Sunday, April 2, 2017


Mekkar had no concept at this time nor the realization that all the best athletes in the world have or need coaches to give them structure. Even if one fights it at the time, those mentors sometimes push and help drive athletes in all sports to their limits and beyond. It is amazing how far the human body can endure past what an individual thinks they can do. Special Forces soldiers and elite athletes understand this through experiencing it directly.

During the suspension hockey training continued as usual but participation in the games themselves were not allowed. Mekkar felt that the games were the fun part and the whole reason for physical rigors and hardships of the development process. After the suspension was over Mekkar was driven and desired badly to get into a game and dish out his own hammer of affliction upon the opposition to catch up for lost time.

He was ready if the opposition for the next matchup wants to harass his netminder. Mainly because there is an unwritten rule that a player, definitely defensemen, must always protect your goalie. That is, defend them versus all misconduct, contact, or any abuse under all circumstances. Even though that is partially different to Mekkar’s belief that if goalies’ come out of their crease, in the front of the net; they should be fair game and body checked like any other player on the ice. Mekkar felt that netminders deserve protection only in their net area and crease, so they can do their job and concentrate on stopping the puck instead. He does not support the rules that make all goalies untouchable anywhere on the ice and thinks that is wrong.  

On one of Mekkar’s dark morning runs during those early days in his newly adopted home city, he often thought back to the small skating rink set up or the frozen lakes back home in the village. Part of the reason was the training as of late had been particularly and physical grueling. He felt like he needed a small break for body recovery and regeneration of the muscles. Since Mekkar knew that would not happen he would let his mind wander instead at times to distract him from the body exertion and pain he was experiencing.

Mekkar remembered back that this move was supposed to be beneficial in the long run. He also realized that his village had no real developmental ice hockey leagues or top notch instruction for the youngsters there. Mainly because there were just not enough kids to form a true youth league for any sport.

Until this relocation Mekkar had been travelling back and forth from his home area to the city where he now lives. But the more permanent move was required on his part if he desired to further his athletic skills for his chosen occupation, or so he hoped at least for the short term and maybe beyond.

There was better access to improved full time coaching, as well as, improved training structure and methods in the city. Mekkar understood that just relying of self directed discipline and ability increase could have many peaks and valleys. It would be like a roller coaster and could wane at times plus hinder development. Also, he realized that pond and lake hockey could only take him so far.

Plus, Mekkar also recognized that if he did well enough here in this location, this could be just the first step to a higher level in the future. That in turn could result in playing hockey on one of the well known squads in the larger cities down south. Mekkar also became aware of his need for further adaptation of himself and his lifestyle.

He had to get used to a fairly more mobile existence on a different level. Mekkar described it as living out of a suitcase or being on the road on an increasingly more frequent basis with longer travel trips and included further destinations away from his base of operations. Mekkar decided then to treat it similarly to a reindeer trek because that was the only comparison he could make at the time. Previous exposure to that type environment would also make it easier for his own mental stability and focus for the tasks at hand. Either way, Mekkar would always try to make each of the trips as fun as possible and fresh since continuous travel can get redundant and boring at times.

The one thing was that none of his new teammates, except for Lasse, was able to comprehend the internal battle and cultural transition required of Mekkar. This would be to a greater degree when Mekkar migrated to a much larger city later on and involved a longer adjustment period.

Lasse also had witnessed one of Mekkar’s most embarrassing moments. This occurred in that small village rink back home during a two day hockey camp. It was quite a while ago now, remembered Mekkar. The mini camp, training session was put on by a couple of the better known pro players who grew up in this region of the country. Those players now were members on elite teams in the big city far to the south. This was their first ever visiting Mekkar’s village area. Mekkar figured they were passing the time here by conducting this teaching session for outdoor recreation and relaxation purposes.

