slab that flanked some stairs leading down to the town hall...

Seconds before, the driver (Jean-Marc) and I had been focused on the picturesque sundial painted on a building en face. That is when our car, which had already engaged in a traffic roundabout, wandered a few fateful inches to the side of the road... and "stepped" off.

With a kerPLUNK and a POP! the car came to an abrupt halt... having driven over the concrete slab that separated the road that we had been on from an escalier!

Calm came over the car, but was quickly chased out the window by its foe, PANIC!

"C'est pas vrai! C'EST PAS VRAI!!!" my son complained. "On a crevé un pneu! On a crevé un pneu!!!

I don't know what struck me more: the fact that our car was stuck in a stairwell ...or my son's noisy reaction to that fact. Just where, I wondered, did all that panic and impatience come from? ...Did he learn it from me?

Once again, I was reading too much into things. "He's just worried about missing the snowboard lesson (an hour from now)," Jean-Marc pointed out.

We all got out of the car, and Jean-Marc went to work assessing the damage -- and a plan of action!

Little by little, the quiet village came to life. A retired couple stopped, and the man came over to have a look at our flat tire (the flat was only one of two predicaments, the second being the placement of the flat: on the other side of the barrier!).

The man searched for a big rock and set it in front of the tire, but when Jean-Marc attempted to back up the car... that giant rock spit right out from beneath the tire... missing my head by about two feet!

Thereafter, I joined the kids at the bottom of the stairwell and watched as more help arrived. A woman appeared out of nowhere... in time to share a friendly nod of encouragement: "Ce n'est qu'une voiture. It's only a car!"

Two other men stopped to help free the tire that had hooked itself over the cement guardrail. When a  third man arrived on the scene, the trio attempted to lift the front end of the car... to no avail.

Serre Chevalier 128

When Max continued to worry about missing his snowboard lesson, I pointed out the Alpine Angels that were working on our car.

"You know, they might have been heading out to the ski slopes, too! But they've taken the time to stop and help us. Isn't that kind of them? Would we have done the same?" The idea initially silenced my son's complaints, and the three of us watched quietly -- but for another hiccup of impatience.

"I wonder where that guy was headed to?" I questioned the kids. "Do you think he'll be late for his appointment? Instead, he's changed his plans in order to assist a stranger. Isn't that wonderful? Aren't they all wonderful for being so flexible with their own schedules?"

Several steps above us the man in blue began stacking wood to the other side of the tire, the idea being to back up over the wood in time to "lift up" over the concrete barrier. Another man used a jack to hike up the car, while the third man changed our tire! 

Jean-Marc returned to the wheel to steer the car back over the barrier, level with the other tires. That's when the Alpine Angels almost disappeared -- but not before returning all of the materials that they had "borrowed" (the wood was returned to the woodpile, the rocks, to a nearby garden) "Wait a minute," we called out, in time for Jean-Marc to hand each man a bottle of wine from a case we had been transporting in the back of our car.

And, just like that, the Alpine Angels disappeared, having gifted us with what these days some consider to be a rarity: charity.


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Is this mistletoe? By the way... today's question:

Question: Who is the last person you kissed and why? Share about your last smack, in the comments box. (Here's my answer: last person kissed: my daughter (this morning at the breakfast table). Why? For being brave about sleeping in her room all night (and not coming to wake me up at the first gust of wind that rattled her window shutters... and her scarey bone)!

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety