There are thousands of reasons to celebrate the life of Senator Conrad Burns but I will only mention a few while I hope you write down your memories to help fill the void.
He made friends instantly and could quickly find a way to relate to anyone. He had a story for every situation -- the most effective way to make a point. I particularly enjoyed his marital advice he learned in Hudson, Wyoming (his stories always had a location and a person) he said Hudson is where he spent a week one day -- but it's where he bet a friend $100 that his wife, Phyllis, could beat his friend's wife in a foot race. He wasn't able to talk Phyllis into racing, but fortunately, the friend mustn't have had any luck either as he didn't show up.
While he was a consummate, effective Senator, his love for his faith, his family and his friends really made him special. He was a man who lived by example. He was willing to share about his life to help with our lives. He mentored me and many others with his plain speaking, and timely, sort of abrupt "suggestions". He didn't waste time or words, but always had time to help.
He also probably never realized the difference he made. And I know he never realized the difference he made daily as he worked with people on legislation, much of which he never got credit for, but was effective at getting finished.
He had a special talent for speaking and presenting that always got people's attention. For example, he was able to take difficult issues involving telecommunications and make them understandable to his colleagues and hold their interest -- an unmatched talent! He had a unique ability to sell ideas that came from his vast real-life experience in agriculture, in radio, an especially in auctioneering. He could get you to buy into his idea and you didn't even realize you had bid!!
His experience in small business gave him the ability to make people understand the kinds of decisions small businesses have to make -- how many decisions and how far in advance they have to be made and how critical all that was to how well the United States does. His staff did, occasionally, suggest "others words or phrases" he might use after the fact. He recognized and made a case like no other person for how important small business was as the engine of our economy.
Golf gave him an outlet for frustration and provided relaxation -- and an opportunity for less stressful conversations. I'm not a golfer, but Conrad always made the experience enjoyable and memorable.
His ability to sell is best noted when he auctioned a special Kenai handmade quilt and got $15,000 when the best ever previous price was $3,000. (Incidentally, he made the $3,000 quilt sale too!)
I know that, by now, Conrad has had a chance to have a heart-to-heart talk (that's the only kind of talk you can have with Conrad, and especially in heaven) with his daughter, Kate, who passed away many years ago. And I picture him playing golf in heaven where he is learning first hand that some of those stories about clergy playing golf are true! I'm even betting he's had a use for a saddle again and is still keeping up on the Ag futures.
Yes Conrad, you have been missed and will be missed as your memory reminds and inspires us. Your family is in our prayers as we grieve and celebrate your life along with them.