First Posted: 2/8/2009
As a born and bred North Carolinian, author Bill Thompson is so passionate about his home state and the stories of its land and people that he travels throughout the state and the South sharing those stories with others.
Sunday, local residents spent an Afternoon with Bill Thompson at the Mount Airy Public Library for an hour of humorous and poignant tales.
He is the author of Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken & Lazy Dogs, a Reflection on North Carolina Life, Pearls Pork Palace and Other Stories from Flynns Crossing, NC and the most recent, Backyards, Bow Ties and Beauty Queens.
Its the festivals and celebrations in North Carolina that are the main source of appreciation for the state, he said, explaining why many of his stories center around his home state. I love getting involved with the people, and I enjoy getting to know people.
He is from Hallsboro, which is in the southeastern part of the state near Wilmington, and has traveled throughout the southern region sharing his stories for more than four decades.
Thompson, whose column Front Porch Stories has been a staple in Our State magazine for a decade, entertained an audience of about 15 with excerpts from his books, life experiences and opportunities.
In his presentation, Thompson brought to life the tales that he wrote about in his columns that explore his down-home roots.
In his discussion, he included a story from when he hosted a 1980s show based out of Wilmington in which he profiled various residents. He went to visit an 80-something-year-old potter and interview her about her art forms. He said he suggested to her that she create something as he interviewed her. After the interview had gone on for sometime, he asked her what she was making on her wheel.
She responded, It was a bowl, but Ive been talking to you so long, I dont know what the (heck) it is anymore.
The audience laughed, and Thompson smiled.
His tales like that, and other essays revealing his reflections on North Carolinas life and people, often garnered the laughter of the audience.
Colleen Pahng said thats why she enjoyed his presentation, even though shes not originally from North Carolina.
I like the folksy stories, said the New York native, who grew up in a small town. I can relate to what he talked about, its similar, other than the difference between the North and South.
Gail Jones, who is a fan of Thompson, agreed.
The stuff he says about North Carolina, she said, smiling. Its typical of the people and the area.
Thompson has traveled to many towns in North Carolina, but said that Mount Airy is more than a place people label as Mayberry.
Mount Airy has its own identity, and its also like other small towns, he said. When I got into town late, the only place I could find open was a McDonalds, and there was a cross section of people and I liked it. I like that many small towns have a cross section of people. I think Mount Airy represents small-town America.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.