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Welcome to my blog. This is a place where, as time allows, I will post comments, inspirational words, favorite things and short essays about daily life. I get to meet and interview interesting people through my job, so why not share some of it with all of you? If you like what you see, please forward a link to your friends and family.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Remembering William Burns

Sad news arrived on Sunday. William Burns, the father of my longtime friend DeAnne (Burns) Kinsey, passed away. He had been battling cancer for some time, and had a huge setback when he contracted a dangerous staph infection, MRSA.

I’ve known DeAnne since we were 4 years old and my mother was our Sunday School teacher at Christ United Methodist Church in our hometown of Lafayette, Ind. During junior high, her family moved to a subdivision across the street from the subdivision where I grew up. She and I became better friends in high school, once we were not only members of the same church and neighbors, but also finally attended the same school.

The Burns home became my second home during high school and college. I spent a lot of time there and have so many memories of DeAnne and I trying to get her dad to make popcorn for us or trying to trick her younger brother Jeff into getting refills for our glasses of Tab. We were two goofy girls making our way through our teen years one awkward moment at a time. As we did, both Bill and Mary Burns watched with knowing smiles, filled with both pride and joy.

Bill Burns was a sweetheart of a guy. He was a high school science teacher who could have been a stand-up comedian. I loved listening to his hilarious stories and jokes. I knew that every time I went to their home, I’d spend the whole afternoon or evening laughing and having fun. He had a way of telling a joke that not ony made you laugh, but also made you part of the joke. I’ll never forget the time when DeAnne and I were students at Purdue and we went to visit our friend Kelly at Indiana State. Bill thought that it would be safer for us to drive his Ford Pinto, so he, in turn, spent that weekend driving my VW Bug. You can imagine the jokes he had for us when we got back to town. He concocted an elaborate story in which he allegedly struck a poodle while driving my car, and the poodle got up after the incident and ran off. We were so gullible – and he was so convincing – that we actually thought some of the tale might actually be true.

In addition to the laughter, love filled the Burns household. DeAnne’s mom, Mary Burns, was – and still is – a stunningly beautiful and elegant woman who always made me feel not just welcome, but also wanted.

The Burns family’s Sunday Dinners were legendary – at least in my mind. Mary Burns was an amazing cook, and she’d prepare elaborate meals. Her dining room table was decked out with formal china and that meal was a big event followed by hours spent talking and laughing around the table. The time spent together was magical and during it all, Bill Burns held court. He’d beam with pride at the loved ones gathered around his table and when we were done eating, he’d encourage conversation that could go on for hours.

So today I say goodbye to Bill Burns, a man who had a bigger impact on my life than he probably ever knew. He showed me what a family really could be at a time when my own home life felt fragmented. Despite the tears I’ve shed thhis week I won’t remember him with sadness. I’ll remember him with laughter and love. I will miss him dearly.

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