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Happy Birthday, Bill Thompson III!

Saturday, March 3, 2012




He has the most marvelous eyes, crowned by strong dark brows. Perhaps not many people notice them, hidden as they are behind glasses, but I do. They speak of determination. Sometimes I think of Bill as pure determination, barely contained in flesh and bone. I look at the odds he’s faced and the things he’s accomplished and it’s clear to me that the first metaphor I came up with when I met him-- a human locomotive—is still the most accurate. You stand back and wave as he rumbles by. Or if you’re going along for the ride, you hang on real tight.


Seamus Waxwing, falling asleep in Daddy's warm hand

That such an imposing man should love birds, the most airily delicate of creatures, is part of his appeal. It’s the love of birds we share, and a mutual tendency to put that love into words, that threw me onto his train, a rather unlikely stowaway in his fast-paced life.

And then there was music. Birds may have started it, but music sealed the deal between us. He grew up immersed in it, just one in a series of great legacies from Bill and Elsa. 

That's enough on that one. Don't even look at it.

  Music's coming out of him in waves now, unleashed by a perfect cyclone of creative collaborators (Thank you, Rain Crows!!), new recording technology and years of pent-up desire.


Guitarzan, laying down one of approximately 71,000 guitar tracks for The Rain Crows' "Looks Like Rain" for David Traugh's discerning ear.

He's worked very hard and incredibly fast to realize this passion, and as you read this we just got eight big boxes full of our new CD to show for it. Sixteen songs, all original, in an album from a band that played its first barely-rehearsed gig in September 2010. We recorded rough tracks in a Lakeside hotel barely a year ago, and worked to refine them before going into the studio in December 2011. Determination. A product to show for it.  Far and away the best birthday present a guy could give himself!

cover photo by Michael Northrup; design by Joe Parisi 

All that, and a wonderful dad to Phoebe and Liam. It seems they got the best parts of him-creativity and music and art and humor and a dash of athleticism, too.  In an ideal world, we'd all be at Pirates' Spring Training in Bradenton, FL right now, but there's lots of fun and work to do here. We'll look forward to a besbol summer.


I am humbled and grateful to still be riding Bill Thompson’s train, to be here to keep shoveling coal into the firebox. I’m not sure what his next destination will be, but you can bet I’ll be hanging on for the ride.

photo by Mitch Casey


Photo by David Tipling

Thank goodness for beer. It mellows him out. A bit.

Happy birthday, Bill. Best guy I know.

17 comments:

Hooo-ey! Look out for that firebox! Happy birthday, young-un.

Super tribute!... and enough to make one believe in the Karmic inevitability of two people finding each other.

Sounds like you sort of like this guy.

Your birthday tributes are always a delight. Happy Birthday to your hubby!

cOh my--almost brings a tear to my eye...and I haven't even met the big guy. (Nor you, for that matter.)
But I add my happy birthdays to the growing chorus.
And many more to come!

Very Happiest of Birthdays, Bill! Wow, what a tribute!

I love this post! I wonder if he knows how much of a hero he is to many of us. I've been celebrating by listening to my scratchy, bootleg copy of "Is Anyone Out There, all morning - seeing as I live "out there". And wondering when/how I get my hands on the newly minted official album!

You can feel the love in every word. Congratulations and happy birthday Bill!!

Posted by Cyndi Routledge March 3, 2012 at 6:54 AM

Hey Bill, welcome to the club! If there is a way to add an hour to each day you will find it. Best wishes and good beer.

I am so very happy for you and your family, Julie. That Bill is a very lucky gent. Life is wonderful when you find a true companion. May blessings of happiness, health and prosperity continue to embrace your lives together.

Oh...and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to YOU, Thumper!

A beautiful tribute of birthday love to your life companion. Such a wonderful gift, this love. Enjoy every second of it. Happy birthday wishes to your sweetheart.

You may love him, but I can't stand him.

He's got the perfect life. The perfect job, the perfect home, the perfect family, the perfect blend of talents and drive, the perfect outlook on life...

I'm jealous on every front. Can't stand the guy...

I don't know him but what I see is wonderful. You have a beautiful life together and it shows in both your beings.

Sending you best wishes on your birthday. I am sure it will be an active day for you.

Posted by Karen Ryan March 3, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Happy Birthday, Bill!!! Lucky...all a youse!!!!!

Oh, oh, oh. I live in Manatee County and work in Bradenton. It may be too late for this year, but let's work something out for next year. If you don't mind dogs and horses and island life, you can stay with us and see all the spring training games you want, plus visit with Manatees and snowbirds, human and real. Please do say you will come!

What a wonderful tribute Julie. I love the picture of Bill sitting with the row of quitars. My other two favorites are the one of the four of you at the ballpark and the one of the two of you. I wished him Happy Birthday on his fb page.

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