8 April 2018

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Personal Reflections of my Friend Bill

I’ve been thinking all week about what I wanted to write to / about my friend “Wild Willy” since his passing on Tuesday.  To say that we were all shaken by the news is an obvious understatement.  No one saw this coming…

Losing someone you admire and respect as much as I did Bill, really, REALLY stinks!  As usual, I took his presence in my life, his friendship and his love for our festival for granted recently by not staying in touch as much as I should.  This is regrettable.

I’ve had a few tearful moments over the last couple days, and certainly a bundle while writing this message.  One character trait that I hold in high regard, and I believe it describes Bill perfectly – is dependability.  He was my festival ‘rock.’  He brought me peace; he brought me calm; he brought me confidence.  Through whatever decision had to be made, on our festival weekend or throughout our year of planning, I rarely moved forward without seeking Bill’s opinion.

During our weekend each year, anytime I passed the festival’s beverage gardens, I always looked for the one person that made me feel that ‘everything was going to be alright.’   My buddy Bill.   He had a way about him.  There was no situation, no obstacle, no challenge that he couldn’t handle with calm, grace and compassion.  We could depend on his wisdom, his perspective, his temperament, his charisma and his charm.  It just won’t be the same now.

Please indulge me as I’d like to share a couple quick stories / memories…

  • During my early years as President of the Board, Bill would take the time to contact me periodically, just to tell me that I was doing a good job, and to encourage me to keep moving our group forward.  Additionally, it seemed that every year after each festival – he’d send me a little note to reassure me to stay on as President.  Such a thoughtful person.  In my mind though, these things showed that Bill was really our leader!
  • There wasn’t anything around the festival venue site that Bill didn’t think he couldn’t fix.  He had such pride about his engineering skills.  I’m still surprised that he didn’t have those old generators at Mistahiya pumping snow by September 1st each year!  Truth be told – he was pretty ingenious about problem-solving.  I just never wanted to tell him…
  • Bill’s work ethic was second to none on the Board, and he demonstrated this every year at the festival. I called him one of our main ‘worker-bees.’  You never had to ask him to do something.  He was always one step ahead of you.  He set the bar.  The festival grounds was Bill’s specialty… he’d be one of the first on-site to get us going, and he was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to start the tear-down.  A true role model.
  • During the honeymoon years with Sherry, I could count on a couple photos of his ‘new lady’ arriving to my cellphone every couple weeks. He could not believe his good fortune for finding someone so perfect!
  • How about that first year showing Sherry off around the festival, when he had to get my help in setting up his new 6-person tent at the festival, while his bride-to-be insisted on helping in her stilettos and jean shorts. 
  • You would never have guessed that Bill was coming up on his 64th birthday this July. He was a kid at heart, and this showed regularly through his sense of humour.  He would keep you on your toes!  That sparkle in his eye when you knew he was up to no good.  A few times during Board meetings, the talk seemed to turn to his leftover ‘loose liquor’ and our need to bring the leftover booze from the garden to our next meeting!  Bill had the best ideas.
  • Our festival always seemed to fall right smack dab into the start of harvest.  His true passion.  But he always found time to be one of our best.
  • I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell Bill, during the festival set-up and tear-down days to put his darn shirt back on! He was always showing off his farmer’s tan!    He was making all us other guys’ look bad…
  • Every year at the festival, I would make my ‘rounds’ around 1am, and seemingly without fail, there would be Bill sitting at the campfire with so many of our loyal patrons, singing and jamming into the wee hours. It would always bring a smile to my face as this is truly what our festival is about.  Camaraderie and the love of music.  If only we could have rolled out a piano!  I think this was Bill in his element.
  • How about that time that Bill performed a solo on stage to officially ‘open’ our festival in 2014?!! What a set of pipes!  What charisma…
  • … and then there was that time that he serenaded his new bride at the airport in front of all the other passengers and loved ones. What can you say…

Bill Dobson was a man of humility and integrity.  He was a role model to many.  No one more than me.  We are going to put our best foot forward to pull together as an organization, and create another special festival, this time in Bill’s name.  We know he’ll be watching us from above, singing and humming along, and dispensing his influence in heavenly ways.  We’ll miss you greatly Bill… it just won’t be the same.

Thanks for reading…

Todd Aughey
BRMS President 2011-2014
BRMS Entertainment Director 2017-2018

 

It seems appropriate to remember our friend with a song…
… and this recent country hit will always remind me of my feelings for Bill.
I also dedicate this tune to Sherry, and Bill’s family and friends.  Keep strong everyone.

 

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
By: David Lee Murphy & Kenny Chesney

She rattled the ice in my plastic cup
I said “yes m’am”, fill her up
Tell me something good that I don’t know
‘Cause this world’s been kicking my behind
Life ain’t been a friend of mine
Lately I’ve been feeling kinda low

And she looked back over her shoulder
Pointed at the sign hanging up on the wall
It said

Everything’s gonna be alright
Everything’s gonna be alright
And nobody’s gotta worry ’bout nothing
Don’t go hittin’ that panic button
It ain’t worth spilling your drink
Everything’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

So I nodded my head and said, “that’s for sure”
Dropped a few bucks in the mason jar
Felt those good old neon vibes on me
And whatever monkey that was on my back
He jumped off just like that
Right into the deep blue sea

And I looked back over her shoulder
Thinking ’bout the sign hanging up on the wall
That said

Everything’s gonna be alright
Everything’s gonna be alright
Nobody’s gotta worry ’bout nothing
Don’t go hitting that panic button
It ain’t near as bad as you think
Everything’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

There ain’t no doubt it’s gonna work out
Come on, sing it with me
There ain’t no doubt it’s gonna work out
Come on and sing it with me

Everything’s gonna be alright
Everything’s gonna be alright
And nobody’s gotta worry ’bout nothing
Don’t go hitting that panic button
It ain’t near as bad as you think
Everything’s gonna be alright

Alright (is gonna be alright), alright (is gonna be alright)
Everything’s gonna be alright
Alright (is gonna be alright), alright (is gonna be alright)
(Everything’s gonna be alright)
(Is gonna be alright, is gonna be alright)
(Everything’s gonna be alright)
(Is gonna be alright, is gonna be alright)