This past weekend I was privileged to have some time off to go home for a long Fourth of July Weekend. By home, I don’t mean the place where we go at the end of the day to reboot and do it all over. I mean the mythical place where we come from. The place that when you say “home,” there is a certain ring to the voice and stillness in the air which lets the listener know you are talking of a far away land where dragons fly and the water tastes like champagne. For me, home is Tampa, Florida.
Tampa is a city on the west coast of Florida, two hours north of Naples and four hours northwest of Miami. Tampa, the 19th-largest metropolitan area in the nation, is also home to the three sports teams: the Tampa Bay Lightening (hockey, ironically enough – NHL;) Buccaneers (football – NFL;) and Devil Rays (baseball – MLB.) Tampa is not as diverse of a cultural community at Miami, but still possesses the melting-pot atmospere. A quick drive through Tampa will make sense of the next number: the average household income is $57,202. It’s a simple place where seeing a Bentley, Ferrari, or solid gold Rolex is about as rare as seeing snow in Miami.
When asked to describe Tampa, I often say it is a microcosm of Miami with more of a small-town feel, alive with culture. There is west Tampa, which is akin to Hialeah in Miami. There is the notorious Y-Bor City which could be described as the South Beach of Tampa, but with more of an Italian and Cuban American feel to it. And then there my neighborhood, South Tampa, which I describe as the Coral Gables of Tampa. Tree-lined streets, children playing in their yards, and white picket fences.
Tampa is also littered with hundreds, if not thousands of billboards and signs, advertising for Personal Injury Lawyers. Growing up, I remember John Morgan coming on the television every thirty minutes and reiterating the epic one liner: “For the people.” In all honesty I will admit to you my readers that I never imagined the day when I would be following in similar foot-steps, practicing as a Personal Injury Lawyer in South Florida.
For me, the young lawyer, going home has a humbling effect. It is a relief to be able to escape the hustle and bustle of the Miami scene; the attractive nuisances abound, and just come home. Being around family and friends who witnessed me make the transition from lay man to young lawyer reminds me just how far I have come and how much further I have to go.