Mekkar perceived that his village seemed to swell to almost double the inhabitants when the tourists really rolled in during the peak season. Maybe he was off on the actual numbers of this but the images still resonated in his mind. Especially, when he included both village populations and visitors from both sides of the river, which by the way also served as a division of the border between nations.

On the first day of the mini camp, there was one instance where the kids were being shown on the proper methods of how to execute various face offs and drills to win draws. Even though Mekkar had more of a defensive mindset when they would play hockey on the lake, positions were not really assigned yet.

Well, during the camp everyone was still encouraged to develop all kinds of different skills. Mekkar got to show off his excellent ability in regards to face offs against bigger, stronger, more experienced and offensively gifted opponents. Mekkar was so effective in the circle for drops of the puck due to such a low center of gravity.

He seemed to be able to get lower than others which results in greater leverage to win face offs. Mekkar felt that an orangutan could do this if trained properly, why not him? He had read that those primates also had a very low center of gravity and at the same time have exceptional strength without the muscular arms.

However, Mekkar had developed some bad on ice habits and one of the session leaders tried to instruct and break him out of some of those negative traits. It is easier to get rid of them while he was still young he was told. One of those poor aspects of Mekkar’s hockey play was the tendency to watch the puck all the way to contact with the blade. Another one was watching his feet to keep control while feeling the vulcanized rubber disk on his stick. The hope was that Mekkar would learn to keep his head up at all times instead.

It was pointed out to him that not learning this lesson now could result in injury later on at a higher level. To come through the neutral zone with his head down, against better opposition, could make Mekkar subject to getting knocked out or wind up on his butt more often. Plus, the fact that watching the puck at his feet would greatly reduce his awareness of the play and opportunities to set up teammates around him.

The camp coach put a small board around Mekkar’s neck that was held by a leather strap around the back of the neck. The board would protrude out forward quite a bit from under his chin. That consideration was that he would not have the need to look down at his feet anymore, since he was unable to see them. It was hoped that after seeing an ugly piece of wood and away from his own feet that Mekkar would kick the bad habit. If only all habits were this easy to break! The strategy was beginning to work too until the next round of draws at the face off dots. When Mekkar got into his crouch and spread his legs wide while slightly bending his knees to get real low. He then leaned forward to take the draw. Just then the very outward end of the board still attached to his neck got stuck to the ice. It seemed to bond like glue as he was still leaning forward. He was unable to pull himself back upright again.

He even pleaded for help from some of the other camp participants but they just laughed at him. They thought it was funny especially Lasse. Mekkar shot back a sharp response, “Screw you guys!” while still in that awkward position. He was hoping to get the attention of one of the people running the two day affair. He was eventually successful and after a short time the coach helped him up and out of the circle. Mekkar was now glad that he also removed that attached board around his throat.

Mekkar did get admonished at the same time while being helped to his feet to keep his head up or the board would be reattached. From then on, Mekkar did his best to follow
the instruction and whispered under his breath, “Forget that board, I will break it!” The other kids continued to let him have it and gave him grief for awhile after that incident.

After much time had elapsed towards the end of this morning jaunt Lasse once again reminded him of that episode and gave him grief about it.. Lasse mentioned on their run together about Mekkar being stuck to the ice in the middle of the face off dot back home when they were much younger. Mekkar felt that he was fortunate that none of his other teammates had seen that incident. However, Mekkar’s best friend never seemed to let Mekkar completely off the hook regarding that moment in time.

As anticipated, Mekkar’s car had arrived a few days after he first did in the small city. Like any kid owning his vehicle, he took it out for a spin. Not long afterward, He did some stupid stuff with his car: speeding, spin outs, doing donuts around the shopping carts in the partially frozen over supermarket parking lot. Mekkar felt that doing stuff like this worked to get the need for speed and wacky stuff out of his system much quicker in the long term view. Mekkar was of the opinion that if he didn’t get some of the crazy stuff out of the way and out of his system early, it might linger and become more dangerous activities in the future. Remember, he was still a teenager after all.

