Tonight my inspiration was the yellow ribbon I wore on my pony tail today. However, the story really has little point. It was fun to write though.
For as long as anyone could remember, the oak tree at the end of the lane sported a long ribbon, tied in a bow, near the top of the highest branch. Kids in the neighbourhood always dared each other to climb up and remove it. Some ventured up the tree, some denied the challenge, and some like Billy Williams failed abysmally in the process.
Billy tried climbing up the tree, cheered on by the chanting of his friends below, last summer. He climbed like a monkey, never daring to look down. He was almost there, when he reached out just a little too far and dropped like a stone. Well, less like a stone and more like something that bounced from branch to branch before landing breathlessly on the ground. He broke both arms that day.
Nessa McDonald also tried later in the spring. There were new branches and little leaves just peaking out from the old wood. As she climbed blossoms rained down on her friends below. She only made it half way up the tree. She started sneezing, so climbed back down. Her friends all decided that it was a stupid tree anyway, and no one should have hayfever.
Liam Roberts had the best story of all. He always claimed that his father climbed the tree and right up by the ribbon, he carved a heart in the wood with his mothers initials. Now, Mr Roberts is a nice guy, and a great maths teacher, but he is a fatty. No one ever really believed that he made the climb, let alone with romance in mind, but he did. The heart is still there, but you have to look carefully because of all the lichens.
Last week Phoebe Smythe came down to the tree with her guitar. She sat and sang under the branches, amongst the fallen leaves. She claimed the tree was her earth mother. Some laughed at her behind her back, but she was a talented musician. She made a bit of money busking that day, bought a train ticket, and headed out of town to make a go of it in the city.
The workmen were gathered around the base of the tree that afternoon when the neighbourhood kids came out of school. They ran to the sound of the chainsaws and ropes. Before they even approached the park, the tree was falling, in slow motion. Branches cracked and groaned under their transferred weight, littering the air with leaves and debris. Molly Winkler even screamed at the sound, but she had always been a scaredy cat.
When Cindy Rothery walked up to the top branch, she wanted to take the yellow ribbon. But it was gone. Looking up into the sky she could see it dancing in the wind, carried off to a new destination. Satisfied with seeing it pass, she left the tree and headed on home to see her Grandmother.
Others still wonder about the yellow ribbon. Stories spread around the town often saying that the ribbon was removed so the tree had to go also. Other rumours suggest that there never was a ribbon at all. At least one person overheard Patty Mulligan in the cafe saying she had seen a UFO that night and was convinced that aliens stole the ribbon because of its psychic energy. Only Cindy knew the truth, and she was never going to say. Sometimes a mystery is better than the truth.