Last Friday I decided to pick up some flowers for Mama Wordbones for the weekend. It wasn't any special occasion though she is still a bit frustrated with the FIOS/Comcast switch so in the back of my mind I probably thought it wouldn't hurt. I stopped into Howard County's oldest florist, Wilhides Flowers just off Old Columbia Road in Ellicott City. As I was paying for my Irish bells and Snap Dragons I made a comment about helping out my old buddy Lee Wilhide. I've known Lee since serving on the board of the Columbia Business Exchange with him about twenty some years ago. I even wrote a Valentines column once using Lee's front line observations.
"They've moved to Florida."
It turns out that Lee and Bev Wilhide are no longer county residents. That is major news to me at least. Besides running the flower shops, Bev Wilhide also once served as Chuck Eckers Chief of Staff. Bev and Lee were a local institution.
Taken alone this news wouldn't have hit me so hard but right after picking up the flowers I drove down the hill to Annabell's on Main Street in Ellicott City to procure some wine. I parked in front of what once was "Oh My Word" , a calligraphy store. I say once was because last Friday the windows were covered up with brown paper. The owners of "Oh My Word" were Colette and Jimmy Roberts. Jimmy was the guy most often in the store. He and I go back to the early eighties when he managed a Rouse mall in Springfield, Massachusetts and I was his regional marketing director. I always enjoyed stopping in his store and trading banter with him about the goings on in our community.
Now the store is gone. There was no information posted on the door explaining where they went. I'll miss Jimmy. I only hope that he and Collette are fine. Maybe they are in Florida now too.