In Memory

Paul Burns

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08/02/18 06:59 PM #1    

Randy Phillips

What can I say about Paul?  He was one of my best friends all through High School.  His illness profoundly affected me and Belinda, both our children and I made a trip to Dallas to see him about a week before he passed away.  By that time, he couldn't talk, but he really didn't need to..... his eyes did all the talking for him.   He made faces at my kids and made them laugh and actually got out of bed and came into the living room to see us off.  One of the last times, I remember being told.

I was so glad I got to see him one last time.  All others have been totally unexpected for me.  I do "owe him one" the next time I see him....  This story is about the last time he "got me good" and, boy, was it good.

Around 1985 or so, in the middle of the night, the phone rings.  Our boys were put to bed and both Belinda and I were sound asleep.  I answer and here is a transcript, the best I remember it:

Me: Hello  

Female Voice: Is this Randy?

Me: Yes, may I ask who is calling?

Female Voice: This is (can't remember).  Do you know Paul Burns?   

Me: Yes, is he OK?

Female Voice: Oh, yes.  I work with Paul at the Airline and he just left on another flight.  I am travelling to Alexandria Airport and have a short layover.  Paul gave me your name and number and said you would be happy to show me a good time.  I'm arriving around (can't remember).  Will you be available to pick me up?

Me: (realizing I've been had)  Well, I will need to check with my wife first and make arrangements for our kids....

Female Voice: (interrupting...) Wait! You're married? Paul knew this???

Me: Oh, yes!  Paul stood in my wedding....

Female Voice: (interrupting again. Very agitated)  I am SO sorry.  I can't believe.....  

Me: (interrupting her) Ma'am, the next time you see Paul, be sure to tell him I said hello.  Good night and I hope he gave you another number.

Female Voice:  Oh, you can be sure about that!!  (click)

Me: Turning back over, smiling at Paul pranking his co-worker.  Then my smile disappeared when Belinda rolls over and says, "Who was that? Was that a woman's voice I heard?

Me: (realizing that Paul STILL put one over on me)  Well, Belinda, you're not going to believe this.......

Nice one, Paul.  Real nice.

Being in the band, we rode together and picked each other up a lot for rides.  Paul had a bad habit of being "late for the bus" a lot.  I used to joke with him by saying he would be late for his own funeral.  Well, as it turns out, he was early.  Joke's on me again.  I believe he was the first of our classmates to pass... around Christmas of 1987, if I remember correctly.  I was in Arkansas and couldn't attend his funeral.  Heart-wrenching!

Of course, I think of him quite often and have pondered a million "what if's."   I sure miss him.  RIP, Paul.


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