State Sen. Bruce Burns — newsmaker these days for advocating firing squads over the new construction of a likely seldom-used expensive gas chamber to carry out Wyoming’s capital punishment — was featured on Fox News. Somewhat predictably as well, because of the subject, you knew it would end up on one of the “fake” news shows on Comedy Central, such as Monday’s “Colbert Report.” Stephen Colbert labeled it “thrift justice.”
Last October while traveling through Denver, Sen. Burns and I rode into DIA from Sheridan on the same plane and shared a lunch while waiting for connecting flights. While he left a generous tip to the wait-person, he absolutely thrilled a young hostess with his habit of handing out $2 bills to persons who have been nice, or who have done a favor, or sometimes just as a greeting to strangers. I don’t think the young lady at the DIA restaurant even knew they ($2 bills) existed and would posit she hasn’t spent it yet. Burns told me Wednesday he doesn’t recall when he started handing out the $2 bills, but he’s been doing so for many years.
Sen. Burns is also a certified pyrotechnician and has been doing fireworks shows since 1988. Around here, he’s done the fireworks at the Big Horn Equestrian Center, the DSA’s Christmas Stroll, halftime at the Sheridan High School homecoming football games, now and then at the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo and other occasions that merit the special dose of celebrating that only fireworks can bring. Some times he is reimbursed for the expense, but most of the time these shows, a treat for young and old, native and tourist, come out of his own pocket.
Burns has been in the Wyoming Legislature since 1995, in the state Senate since 2003.
• Aide: “Mr. President, have you seen Robert Gates’ book?
• The President: “Of course I have. How did we let that guy become our Secretary of Defense?”
• Aide: “Sir, we held him over from the previous administration.”
• The President: “Right. So once again, it’s Bush’s fault.”
— Steve Kelley, cartoonist, Creator’s Syndicate
I remember you and recall you without effort, without exercise of will; — that is by natural impulse, undictated by a sense of duty or obligation. And that, I take it, is the only sort of remembering worth the having. When we think of friends and call their faces out of the shadows and their voices out of the echoes that faint along the corridors of memory, and do it without knowing why, save that we love to do it, we may content ourselves that that friendship is a reality and not a fancy — that it is built upon a rock and not upon the sands that dissolve away with the ebbing tides and carry their monuments with them.
— Mark Twain, American author/social critic/humorist, 1835-1910