I got a message the other day from the wife of an old friend and co-worker. It seems that another person we all knew and was very fond of had died of a heart attack a couple of weeks prior. I'm 58 and the departed was 7-8 years younger than me and I guess that would have made him 50 years old or so. Too young to die, but I'm heading a bit off subject and the subject is a story (a true story) that I want to share with you. Back in those days, in the small town we lived in , we did an awful lot of things to amuse ourselves and each other. Some of those thing involved trying to trick or scare each other. There were a lot of spooky places about and we would go on these ghost hunting outings or we might just be in the woods coon hunting or camping or any number of other things. Anyway, this guy (the departed), his little brother ( not really young, but certainly "little") myself and another guy were out in the deep woods for some reason or another in the middle of the night. I must point out that the "little brother" was about 23 years old, pale as a sheet, and terrified of his own shadow. He was someone that you could send into a fit of terror quite easily and we took every advantage of this. This guy would become physically shaken and might even bolt and run depending on if he was more scared at the time to be where he was or more scared to leave the group and run off alone through the dark. He was the perfect person to torment. Anyway, we are deep in the woods and we see in the distance, up in the trees, 3 glowing, illuminated spheres. One was yellow, one blue, one green. Now nobody knows what they are looking at and it's certainly not the kind of thing you expect to encounter in the woods back where nobody goes. So we continue to move towards these "things" and we're all a little scared, we're all a little concerned, anxious and we're getting a bit spooked, but we are all thinking the same thing: It's more fun to scare the "little brother" than to worry about it. Brother is probably going to pee in his pants at any minute and that's worth facing whatever spirits or UFOs or glassy-eyed swamp creatures might be up in those trees.
Well we arrive at the place and figure out that it's some glass balls up in the tree limbs that we have been seeing and they are hanging by chains from those branches. They didn't look dangerous, but we still didn't know why they were there.
It turned out that as we talked it up a bit around town the next week we found out that some other guys had carried some solar powered yard ornaments out in the woods with them in a backpack when they were out hunting one day and had thrown them up in the trees. The chains looped the tree branches and it marked a spot for them to find there way back to those same trees and the fact that they were solar powered luminaries meant that as long as the sun kept shining there was the chance of scaring the daylights out of somebody (like us) that happened to be moving about those woods at night. It's just a cute story but it's one that illustrates the friendships and fun times we shared during a simple, happy time not so long ago. Aliens, ghosts, coon hunts. RIP my friend, and RIP those by-gone times.