Hello from Fort Lonesome [PHIL-OSOPHY]
Callers to the show are telling me that they're starting to feel the isolation of loneliness. They know they're connected with everyone, but at the same time, feel cut off from each other.
So as I was reading the many daily texts, emails and Facebook messages, one stood out noticeably.
"Hello from Florida. I listen to you every morning from Fort Lonesome, FL - Mrs. B., a snow bird from New Bedford."
I replied, thanking her kindly and adding some laughing face emojis for the humorous and playful reference to the sense of exile we're all getting familiar with because of COVID-19.
She messaged back almost immediately, "We really do live in the town of Fort Lonesome!" I won't tell you what I whispered to myself, but in all my years, I never heard of a place called Fort Lonesome. "Google it, Phil. It's very interesting."
I thought I hit pay dirt. Yes, Fort Lonesome, near Lithia, is somewhat desolate, smack dab around the intersection of State Roads 39 and 674, about 36 miles, as the crow flies, southeast of Tampa. Although it was never a fort, a large steam-driven sawmill was built back in the 1930s and a small town sprang up sporting two stores.
The sawmill eventually burned to the ground and Fort Lonesome became a ghost town. The only reminder of the place was a small general store that still exists today as the Fort Lonesome Grocery Store, complete with two gas pumps. The building, originally erected in 1929, was an inspection station to combat the spread of the Mediterranean fruit fly.
Aside from the town possessing a colorful name, it also has the high standing for having "Buggerman's Corner," the only one in the world that I could find. And I have the distinction of saying Mrs. B., a fan, listens in daily from Fort Lonesome.
Cue me up some Hank Williams.
Phil Paleologos is the host of the Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.