The Old Front Porch


travel with jodell haverfieldBy JoDell Haverfield, Have Travel Memories

This month, as we remember those who served our country, I want to tell you about the South’s hold on my heart. After all, I am a Southern Bell. I have two great, great grandfathers who fought on opposite sides in five battles of the Civil War including Bull Run. The Confederate soldier, Isaac Martin Roark, and Milo Charles Bennett, the Yank, are buried next to each other in Alpine, Texas.

Milo served with Wisconsin’s Iron Brigade while Isaac enlisted from Denton County, Texas, and served in Hood’s Brigade. He was mustered out in Austin in 1865.

Years after the Civil War, the two men met in Oklahoma Territory when Isaac’s daughter, Virginia Roark, married one of Milo’s sons William Charles Bennett. Family legend tells that the Rebel and the Yank did not approve of the marriage. However, in later years after the death of their wives in Oklahoma, the two veterans retired in Alpine Texas to live with their children, where they spent many long hours rocking on the front porch of the Bennett home on a Texas ranch arguing over the battles of the war.

When Isaac Roark died on January 17, 1926, Milo lost his best friend. He purchased adjoining lots in Alpine’s Elm Grove Cemetery and asked that they be buried side by side when he passed. Milo Charles Bennett died just 10 months later, Oct 30, 1926, at the age of 85. Four years later, my mother was born in Alpine to William and Virginia’s son Milo L. Bennett. My mother grew up on the Bennett family ranch playing on that same front porch where the old veteran friends relived their war memories. I even played on the Bennett family porch for the first three years of my life before the Navy took us away on new adventures, not to return until Virginia’s death in the late 60s.

I am saddened as I hear about attempts to erase our American Heritage. I recently heard that not since the Civil War has this country been so divided. I have ancestors who came to America on the Mayflower, fought in nearly every war including the American Revolution. They fought to build and protect our great country and I am immensely proud of that.

In my search for my ancestors and family history, I recently discovered I have a family castle in Scotland. To be able to visit Scotland has been a dream of mine for a long time, but to add a castle that has been in my family nearly forever takes my dream to a whole new level. I have so many tours and cruises on my list. The whole Covid experience has given me that “you don’t know what you’ve got “til it’s gone” mentality.

Even though cruising appears, finally, to be back in Florida, I said that last month, keep in mind it might look different, at least for a while. Some of the changes are good and will hopefully be permanent such as virtual Munster Drills, more streamlined embarkation, onboard apps, stronger HVAC filters and improved medical facilities.

During the pandemic, I kept thinking someday things will be back to normal. Now someday is here, without the normal. Well, normal or not, my first cruise back in the water is scheduled for September, a 10-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale and I absolutely cannot wait! I know somewhere between indulgence and nature lies a place or cruise that connects both. Plan a trip so you can make memories and stories of your own. Someone once told me “Every curve in the road and every bend in the river unveils something beautiful.”

Next month I will share with you just how much William Bennett loved Virginia Roark and about a trip they took together. This month show your patriotic side. Make a deposit on your next trip. The future is bright! Our hope at Have Travel Memories Vacations is for a travel year that is much, much, much better than the one we’ve just lived through. It doesn’t take much to be better than that!