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Texas Trip 2009

| September 9, 2009 | 0 Comments

I just spent a week in Texas, and went to three different units. The one I’ve been visiting for years, Hughes, went on lock down the morning I was to arrive. But one was added because a chaplain actually invited me while I was down there to go on his unit.

I enjoy Texans in general. I like the hats and the boots, the sense of individuality, even the outspokenness. Texans can be obnoxious but they are so funny and charming doing it you can’t help but to like them. I think that’s one reason why I have always gone back. In the early days, when it was a struggle just to get on a unit, I just kept showing up and being stubborn and polite about the whole thing. I’m not as outspoken as a Texan, but I certainly stand eye to eye with any of them as far as individuality. Eventually they just took to me. It was a mutual liking. A friend of mine, an ex-con, says the reason there are Odinist services in Texas is because they liked me as a person. Otherwise there still would not be Odinism in the prisons. He may have something there.

Case in point. This big tall skinny old boy taught a class I was required to take this time around. He was a charismatic, loud, boot-wearing preacher man with perfect comic timing and a shrewd eye for people. He was a Baptist minister and a cop. Forget about Baptist and cop, I just liked the man. He made me laugh the entire class. He was very warm toward me as well, and that’s how I got an invitation to go on a unit I hadn’t planned on. He made it happen 2 days after meeting me.

Same is true on the inside. It’s about connections with people. We don’t wash the unwashed masses. We aren’t trying to save anyone. It’s about going on a unit and meeting individuals and sharing. That’s two-way sharing. I share my rituals and my experience, and they share their lives and their knowledge. I actually visited 2 new units this time. The Ellis Unit was a new one. It was a group of about 20 or 25. Brand new faces. The organizers had been moved or put in lock up. So I met all the others. There are always about 5 true Odinists in any group that size. Many others are just curious. By the end of the 2 hour stretch I knew who was true, and we were all on a wavelength together that will motivate the next meeting. We connected, in other words. That’s what it’s about.

The Ramsey Unit was the best, though. I’ve been there before. Some old faces from Hughes showed up, and anyone from Hughes feels like family to me anymore. Several of the men at this gathering (including 2 from Hughes) were about to be released. The ritual, about transition and challenges, was well received and an emotional experience. We were in a great big room with 50 fans going, so the whole time we shouted. But it worked. We shouted and connected and laughed and had a great blot and sumbel. The sumbel was as moving as the blot. People got up and said goodbye, toasting every individual that had meant something to him. Some of those speeches should be written in books. Some were deep enough to make you choke and tear up. When I left Ramsey that day, I knew exactly why I struggled so hard all these years and keep going back. It’s because of experiences just like that.

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Category: Reports

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