Richard Crowson

It’s not always easy to figure out exactly what a prophet is telling us. Sometimes, we have to piece together their perplexing words and actions in order to understand their true intent, as the prophet instructs us on how to behave. So it is with the Prophet Samuel.

Samuel Brownback would, on the surface of things, seem to be contradicting himself a bit lately. But I think I’ve figured out his master plan for us Kansans. Perhaps it was revealed to him when he went to pray loudly and publicly, Pharisees-style, with Texas Governor Rick Perry.

If I may be boastful for a moment here, let me just say that you are listening to the voice of a very brave man. I didn’t realize I was brave—in fact, I’ve lived my life fairly oblivious to my own courage for lo, these many years.

But at a recent Sedgwick County Commission meeting, Commissioner Richard Ranzau proposed allowing folks with concealed-carry handgun permits to tote their pistols into many county buildings, including mental health facilities. Commissioner Karl Peterjohn agreed, saying, “I feel safer in a building where concealed carry is allowed.”

When the temperatures get above 100 week after week, when walking the dog makes me realize it’s going to be another 2-shower day, when I can pick fried green tomatoes right off the vine, already fried and I find myself smack dab in the middle of another blistering Kansas summer, I like to kick back and enjoy the silence.

When I got out of bed this morning, our dog Lucy did her usual dance of jubilation. Her front paws shot up in the air repeatedly, making a mockery of gravity, and she wiggled all over, enthusiastic at the sight of my awakening—sighing and huffing, then pouncing about and just making a general spectacle of herself.

Have you ever tried to play a violin? It’s crazy hard. There are no frets on the fingerboard, so you have nothing except your ear to tell you whether you are putting your fingers in the proper places. Meanwhile, your other hand is sawing the taught, stretched horsehairs of a violin bow across those very same strings. Horrible, shrieking noises ensue for the first few weeks, or months, or—sometimes—years. The closest thing to that sound I can think of might be something like what would occur if a high-pitched dentist drill was being applied to the teeth of a cat in heat.

I don’t Tweet. I’m not sure why. I’m an introvert – maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe I get everything I have to say out in my editorial cartoons or in my banjo playing.

All the talk lately about the Rapture that didn’t happen has put me in the mood to remember a rapture that I used to experience repeatedly: The last day of school before summer break. I remember how delicious that day was. Going to school on that day was a hollow formality. Mostly, we just picked up our report cards, fidgeted our sticky legs in our wooden desks for a few moments, and popped out of that school like tightly wound little springs—all joy and expectation.