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Bill Thompson is a native of Columbus County, North Carolina having grown up in the small town of Hallsboro. He graduated from Hallsboro High School in 1960 and from Campbell College with a degree in English in 1965. For most of his adult life he has been involved in various public relations activities that have allowed him to travel extensively throughout North Carolina and much of the southeastern United States. He has had the unique experience of serving as an emcee for every conceivable festival and celebration held in the towns and communities in that area. That background has given him a unique perspective, which he uses in writing his newspaper columns now carried in several newspapers throughout North and South Carolina as well as his monthly column, “Front Porch Stories” in Our State Magazine. He views life from the viewpoint of a native who has had the opportunity to leave the area and return. Because of this background he can see the various aspects of living in small, rural towns that current residents take for granted and new resident aren’t aware of. He views it all with humor, a touch of nostalgia and some occasional pathos. Bill has a long history with Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina. He originally came in 1966 to organize and direct the Boys Home Choir with Mrs. Hester McCray. He left Boys and Girls Homes returned in 1986 and is now President of that organization.
Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken, and Lazy Dogs: Reflections on North Carolina Life (2003)
From Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken, and Lazy Dogs:
Why did I want to write a book? Apart from the monetary considerations, I figured writing a book, this particular kind of book, would be a way of saying something about what made me who I am. I hope this will discourage any further derogatory designations that I am a “self-made” anything. I don’t intend for this to be an autobiography, although there is much of my own life in the stories.
One appellation that is frequently applied to males in my part of the country is “good ol’ boy.” This is a compliment. Despite the outcry from folks who have a misconception about good ol’ boys, such a designation simply means such a person is a good friend who doesn’t care much for some of the constrictions of “polite society.” Despite the fact that I have had the opportunity to get a good education, travel extensively, and I meet all kinds of people and experience a wide spectrum of activities, I am still, in my mind, a “good ol’ boy.”
I am a product of North Carolina, specifically a small, rural community called Hallsboro. The people I have known here have been ordinary people who happen to possess the distinctive characteristics of other people who have lived in similar environments. That in itself does not make them unusual. In fact, it is that commonality that connects with people everywhere. Those common experiences have shaped me.
Printed with permission of Bill Thompson.