Even though Mekkar owned the vehicle and drove it exclusively, he was technically too young to lawfully drive by himself and have a driver’s license. They normally weren’t issued until an individual had passed the tests and was at least eighteen years of age. The cost was around five hundred dollars. Everything related to the car and rented apartment was all in his parents names due to his young age. It would be smart of him to avoid getting too crazy and lose all of the privileges and new toys he had recently gained.

Fortunately, the cops never stopped Mekkar while he was driving the whole time he lived in the town. Partially because Mekkar advanced up the ranks to finally reach the A team level. Plus, Mekkar was not stupid and he would give a few of the public servants around town free hockey tickets and souvenirs. His hope was that they would overlook minor infractions such as public intoxication, drinking while underage, and driving without a license. Hey, it worked thought Mekkar, so no harm done.

This giveaway strategy on the part of Mekkar also would help him gain special entrance into other exclusive locales, dance clubs, etc. This was done by supplying the bouncers and door people with tickets and free sports schwag. Mekkar thought that it worked even better than he had planned and was way more effective in the larger cities down south.
This was also the period where Mekkar began to broaden his horizons and participate in other sports. That is to provide some balance to his life as his mama referred to it.

At the beginning of his hockey progression, it all was simpler. There was an atmosphere of encouraging increased creativity and self conceptualization to figure things out on the ice on your own. However, advancing to better teams and up the hockey ladder meant more structure and much harder training methods. Mekkar had to embrace the fact that he had to improve even quicker than before because he would face better competition and more talented opposing players.

Mekkar already had an idea of his own limitations and hockey skill set, thus he attempted to structure his game accordingly. Before practice though was the place for him to do some experimentation and to tryout new things on the ice.

The system is different in Mekkar’s area of the world in that there are fewer games and more preparatory work on skills. Practice time, even at lower levels and in juniors, has a lot more dedicated to it than in North American hockey leagues. The emphasis for Mekkar’s coaches and instructors was to develop better rounded players. So, they  could be more adaptable to handle a wide variety of on ice situations. There is an unspoken understanding that nothing always goes completely as planned, so be better prepared for some unexpected things to happen.

Also, the idea is to not want to burn out a kid on a particular sport by pushing them too hard, too early. Other cultural factors also play a part in that Mekkar, like his peers, didn’t want to stand out from the group or team too much. He felt that this lack of individuality infected and applied to everyone because of their upbringing. Even the stars were affected by this malaise. The idea is to prevent all the current success to let it all go to one’s head and get cocky. The additional problem is that this attitude includes a whole array of negative aspects for that individual and potentially their team. Mekkar knew, along with all players, that this sport still required a team effort. The caveat is that each member always has to do their share so they all can achieve success - With the understanding that no one person can do it all by themselves.

This way of thinking is the complete opposite of athletes in other parts of the globe. This self-centeredness is totally contrary to the cultural and sports environment where Mekkar grew up. Mekkar feels that in other places are infected by the disease of me, myself, and I. This is a result of the encouragement by society of majorly advanced individualism which he thinks is consummated in narcissism.

Mekkar accepted the fact that a defensive defenseman is not flashy enough to make a person stand out like a bass guitarist in a band. The offensive big time goal scorers seemed to get all the credit to Mekkar and he compared it to the lead vocalist of a band. Mekkar just did his job, one that would go pretty much unnoticed by everyone except his team, coaching staff, and the opposition. Of course, if Mekkar didn’t get his tasks done effectively the ramifications would definitely cost his squad victories.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Unknown to him and because Sirga just didn’t tell Mekkar why she chose that particular time to teach him how to drive. It would be revealed very soon afterward. Mekkar would have his revelation of this when he needed to move away from his village area. It would be a permanent move, even though the village would always be home to him. It was required for him to relocate to the closest city to further his hockey skills and a possible future in that sport.

