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Friendship Urban Fantasy

"Betsy, when is Laura going to get here, "Casey asked. " I don't know," Betsy responded. "I stopped by her house on the way, and her mother said as soon as she finished dishes, she could come. Betsy and Casey had been sitting in the Weeping Willow Tree for twenty minutes. Laura finally arrived and climbed up. 


The three were best friends. They played together almost every day and inevitably ended up climbing the tree. Betsy and Casey were nine and Laura only eight, but they grew up together with Laura being more worldly. She educated the two about sex and how to have a baby. Laura's parents were younger and more informative than Betsy and Caseys. Some conversations were harmless such as discussing the play itinerary for the day, kickball, or paper tag. Bicycles were a big deal in their little town of Strawsberry, and one of the older boys invented a game called Paper Tag, a rolled-up newspaper. The person who was it, threw the newspaper at the riders, and if you were hit by the paper, you became the one it. The only bases were metal drains on the streets, and you were only allowed to stay on them for a couple of minutes. Everyone loved the game, although, they could only play on certain blocks where the roads were paved. The streets, as they were known were better for bicycles. The dirt roads were more difficult to ride on.


The weeping willow sat close to the streets across from one of the local grocery stores. If the girls were lucky enough to find a pop bottle, they could go in and buy some candy. Gould's grocer had the best candy. You could buy a small coke and a candy bar for ten cents, but that would take three pop bottles and a penny. Not many people were that lucky to find that many bottles in one day. Your only other choice would be volunteering to pick up a carton of pop for your parents and hopefully getting to keep the change. The trip to the store was a lot easier with empty bottles. The trip home with full bottles of soda would cut into your hand. Riding your bike with the pop bottles was against the rules. A lot of kids got cut up when they wrecked their bikes. Between getting your bell-bottoms stuck in the spokes and the chance of broken pop bottles, a walk to the store was more practical.


The neighborhood of Strawsberry was perfect. There were hills to ride sleds down in the winter, a ball field to have football and baseball games, and a park with all the playground equipment. Betsy, Casey, and Laura spent many hours there also. 


One day the girls met at the tree. Two older girls were there, Mary Jane and Katy. Mary Jane's dad worked for the state road, and she had some good news for the people who lived on the dirt roads. The new governor was going to pave all of Strawsberry. The girls were very excited to tell their parents. Casey and Laura would be affected, but Betsy's family already lived in the paved area. After the street lights came on and all of the neighborhood kids went home, Casey went into her house and told her parents about the governor's plan. Her dad was happy to hear the news. He had trouble keeping his car clean, and it would be a tremendous improvement.


The entire town was talking about the proposed paving at church on Sunday and exchanged excited conversations. Casey was happy about the road until her mother sent her to Gould's grocery to pick up a pound of bologna. She noticed a red mark on the willow tree where they played. She asked Mr. Gould if he knew why they had marked a red x on her favorite tree. He told Casey it was going to be cut down.


Casey ran home and gave her mother the bologna. She rounded up her friends to tell them the news. None of them realized their favorite tree was at stake. The kids in the neighborhood held a special meeting in the snake woods on Elm Street. They could meet there without the adults seeing them. The bamboo was high enough to camouflage their meeting. The kids needed to devise a plan to save the tree without getting in trouble with their parents. Some of the older kids joined in on the meeting. They were trying to help figure out a solution. One of the kids said he would chain himself to the tree. Another kid suggested they block the state road equipment from entering Strawsberry by blocking off the railroad track. The best idea was to form a protest line in front of the tree. The group agreed to meet at eight o'clock the next morning to stop the workers.


All showed up as planned, but so did their parents after Mary Jane's father called them. The plan to block the tree had failed, and the state road was about to cut it down. The workers tied a rope onto it and started backing up with the backhoe. The dirt road where the backhoe sat sank, and the rope around the tree flew off. A wrecker came to get the backhoe out, and they attempted to tie the tree up again. The men who worked for the state road took chainsaws near the tree, and they would shut off as soon they got close. One worker, not to be outdone, grabbed an ax out of his trunk and ran at the tree. He swang the ax, and it was unscathed. After several attempts by different workers, the tree remained unharmed. 


The children watched and laughed at the men as they tried to bring their tree down without success. The men couldn't see what was going on, but the children could.


Betsy saw her grandmother standing at the base holding her grandfather's hand. Their initials were carved into the tree when they were a young couple. Casey saw her Uncle Willie digging holes around the tree that caused the backhoe to keep falling in. Laura saw her former neighbor that rescued twenty cats sitting on a limb while protecting it with a metal pipe. The road workers couldn't get near the tree. The children of Strawsberry came together, some were flesh, and some were in spirit to protect the weeping willow tree.


The road still came through their sleepy little town, and children continued to ride bicycles and play paper tag with the addition of one new rule. The Weeping Willow Tree was now an official base. 


April 20, 2021 05:07

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3 comments

Akshara P
17:35 Oct 19, 2021

A very fun friendship story to read! Could you please, please follow me? 💕

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N S
19:06 May 03, 2021

Great story

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Cheryl Fulks
02:11 May 06, 2021

Thank you so much😁

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