Follow Your Heart

Everyone seems to be worried that the American People don’t understand the phrase quid pro quo. Latin’s HARD! Well, you know… I AM pretty handy with a SMARTPHONE! Hooray for Google Translate.

I’m surprised they didn’t go with the phrase tit for tat. I guess maybe they felt that phrase wouldn’t arouse enough support…

Since we’re ALL speaking Latin now, I’d like to inject another Latin phrase into the conversation: ad astra per aspera.


When 90% of what you see is SKY… it’s not hard to dream of the STARS.


After completing his education, my father moved to Kansas City from a small town in central Kansas, in search of a job operating a printing press. He would eventually get his foot in the door with a local publisher and start a family here, calling KC home. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, my dad and I would drive three hours to Salina to be with our family. Almost every year, at least one holiday. Three hours on I-70. In the middle of Kansas…

If you’ve never driven it… the prairie rolls out from the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, stretching east across half of that State and almost ALL of Kansas. For 8 hours, the prairie grass surrounds I-70. For as far as the eye can see, cows and wheat… I guess you could say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! As a KID, that drive felt like an eternity.

As I grew up, year-over-year, passing the same towns and reading the same signs, one thing stuck out: Almost EVERY big city along I-70 has a sign that reads, “Home of US Astronaut____.” Seriously! As a kid, I found it funny that a State like Kansas, a State that focuses so much time and energy into working with the earth, could produce so many people willing to pilot a SHIP among the STARS.


Whether literal or figurative, the idea of such an aspiration seems BORN within us here in Kansas. Though this land is bountiful, that bounty is only secured through blood, sweat, and tears. Work that begins BEFORE the sun rises and continues well after it has set. Once the hell-fire of the afternoon sun has faded and the job is done, the cool evening breeze rolls in. Wiping the sweat from your brow, you can’t help but look UP into the heavens and ponder the depth of the beauty painted across the firmament.


That light, that we lift our eyes to SEE, is what guides us on our journey. For we ALL know, that our future… our collective fate, is determined by the skies above.


We understand decisions made in an instant can mean LIFE or DEATH, and swift action SAVES LIVES. When the winds start turning and the clouds darken the horizon… just as they have tonight… the pressure DROPS and the warm, moist air suddenly turns CRISP. The front ROARS into town, bending trees to such a degree, certainly any other tree on EARTH would be split in TWO! BUT, these ancient trees ARE un-earthly… THEY’RE FROM KANSAS! They’ve stood longer than I have, and will no doubt outlast ME by many years.

The unique nature of this State shapes the character of everyone who’s called her HOME. Knowing that what’s GOOD in life can be taken in an instant gives you an added appreciation for what you have, and a strong desire to ensure it continues… for as long as the fates allow.


Ad Astra per Aspera… to the STARS through difficulties.


In 1861 when the FREE STATE convened to make ad astra per aspera its State Motto, such a journey was only a flight of fantasy, a simple allegorical story of the Struggle of Mankind. BUT, I have no doubt, if you would have told those Kansas Farmers 160 years ago that some day we WILL fly among the STARS… they would have agreed.

“It is inevitable! And while you’re UP THERE, see about sending some RAIN our way…

It’s been too damn DRY.”



Author: jackcharbonneau

Husband, father, housewife, musician, theoretical astrophysicist, (FMR) Presidential Candidate in 2020, and all-around human guy.

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