ad astra per aspera

i’m a kansan. i was born here and i’ve lived here all my life. i went to the university of kansas and am proud to have been a jayhawk from birth. i know all the jokes about the weather, the topography and the ruby slippers.

when i say i’m a kansan, though, it’s not just because i was born and raised here. my parents were born and raised here. all my grandparents except for my dad’s mom were born here, and they all grew up in kansas.

almost every year since i was a little bitty girl, we’ve trekked up and down and across the state on memorial weekend decorating the graves of our ancestors. we go way back with this state — some of our relatives were among the earliest people to stake homesteading claims in kansas. a number of our ancestors were abolitionists. one was marshall of lawrence during william quantrill’s massacre of the city during the civil war. members of both sides of my family have served in the military from kansas units since the civil war.

we’re prairie people. sure, we don’t exactly live on the prairie now — and we love the mountains and the ocean and the woods, but we get antsy if we can’t see the wide-open sky and the fields rolling up to meet it.

i don’t live here for a random reason. this is where most of my people were born, and where most of us will be planted.

so kansas isn’t merely the state i live in. it’s in my blood. it’s part of me.

and i’m part of it.