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The Yellow Ribbon by Pete Hamill
Transcript of The Yellow Ribbon by Pete Hamill
By Pete Hamill They were headed to Fort Lauderdale, there were six of them three girls, three boys. They began to notice that Vingo never moved. NEVER MOVED He sat in front of the young people , his dusty face masking his age, dressed in a plain brown ill-fitting suit. "We're going to Florida," the girl said brightly. "You going that far?" "I don't know ." he said The next morning the girl sat with him again.... he began to tell his story... He (Vingo) had been in jail for four years and was now going home. "Are you married?" "I don't know." "You don't know?" "Well, when I was in the can I wrote to my wife," he said. "I told her, I said, Martha, I understand if you can't stay married to me. I told her that. I said I was gonna be away a long time and that if she couldn't stand it, if the kids kept askin' questions, if it hurt her too much, well she could just forget about me." "And you're going home now, not knowing?" "Yeah," he said shyly. "Well, last week, when I was sure the parole was coming through I wrote her..." "I told her that if she had a new guy, I understood. But if she didn't, if she would take me back, she should let me know..." "...I told her if she would take me back, she should put a yellow handkerchief on the tree, and I would get off and come home..." Then it was ten miles, and then five, and the bus acquired a dark hushed mood.... Then suddenly all of the young people were up out of their seats screaming, shouting and crying Vingo sat there stunned, looking at the oak tree. It was covered with yellow handkerchiefs, twenty of them, thirty of them, maybe hundreds. A tree that stood like a banner of welcome blowing and billowing in the wind.