EULOGY FOR CHARLIE BURNS - By Steven Smith
Thank you Shirley for this opportunity to pay tribute to my dear, dear friend: Charlie Burns.
In Jim Stafford’s rendition of Mr. Bojangles, there’s a line that says, “Say, you ever meet somebody and soon as you see ‘em you know they’re gonna touch your life? I met an old man like that once, and I’ll never forget him.”
Strike the word “old” from that and Charlie Burns was that man, for me and for many others. Now truth be told, Charlie wasn’t old when I first met him, but I never could find out his true age. When I would ask him, he’d just laugh—that rascal wouldn’t tell me—and I’m glad. I’m glad because it took age out of the equation for Charlie was ageless. A magical quality about Charlie is that he never seemed his age or acted it; not when I first met him and not 25 years later—and that was priceless. Most of us lose our child-like joy when we grow older. It’s what makes us appear old. Charlie was never old. Oh sure, his body got older as all bodies do, but not the essence that was Charlie. That’s what made him a one-of-a-kind treasure.