Die a Yellow Ribbon

Betsy Fitzpatrick, a local helpful hints columnist, feels she has found her own personal guru after reading a book on organizing. Her beloved town of Pecan Bayou is competing in the Annual Golden Pecan Treasure Hunt in the suffocating heat of a Texas summer. The prize is a cruise out of Galveston, and Betsy's husband Leo is looking forward to a little alone time with his wife, if they can only win it. After a curious accident and an unsolved murder, Betsy finds it takes more than a precision sock drawer to spark her joy. No matter how neat and organized it might be, murder is always messy. Die a Yellow Ribbon features the cast of loveable characters from Pecan Bayou including Ruby Green from The Best Little Hairhouse in Texas, Mrs. Thatcher the dispatcher, and Lester Jibbets the port-a-potty king. Come along and follow the clues to find the Golden Pecan. Recipes and helpful hints included!


“I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but this year I’m looking forward to the unabated greed of the Golden Pecan Treasure Hunt. At least we’ll have people walking around downtown again. Some days it feels like people only use downtown as the landing strip for the coffee shop while they’re on their way to something better.”

“Yeah, well, if they ever put a Starbucks in this town, Earl Brown can kiss his monopoly on coffee goodbye.”

“Not exactly a monopoly,” Rocky argued. “Birdie’s Diner makes a decent cup of joe. I can’t believe she’s decided to close during the treasure hunt. Why she would take a gamble on the golden pecan and give up the money she could make from a large crowd of hungry, thirsty people is beyond me.”

I glanced out at the main street of Pecan Bayou. “I guess Benny’s Barbecue will be at capacity.”


“He sure will be.” Rocky stared out the window, his brow furrowing. “What if people don’t consider the treasure hunt a worthwhile pursuit this year? What if they’re too busy ordering stuff online and traveling to bigger towns?”

“That’ll never happen, Rocky. Nobody turns away free money.”

“I guess you’re right. This gold-crazed day has been going on since the 1930s as a cure to the depression.”

I remembered learning the story in elementary school. It almost sounded like a fairy tale at the time, what with golden pecans and hidden treasure. “The mayor back then…oh, what was his name?”

“Phinneus Lincoln,” Rocky responded sounding as if I had been studying for a test.

“Right. Do I remember the story correctly? Phinneaus Lincoln made a speech in front of the city council wishing the yearly pecan crop could be of gold and after that famous speech, his wife, a beloved elementary school teacher, had her third graders make the first golden pecan? Wasn’t it made of paper mache and gold paint?”

“Yep, one of the Pecan Bayou traditions people are still loyal to although now we make it out of an oversized plastic Easter egg,” Rocky said.

The sound of metal crunching on concrete hit our ears—someone was outside. Rocky and I were the only ones at the office today, his son being smart enough to get out of town before the golden pecan hunt kicked off. “Is Nicholas here?” I asked. “I thought he was off visiting his girlfriend.”

We went out the back door that opened onto an alley to find Bunny Donaldson with her hand in a dented metal trashcan. Bunny was the sister of Belinda the meter maid. She too wore her long hair pulled back, and at the moment, Bunny’s long, blonde braid dipped dangerously close to a sticky mess left from a paper plate covered in red barbecue sauce.

“What the hell are you doing, Bunny?” Rocky shouted. “Can’t you see this is private property? Those things don’t belong to you. I should call the police.”

“These things are no longer yours once you deposit them in an outside waste can. Read the law, Rocky. Read the law.” As the owner of Sprouting Serenity, Bunny called herself an environmentalist, which to her meant if it was in her environment, she was free to take it and “recycle” it as she saw fit. She was the town dumpster diver, turning everyone else’s trash into her treasure.

Bunny pointed at us, her bony finger protruding from a fingerless white lace glove, her braid swinging out from under her sun hat. “This is a discard receptacle, which makes it public domain. I can dig all I want. Look at all the aluminum cans in here. Why aren’t you recycling these? Do you think this planet is going to last forever?”

“As a matter of fact, I do, but in the interest of sustaining the planet, I’ll be happy to share my cans with you if you clean up this mess then get out of here. Do you hear?” Rocky harrumphed.

“I hear you. Hold on. I have a little more shopping to do.”

“You’re not shopping. You’re dumpster diving.”

“I beg your pardon. You’re too cheap to get a dumpster. What’s the date stamp on this can? 1955? No one has metal trash cans anymore. I’ll give you credit, though, at least it’s not made of plastic. Mark my words, plastic will surely be the end of us all. It’s from the devil, I tell you.”

“Then you should congratulate me for not polluting the planet with yet another green plastic trash receptacle.” Rocky took a bow.

“Hmm,” Bunny mumbled as she pulled out a piece of discarded paper. “You people only print on one side of the paper? That is so irresponsible. Reuse. Recycle!”


Leave a Reply