Giving back

Published 12:03 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bill Ebison, a former meter-reader for the City of Washington, doesn’t have to worry about dogs biting him anymore. Ebison, known as the Singing Meter Man, died Monday.

Ebison turned his encounters with dogs of all breeds and sizes into musical commentary. About 25 years ago, when he was working for the city, Ebison penned and crooned “My Dog Don’t Bite (That’s What They All Say).” It told the story of Ebison’s run-ins with dogs that, according to their owners, didn’t bite. Ebison’s song told a different story. It was a lighthearted look at one of the occupational hazards of being a meter-reader.

Ebison used his musical talents to entertain children at several downtown events over the years. He performed at Memorial Day and Veterans Day events, having served with the Marines in Vietnam. He wrote several songs about Washington, the Pamlico River and area personalities.

Ebison wrote an Easter play — “I’ll Rise Again — Stronger!” — that was performed in April at Spring Garden Missionary Baptist Church in Washington.

In his own, unique way, Ebison promoted Washington and Beaufort County. In August 2009, Ebison performed in downtown Washington to help attract people to its shops, businesses and restaurants. Ebison wrote and performed jingles about Bill’s Hot Dogs, Big Bargain Furniture, Seafood Express and Dellinger’s Pawn Shop.

“It’s just something I wanted to do. I saw an article in the newspaper that downtown Washington needed a boost,” Ebison said in an interview in August 2009. It was a way, Ebison noted, for him to give back to the community that provided much to him.

Ebison undoubtedly leaves behind a legacy of music, but that’s not the entire story of the Singing Meter Man. He also leaves behind a legacy of serving his community.

That’s a legacy worth emulating by all of us.