The Grove

Thompson Law, P.A., a “Florida Firm,” uses the “orange” as its symbol. I modeled this firm in the spirit of my proud and longstanding Florida heritage. The orange as a symbol is inspired by a place my family affectionately calls “the Grove.” The Grove is plot of land situated in Centerhill, Florida, in Sumter County.

The Grove is where my great grandfather, Claude William Thompson, Sr. (“Tommy”) was born and raised. My great grandfather eventually moved to Lakeland with my great grandmother, Lois, and they had my grandfather, Claude Jr. In 1951, my grandfather started teaching high school in Lakeland, Florida. In 1953, he married my grandmother, or as we call her, “Nana.” Now with a young family on the way, my grandfather needed to supplement his income, so he started buying plots of land that surrounded his land through tax deeds sales that literally occurred, on the steps of the courthouse.

Once my grandfather owned enough land, he started an orange grove, where the name comes from. He taught himself to plant orange trees by grafting the trees, an art that requires special treatment to the young tree to prevent it from being killed by weeds and bugs. Grafting trees requires endless labor, but it’s far less expensive than buying small orange trees.

In their Pontiac coup, my grandfather and grandmother strung up barbed wire fence around the property. They would drive 2 hours to the Grove in that same Pontiac every Saturday and back on Sunday to remove the weeds around the sour orange rootstock so each tree would survive. They watered each tree using a Maxwell House coffee can with holes poked in the bottom that they would fill with water. They would remove the weeds and replace the bad dirt with good. Eventually, the young trees became full grown, and a packinghouse would pick the oranges and my grandfather would sell them to local stores and distributors.

My grandfather retired from teaching in 1979 and the orange trees lasted about 20 years until the freezes became too much. The Grove is still there, and I still go pay it a visit every now and again. Some of the original surviving orange trees still remain. Those orange trees have seen my entire family grow up. Those orange trees are the product of my family’s hard work. When I sit down at my desk and do work for my clients, that orange is there to remind me what it means to work hard and build something on my own.

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