The troublesome two faced each other, fists clenched — but were distracted by Jolly Solly’s voice nearby
omething was up at 100 Sunny Lane. A man carrying a doctor’s bag was seen coming out, looking worried. And when Moishe Morris went past the house on his way to Gavriel’s Grocery, he caught a glimpse of Jolly Solly, his face pale and serious. How strange! Jolly Solly was usually the happiest fellow on earth. Moishe wondered what was going on.
It was Fishel and Faivish who found out. They were walking past the clown’s house a little later, arguing about their math homework.
“I’ve got harder equations than you,” said Fishel.
“No way! Mine are the hardest in the world!” retorted Faivish.
“Mine are the hardest equations in the universe!”
“Mine are the hardest in the galaxy and outer space!”
“Think you’re smart, huh?”
“Yeah, ’cuz I am!”
The troublesome two faced each other, fists clenched — but were distracted by Jolly Solly’s voice nearby, talking on the phone.
“So, you want her to come to the hospital tonight?” he was saying. “Give me the ward details, please, and I’ll make arrangements for my mother to come in.”
Fishel and Faivish stared at each other in shock. Jolly Solly’s mother going to the hospital? Oh, no! Whatever was the matter? Everybody liked the kind, generous old lady, even Mr. Krankowitz.
They ran home to tell their mother.
“Dear me,” replied Mrs. Friedman. “I’ll go over and see if I can be of help.”
The brothers waited anxiously by the window for their mother to return.
The news was shocking. Jolly Solly’s mother needed to have an operation, and would have to spend some time in the hospital. And after that, she needed to go to a quiet place by the sea, for a very long time.
“Jolly Solly’s going with her. He’ll be moving out of Sunny Lane, and renting the house out,” continued Mrs. Friedman.
Fishel and Faivish were shocked. The news spread like wildfire. Jolly Solly and his mother were leaving that very evening, and nobody knew when they’d be back again.
A workman arrived and put up a “For Rent” sign in front of the rainbow-colored house. Jolly Solly rushed back and forth, trying to get everything organized. A large, comfortable car had been ordered to take his mother to the hospital. Jolly Solly would follow in his cheerful little car.
Soon there was a strange sound that made everybody on Sunny Lane prick up their ears.
It was the sound of trumpets. And it was followed by a loud, “Harrumph!”
The neighbors ran outside. Down the road came an extraordinary procession. Eli was in front, sitting on Jumbo the elephant’s neck. “Harrumph!” went Jumbo again. Manny the monkey walked behind, with Izzy the assistant holding his hand firmly to stop him from making any mischief. Tuki the parrot flew above, holding a banner.
It read, “Refuah Sheleimah! Goodbye! We’ll Miss You!”
Fishel and Faivish high-fived each other. It had been their idea to arrange a grand send-off for the popular clown and his mother. Eli had acted fast, and now here he was with his animals.
The neighbors lined up on both sides of the road, including the Morrises, the Rabinowitzes, and the Faigelbaums, waiting for Jolly Solly and his mother to come out.
The large car the clown had ordered turned into Sunny Lane and stopped. Eli directed the elephant and the other animals to move to the side, so the car could park. The driver honked, and Jolly Solly came out with his mother, walking slowly.
At the sight of the surprise send-off, their mouths dropped open. Jolly Solly’s mother gave a brave smile, and mouthed a heartfelt “Thank you” to everyone. The clown was too emotional to speak. Tears started pouring down his face. Nobody had ever thought Jolly Solly could cry!
Tuki was annoyed. This simply wouldn’t do. After all, it wasn’t Tishah B’Av. He started singing in his screechy voice, and everybody smiled. It was Jolly Solly’s favorite song: Mitzvah Gedolah Lih’yos B’simchah.
Somebody pulled out a guitar, and soon people were clapping and tapping their feet. Even Mr. Krankowitz could be seen waving his stick in time to the music.
Jolly Solly helped his mother carefully into the large car. It drove off slowly, followed by the clown’s yellow car. The neighbors followed behind, waving and shouting their good wishes. The two cars turned the corner and were gone.
Goodbye, Jolly Solly! Refuah sheleimah to your mother! Goodbye!
Thanks for bringing me into your hearts and homes for over 20 years. Goodbye, and keep smiling!
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 979)
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