Fortunately, it was only a little more than one hundred miles away and he could come back on a regular basis. Whether he knew it or not, Mekkar would learn and use more life skills than he ever imagined by being away from his original home. The main reason for the move was that it too difficult to deal with the frequent and long travel distances required getting him where he needed to be.

It was especially true of transportation during the winter time when the highway would become a mess at times and an adventure at others. A snow-plowed road does make for more accidents, slow down issues, and greatly lengthened travel time.

Henrik and Sirga, Mekkar’s parents, based their decision for him to relocate because they felt that Mekkar was mature enough to be able to handle living by himself at twelve years old. Other factors also played a part in the move. It wasn’t as though Mekkar was moving to a small city that he was not already somewhat familiar with.

Since, Mekkar was currently being taught through individual studies; in other words, being tutored as well as not attending the local village school, education was not a consideration in the movement decision process. Mekkar had been working for some time now, so money was not an issue and of no concern in this matter.

Mekkar’s papa agreed to help him arrange suitable living quarters and sought out some of his own contacts in regards to this situation. Henrik knew a lot of people due to his employment in a multinational corporation. Henrik also laid out some grounds rules for his son regarding the arrangements. He located a place in the northwest part of town near the old arena.

The city council was already in the preparation stages for the construction of a new ice hall on the opposite side of town. It was a strategy taught to Mekkar, by his papa, to live as close as possible to his workplace, if possible. The new arena in the south east corner of town near the railroad line wouldn’t be finished for at least a couple of years, reasoned Mekkar and his papa.

They decided together that they would come to that bridge when they get to it and work on that issue when it came about. Mekkar figured he would be much more familiar with his small city by then and they might build new housing too closer to the new arena when it was completed.

It is well to note that this is not referring to a large city like some of them much further to the south. So, transportation and traffic should not ever be a problem. But, as Mekkar likes to say, “You never know what will happen!” Plus, the weather could be nasty at times during the arctic winter season.

The Native from the North thought that if it was close enough to walk where he needed to go, he could handle any trouble. Mekkar had been on reindeer treks before, so he was used to carrying his gear with him in any weather. He was proficient enough to use his kick sled with a good sized basket to haul around town what he needed. It was also a good exercise warm up for him on the way to the ice house. Pushing a kick sled is kind of like propelling and riding a skate board on hard pack ice or snow, especially if Mekkar wanted to arrive in a more rapid manner than walking.

Mekkar wanted to get a feel for his adjusted surroundings because that was just the way he was and he knew that it took time to do so. After a while though, Mekkar realized he needed a more stable mode of transportation, a vehicle, and that his papa could hook him up on that front too as long as Mekkar had the cash. Mekkar had already stashed some money away for a car and the search for the right one was the next step.

There was a James Dean club down south in a nearby big city that had a few thousand members. Those individuals in that club tried their best to emulate the now deceased American actor James Dean. They adopted images from Dean’s time period such as the hairstyle, sleeveless jeans jacket with a sewn-on Confederate rebel flag patch on the chest, & other aspects. It was similar how people today imitate Elvis Presley’s features and mannerisms. Many in the club drove American made vehicles from the 1950’s and early to mid 1960’s that matched the image from that era.

It seemed to Mekkar that there were quite a few white 1960’s Chevrolet Impalas with what he described as having the rear fender wings. Mekkar spotted the make and model he wanted and proceeded to show his papa what the car looked like. Henrik began to make some more contacts with a few of the club participants. Mekkar was alongside of his papa and was learning wheeling and dealing strategy as Henrik went into his business mode of interacting with people, speaking, and negotiating.

Mekkar thought that they had picked a good day to be there since some of these vintage cars were being bought and sold there. Henrik hoped to cut a deal before the auctions were to begin. The whole scene was just like muscle and antique car shows that people go to see all over North America.

Due to the continual flux of incoming new and outgoing club members, it seemed there was a lot of activity and buzz. Mekkar figured some were selling their vehicles due to various factors. Maybe because their interest in the club had waned, they need the money from the sale, or possibly a member recently became deceased.

