Union County Tale
Travis The Astronaut
There was a
Man of space, a most courageous man,
Who loved rockets more than vans.
Travis was our hero’s name,
He was never afraid to push through pain.
To soar through the stars, he had followed protocol,
Chivalry and benevolence but never a know-it-all.
He had done more work on the farm than any Texan
And trained harder for space walks, boasting no infections.
Not a man would boast or fight against he in plaid
And every child would watch him leave the launch pad.
So many adventures in the dark and shiny unknown
But he would always call home to see his father's fields sown.
Always with him was his shiny belt buckle and KJV Bible
And with his rifle he always reliable.
Ten and four missions had he completed,
Once bringing back a ship that was super heated.
He was the best astronaut in NASA
Who went to college with the help of the FAFSA.
A self made man, through and through
Who made his dream of galactic travel true.
But always at his roots were family and God
Doing hi lord’s work even while going where no man had trod.
Our tale of the star walker starts in the small town of Decatur Texas. Born into a dirt poor dairy farm, Travis would wake at four a.m. every morning to milk the cows. He enjoyed his childhood, growing bigger and stronger through his physical labor. The most noticeable difference between his brethren and he was his delight in the mechanical physics of the tractors and machines. His father had been raised in five generations of farmers, but he wanted his son to have a better life. Travis would stay at school until five everyday, helping his engineering teacher. He was always known as the local high schools heartthrob. He would always complement the girls as he walked by , but would never demean them. Within the next ten years, Travis gained the money to go to MIT because of his extraordinary gift with science and math, and was sought out by NASA to be an initiate in their space program. He was the only man who was chosen to be a space walker who did not have the political influence to be chosen. At the same time, he married a young Dixie by the name of Amy.
While his comrades had brought nothing but button up shirt and slacks, he had nothing but blue jeans, and long sleeved plaids. Travis was excluded from the the other twenty-three trainees as they didn't think he would be prepared for the rigorous and exhausting work planned for their next two years. “Go back to your cows, farm hand!” they would exclaim. Travis paid little attention to the jeers, however. University was only the selection process for candidacy, the true test was the underwater, weightlessness, knowledge, and language testing. The first six months were dedicated toward extravehicular training. From the viewing station, the executive counselors watched as four trainees would plop into the huge pool they used for training, wearing their rigid and bulky suits. Travis’s group, James, Quinn, and Caleb huddled around themselves, back turned to him, going over how they planned to change the tire of the moon rover. They were called up and one by one, they began their spelunking test. The first twenty minutes of their half hour time period was taken up by them reaching their hermetically sealed tools. James was trying to unbolt the futuristic wheel but could not unbind the wheel from its axle. Quinn and Caleb waited on James to see what they could do to help him, as they always followed his lead. The time ticked down and no matter how hard he kicked, pulled, or grunted at the wheel, it would not budge. Travis knew he could fix it swam to grab a long metal bar. As he approached, he saw only eight minutes remained for their exercise. He stabbed the bar under the axle and pulled as hard as he could, slowly lifting the side of the vehicle up. James yanked the wheel off and Quinn pushed the spare on the end of the axles four prongs. They bolted it back on and resurfaced with seventy six seconds to spare. After that challenge, each member of his group respected and accepted him.Travis’s group was one of two groups that made it through graduation. The next decade and a half were filled with astonishing and perilous adventures across the solar system, always coming to visit his love Amy when he was home. He would even ask for interplanetary calls to speak with his homely wife as the spoke sweet nothings to each other. His marvelous visits to the rocky planets of Venus and Mars, and orbits around the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn quenched his thirst for adventure. He came back to his family in Decatur Texas and told them of his stories; explosions while on the surface of Mercury and power cells shutting down while flying at 25,000 miles per hour. However, he always had to come back home. Nothing was more important than family.
The story, and Travis as a character, was heavily influenced from two major sources. The first would be my current pastor at the local church I attend, Dr. Maurice Henson. The second was the recent movie: Kingsman: The Secret Service. Both of these references affected me personally, and this pattern continues in the reflection of society it portrays. Stereotyping the idea of a “country” self-made man was the idea behind Travis. He represents the “ideals of the South” as well as the embodiment of any self-made person on the easily mobile socioeconomic ladder in the United States.
The two common threads, Southern ideals and being self-made, are both very important to me and both originate with my family. Both of my families were raised in Southern-Baptist homes which reflect the values of chivalry (the man always: opens the door for ladies, pays for the date, gives the lady his jacket…). This is how a man is supposed to act, even if he is not in a relationship. Respect is important as affection. My father is also a self made man. Born into a family with little affluence, he bought his own itty-bitty house at the age of twenty three for $30,000 after going to college for four years. He later had to take over the family business, but sold it about a decade after and now is a partner in a coastal development. His life shows how economic mobility is still present in America.
Dr. Henson’s life was very influential in the above story. He was born and raised in Decatur Texas. Every morning he would wake up at four a.m. to milk his family's dairy cows. He was the image of a hard working, self made man as he grew up with nothing but is now middle class with no economic troubles. He always impressed me as he had a tough childhood with little parental support, but he followed God throughout his harshest moments and came out on top. To me, this represented both the Southern ideals of chivalry, strength, and family as well
Kingsman: The Secret Service provides an action flick centered around a young man who must save the world with skills he had recently been taught at a form of spy school. The main character, Eggsy, is immediately separated from all but one of the twelve candidates for a new position in the Kingsmen corps. This is similar to when Travis is excluded from the group of astronaut trainees. Another moment in the movie that I similarly reciprocated was a moment where Eggsy and the other trainees were going to drown in an inescapable room. Rather than following the example of his peers, he guessed at a two way mirror and busted the glass, leaking the water out. This unorthodox idea is parallel to when Travis levers the automobile up while in the pool.While Dr. Henson and Eggsy both influenced Travis, the overarching theme is definitely more affected by Dr. Henson's life. He, similar to my father, had a sense of honor that reproached many other contemporary views. This seemed to stereotype the South as a whole in the best way possible.