For over forty years Bill Thompson has traveled throughout North Carolina and the South as a speaker for hundreds of organizations from local civic clubs to trade conferences to international conventions. He has been a master of ceremonies and entertainer for hundreds of events celebrating the things that make communities special from the Hollering Contest in Spivey’s Corner, NC to the Wooly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, the Grits Festival in St. George, SC, the Chitlin Strut in Sally, a grape stompin’ contest in Tennessee and judged a sweet tea contest in Georgia. In the process, he has had a chance to meet a lot of people and to hear their stories.
His column Front Porch Stories was a regular feature in Our State magazine for almost a decade and he has authored six books: Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken and Lazy Dogs: A Reflection of North Carolina Life, Pearl’s Pork Palace and other Stories from Flynn’s Crossing, NC, Backyards, Bow Ties and Beauty Queens, Celia Whitfield’s Boy, Chasing Jubal, and Listen to the South Wind.
Bill’s stories are usually humorous, a reflection of his way of looking at the world around him. But occasionally he makes some nostalgic odyssey that tells of a time and place many of us barely remember and young folks never had the opportunity to experience. In the process he not only entertains his audiences but also may cause them to appreciate the great traditions and heritage that make North Carolina and The South such a unique aspect of American life.