1971年10月14日《紐約郵報》(New York Post) 刊登了由盛名的專欄作家Peter Hamill 寫的一篇故事，故事的題目叫《回家》(Going Home)。
那是他從一個親身經歷的小姐口述聽的。這位小姐與一群年輕人共三男三女，搭上從紐約市開往Florida Fort Lauderdale的長途巴士。故事就是在車上發生的情景。
這個故事刊出不久，很快就出現了這首不朽的音樂作品。這個動人的故事被作成了歌曲由Tony Orlando 演唱的金唱片 ”Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree”（老橡樹上的黃絲帶）。
回家 ★ by Peter Hamill / Ajin 編譯
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抵達華盛頓郊外時，已經進入深夜了。巴士開進休息站（Howard Johnson 餐廳）。除了文哥之外，大家都下車。他好像是釘根在椅子上。於是，我們這群青年人就開始對他感到好奇，猜想著他是一位啥樣的人：或許他是一位船長，或是一位逃離老婆的丈夫，或是正要回家的一位老兵。當乘客都回到巴士後，我們其中一位女孩就在他旁邊坐下，並且自我介紹了。
「你要一些酒嗎？」 她問。 他微笑接受，並一口喝盡。向她道謝後，他就撤回到先前的沈默。一會兒後，她回到自己座位，文哥就開始打盹了。
「呀！」，他很靦靦地回說「嗯 - - ，上星期，當我確定假釋獲准後，我曾再寫給她一封信。我們以前住在布朗斯維克鎮（Brunswick），就在傑克遜維爾（Jacksonville）市附近。要進入這鄉鎮前，有一個大橡樹。我告訴她，如果她還會接受我，她可以在大橡樹上綁一條黃色手帕，那我看到就會下車回家。如果她不想要我，那就算了，我看不見手帕，我就繼續我的旅程。」
逐漸地，離開布朗斯維克已經剩下是十英里，然後五。緊張的氣息讓人可以聽到心臟怦怦跳的聲 - - -
GOING HOME by Pete Hamill （原文刊登於1971 10 14的紐約郵時報）
I first heard this story a few years ago from a girl I had met in New York 's Greenwich Village . The girl told me that she had been one of the participants. Since then, others to whom I have related the tale have said that they had read a version of it in some forgotten book, or been told it by an acquaintance who said that it actually happened to a friend. Probably the story is one of those mysterious bits of folklore that emerge from the national subconscious every few years, to be told anew in one form or another. The cast of character shifts, the message endures. I like to think that it did happen, somewhere, sometime.
THEY WERE going to Fort Lauderdale-three boys and three girls-and when they boarded the bus, they were carrying sandwiches and wine in paper bags, dreaming of golden beaches and sea tides as the gray cold of New York vanished behind them.
As the bus passed through New Jersey , they began to notice Vingo. He sat in front of them, dressed in a plain, ill-fitting suit, never moving, his dusty face masking his age. He chewed the inside of his lip a lot, frozen into some personal cocoon （作繭包藏起來） of silence.
Deep into the night, outside Washington , the bus pulled into a Howard Johnson's, and everybody got off except Vingo. He sat rooted in his seat, and the young people began to wonder about him, trying to imagine his life; perhaps he was a sea captain, a runaway from his wife, an old soldier going home. When they went back to the bus, one of the girls sat beside him and introduced herself.
"We're going to Florida ," she said brightly. "I hear it's beautiful."
"It is," he said quietly, as if remembering something he had tried to forget.
"Want some wine?" she said. He smiled and took a swig. He thanked her and retreated again into his silence. After a while, she went back to the others, and Vingo nodded in sleep.
In the morning they awoke outside another Howard Johnson's, and this time Vingo went in. The girl insisted that he join them. He seemed very shy, and ordered black coffee and smoked nervously as the young people chattered about sleeping on beaches. When they returned to the bus, the girl sat with Vingo again, and after a while, slowly and painfully, he told his story. He had been in jail in New York for the past four years, and now he was going home.
"Are you married?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know?" she said.
"Well, when I was in the can (監牢) I wrote to my wife," he said. "I told her that I was going to be away a long time, and that if she couldn't stand it, if the kids kept asking questions, if it hurt too much, well, she could just forget me. I'd understand. Get a new guy, I said-she's a wonderful woman, really something- and forget about me. I told her she didn't have to write me or nothing. And she didn't. Not for three and a half years."
"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 again. We used to live in Brunswick , just before Jacksonville , and there's a big oak tree just as you come into town. I told her that if she'd take me back, she should put a yellow handkerchief on the tree, and I'd get off and come home. If she didn't want me, forget it, no handkerchief, and I'd go through."
"Wow," the girl said. "Wow."
She told the other, and soon all of them were in it, caught up in the approach of Brunswick , looking at the pictures Vingo showed them of his wife and three children- the woman handsome in a plain way, the children still unformed in the cracked, much- handled snapshots.
Now they were 20 miles from Brunswick , and the young people took over window seats on the right side, waiting for the approach of the great oak tree. The bus acquired a dark, hushed mood ( 陰暗的沈靜氣氛 ), full of the silence of absence and lost years. Vingo stopped looking, tightening his face into the ex-con's mask （出獄人的面罩）, as if fortifying himself against still another disappointment.
Then Brunswick was ten miles, and then five. Then, suddenly, all of the young people were up out of their seats, screaming and shouting and crying, doing small dances of exultation. All except Vingo.
Vingo sat there stunned, looking at the oak tree. It was covered with yellow handkerchiefs, 20 of them, 30 of them, maybe hundreds, a tree that stood like a banner of welcome billowing in the wind. As the young people shouted, the old con rose from his seat and made his way to the front of the bus to go home.
This article when it appeared in Reader's Digest in the early 1970s inspired a popular song, one that is still sometimes heard.