It was the night before Christmas Eve when I heard that Tampa lawyer Bill McBride had died. He was more than a Tampa lawyer, though. He’d run for governor and he was the wife of Alex Sink, who later, also ran for Governor.
Bill McBride was friendly and sociable, what they used to call a “hale fellow, well-met”, unlike many other community leaders who took themselves way too seriously. He didn’t win his race for Governor (nor did his wife) and I always suspected he was just too nice a guy.
He was a true son of his state, Florida, but he was also a huge figure in Tampa, a place I lived part time for some dozen years.
Tampa’s a big small town that had more in common with Mayberry than San Jose, and it was easy to be connected with movers and shakers if you worked, as I did, in consulting.
I was reminded of that when news of his death began to spread.
There are things I liked about living in Mayberry, I can’t deny it. Such as always knowing my way around. Living in South Tampa just within a mile or two of my best friends. The ability to zoom out for a coffee or a Panera salad without hitting traffic. Hanging out in shorts and capris most of the year. The fantastic winters, sunny and warm. Teaching just a couple miles from home.
Life was manageable.
In Tampa, the big community names were also household names and whether we’d only just met them a time or two or knew them well, we felt a certain kinship with them.
I was sorry to hear of Bill McBride’s death. Only 67, he had far more to contribute.