When traveling on vacations through the years to different states and different cities, we have become acquainted with folks from our destinations, become friends with them and kept in touch.
Such was the case back in 1978 when my husband, Harry, and I traveled eight hours down to Bradenton Beach, Florida, to spend a few vacation days with his siblings at the beach.
One of his sisters and her husband had found the perfect spot to stay, Scott’s Apartments, on Gulf Drive, which runs north to south the seven-mile length of Anna Maria Island, Florida, with Bradenton Beach at its south end.
Scott’s Apartments was divided into three complete home sites with the Scotts, the owners, living in one end apartment and the other two rented out. With all the comforts of home for convenience, all we had to do was cross Gulf Drive and we could put our toes in the warm beach sand of the Gulf of Mexico.
This particular sister, Leila Rogers, was a beach bum to the bone and she loved walking the beach and shelling. She’d start out early in the morning walking the shoreline from 11th Street south, past Coquina Beach, and when reaching the bridge crossing over to Long Boat Key, she’d turn and head back to the apartment.
Many mornings, Helen Scott, the owner of the apartments along with her husband, would walk with her after feeding the sea gulls their daily handout of bread crumbs.
Needless to say, I fell in love with the area and to this day still travel down there almost annually with my granddaughter, Cheryl, and her mom, Teri, for a “girls-only-weekend.” But since Scott’s Apartments now has new owners, with Helen Scott and her husband no longer there, we have found another “home-away-from-home” vacation spot at Koi One Apartments at 4th Street on Gulf Drive, owned and operated by Melissa Rhodes, an absolute marvel and perfect host.
During the 1980’s, the years that Harry and I vacationed at Bradenton Beach, Helen Scott and I became friends and she shared with me her home sickness and her longing to go back home, to the place where she was born, in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She had a beautiful framed photograph of her childhood home hanging in her living room.
I’ve lost touch with her over the years, but during the years we stayed there I had commented on the photograph and its beauty several times. So during one of our visits, she had a copy of the photograph made for me, along with a poem titled “The Old Farm” that she had written describing the heartfelt longings of her home. The first verse is based on one from a country song, “Nobody Answered Me,” recorded by Charley Pride.
The Old Farm
I called and I called but nobody answered, I searched everywhere but no one could I find.
I knocked on the door as I oft had before, but nobody answered me.
The old farm is now cold and silent, weeds are growing round the door.
The once bright barn is weather-beaten, familiar sounds I hear no more.
I sit alone in reverie, and dream of days of yore,
The old folks gone, no one to greet me,
I can hear once more cattle lowing in the barn yard, stragglers hurrying down the lane,
horses whinnying near the stable, waiting for their lot of grain.
Kittens mewing in the manger, where their nursing mother lay,
hens a clucking in the hay loft, resting in the fragrant hay.
The old farm now is cold and silent, but in the doorway I could see,
visions of the old folks standing, watching, waiting there for me.
Having this photograph hanging now in my home, I think of her and I oft times wonder if she ever got to go back. I hope so. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.