Henrik wanted Mekkar’s first car purchase to be a fairly reliable, sturdy, good quality, old steel, tough vehicle that ran well. Vintage American cars had that positive reputation in this part of the world. Since Henrik was an extremely hands on and mechanical person, he thoroughly inspected the potential vehicles himself on Mekkar’s behalf. Henrik considered the amount of slip and sliding that could occur, especially with a inexperienced driver like Mekkar, in winter weather in the far north. The reasoning was valid due to the increased number of accidents that happen during wintertime on an annual basis.

The thoughts ran through Mekkar’s mind regarding the oddness that these club participants appeared to partially worship a figure who most of them had never met. Now they would never get the chance either because Dean died at such a young age, before really establishing himself as a star, and long ago ironically in an automobile accident halfway around the world.

Eventually, when Mekkar’s papa made the vehicle selection for his son, they paid out the cash, and set up all the arrangements for the transport of the vehicle to Mekkar in his newly adopted hometown. The arrangements included details such as registration, insurance, and other stuff like that. All the paperwork and documents had to be in Mekkar’s parents name because technically, according to the national government, Mekkar was too young to operate a motor vehicle. However, that wasn’t going to stop him!

It would be another day or so for the vehicle, Henrik had just purchased with Mekkar’s money, to make it legal. The next step was to transport the vehicle to Mekkar’s new dwelling place in the small city that is named after a regional bird species located in these parts. The Arctic Warrior became very familiar with the vehicle during the long drive back home.

When, Mekkar and Henrik arrived back, Henrik proceed to go instead to their hometown village to get some rest. Mekkar needed to conduct some preparations to get him settled into his new home. First Mekkar collected a set of keys to his apartment and mailbox from the property management. He had not seen the inside prior to his moving in because his papa took care of all of the arrangements including packing, moving, and unpacking of a few of his personal items. Mekkar just gave Henrik a chunk of cash to cover the moving costs, initial expenses like utilities and phone, plus deposit, first and last months’ rent.

When Mekkar unlocked the front door and looked around inside he was pleasantly surprised and stated, “I can always count on my mama and papa to get the job done right.”

Mekkar was unaware that his papa gave an additional set of his apartment keys to an assistant coach of the ice hockey team. This was done to make sure that Mekkar got his butt up, with some help, early in the morning for his training. Henrik was wise and knew that his son was not a morning person, and still isn’t. Henrik gave instructions to the coach to dump Mekkar on the floor, if required, to wake Mekkar up in the morning to begin his daily routine.

The awakening started everyday at four o’clock am sharp and started the very next day after Mekkar had moved in. He had not even gotten a chance to get situated and comfortable yet and unfortunately that still would take some more time. There were still a few boxes strewn out all over the flat even a week later because he was thrown immediately into the fire in preparation for the upcoming season.

Mekkar thought that the solid wood floors of the flat was pretty neat considering the bargain cost he felt he receiving for renting this place. However, he would find out that he was mistaken because the floors could get chilly and held less heat inside. Moreso, the wood floor in the bedroom was a hard surface to land on when being dumped onto in the early mornings to start his day. The daily routine always seemed to Mekkar to begin when it was still dark outside and sunlight in the arctic was becoming less and less as winter was coming soon.

The Native from the North had been saving a good portion of his money from working for a few years already, so he knew he could afford the apartment with no problem. He just wished that his papa would have warned him of the morning issue situation and the extra key ring given to the coach beforehand. Mekkar just wanted to be prepared because he very much disliked being left in the dark about certain things. Mekkar thought that sometimes his papa would leave some details out in different situations that Henrik put Mekkar in. He was unable to determine if this was an intentional tactic or not. Maybe, Mekkar thought, that his papa was continually attempting to stimulate Mekkar and have his son think on his feet. Mekkar knew that his mama used the same strategy on him, but she was more straight forward about it. Sirga would tell Mekkar to his face that she was not going to let know everything needed for his own good so that he would learn some things for himself and become self reliant.

