The long walkThere’s been hard times since I got here. More trouble, more heartaches and more confusion than I could ever wish for. But there has also been more loving, caring and understanding than I have ever received in my entire life, all together. I knew, before I moved here, that Texans had big hearts. I had also been told that Americans in general was very superfisious and that their friendships isn’t true and only a surface thing and that it never runs skin deep. I have now learned that the latter ain’t true.

We had our house burnt to the ground only two weeks after I moved here, I have more or less been living the life of a homeless for three months out of six, and I have grown to love my new home and the people of Texas.

Sure, I have great friends in Sweden, friendships I have (to my best abilitets) nurished and cared for through the years. And I love them very much! Here, I have found deep and honest friendships to help me through my darkest hours simply by being honest about who I am. I have truly found my way out of isolation and my reclusive being with the help of my new friends and my faith. What more could one ask for?

So, why do I write about this subject here on AOG? Well, to start with, I want everybody that has helped me and my wife to go through these hard times to officially receive my gratitude. Y’all know who you are! But I also want to give a background to why I love the fundamental culture of this state.

When we (me and Olle Florstam) started this project it was fueled by the inspiring responses to our idea and the willingness to help us find our way to understand the importance and impact of the old barbecue joints, country stores and honky-tonks of Texas. That willingness fed the want too to document this for the future. There is a beautiful contradiction in this culture that can only be perceived and understood through close contact, and it is staggering and mysterious, and I will unconditionally do my best to impart this to the readers of AOG.

Rolling slowly through the deep mist covering the ridge of the Devils Backbone a late November day, the warm and silent morning sun against your cold skin an early February morning, the streaming waters of Blanco River cooling your overheated beer wimsy head on a hot August afternoon or waking up from camping behind your favorite honky-tonk only to find that the bartender from last night has brought you breakfast tacos from a small town mexican restaurant to give you a good start on your new day of adventures, those are all part of moments and memories I never want to be without.

I have found what I, unsuccesfully, been looking for elsewhere and all I needed to do was to be honest about my intentions. I have found selflessness!

Thank you for reading!

Sincerely

/C.C. Ekstrom