 Anyway, Mekkar lands on the hard wood floor with a thud because the coach tugged on and flipped over the mattress. This was unexpected and Mekkar would eventually let his papa know about his displeasure about this morning episode.

Mekkar seethed with anger regarding this matter and wanted to light up Henrik verbally the next time he went back to the village. It wasn’t as though Mekkar was never going back to visit the village he spent his early years in. He could catch a bus going toward that direction almost every of the week in the city. So, it was possible for him to go back often during breaks in his current schedule.

Not only that, sometimes his parents would come see Mekkar when they would need to fly down south from the local city airport. The airport was only one of two places nearest to the village to have regularly scheduled flights to points southward.

Continuing on, Mekkar was only half awake, cranky, and in a ticked off mood. After the coach quickly left, Mekkar wanted to whip someone’s rear end, anyone’s right then would do. His emotional state and mindset was that whoever was on his bad side in practice the rest of the day would pay the price as retaliation for this. Mekkar definitely thought this to himself and might have let it slip out of his mouth, “Too bad there isn’t a game today to exact some punishment”.

Mekkar was fully aware of the regimen for this day’s activities and the one thing that helped him through it was the surprise visit of his best friend. Lasse knew Mekkar better than anyone else here and was also his teammate now. Lasse had also moved into a flat next door and had to participate in the same training regimen as Mekkar. Mekkar later found out that Lasse’s mama had conversed and planned this move together with Henrik for the both of the boys. Similar arrangements were made for the both of them by their parents because Lasse spilled the beans regarding this matter. Lasse had mentioned it while they were performing the early morning five o’clock five mile run as part of their hockey training.

They would start off together but Lasse was a faster runner and more of an early bird morning person than Mekkar, but not by much! Lasse almost always finished the five mile jog in the required time of thirty five minutes. While Mekkar almost never met the time requirement set by the team coaching staff. He would normally complete the task a minute or two slower because he sometimes wouldn’t be at full capacity and totally awake until some distance into the run.

If Mekkar failed to cover the course in thirty five minutes he would have to run an additional five untimed miles as discipline. Fortunately, there was another teammate that was in the same predicament as Mekkar, as he wasn’t too much of an early bird also.

The benefits would be evident later on. As a result of running ten miles almost everyday instead of the regular five miles like their teammates, on top of the other training, those two slacker joggers would rarely get tired in the latter part of games. They both were in better overall physical shape especially near the end of the season when all players are nursing bumps and bruises.

Thus, in an odd way it turned out to be a benefit for Mekkar. He could still consume enormous amounts of food and still keep his very low body fat physical structure. Mekkar was thankful that he had a natural muscular extremely minimal body fat solid body thanks to great genetics from his parents. Plus, it helps to be young and highly active.

There was one instance later on when Mekkar went to bed late the night before or into the next early morning, he was hazy on the details. Anyway, he went to bed in a foul mood. The next morning when Mekkar was dumped out of his bed and onto the floor he was ticked off at the coach. Next, Mekkar proceeded to get up and punched the team official right in the middle of the coaches face breaking his nose.

This action resulted in a suspension from the team for Mekkar. The small victory in all of this is that at least none of the coaches ever came back to his apartment and do that again. The team staff changed their tactics and would resort to early morning phone calls or having teammates drop by instead. Since, Mekkar lacked an answering machine, because they were not that common in those days, sometimes the phone would ring and ring incessantly and continuously until it was answered. That way a team official was sure that Mekkar was up and beginning his morning preparation process, in other words get dressed, eat breakfast, etc. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


In one humorous instance, a famous college coach from across the pond came to Mekkar’s family home to offer him a future based scholarship to play hockey in North America. The coach had seen him play during a match against his team on a previous travelling tour. The pitch was that Mekkar could play the game he loved and gain a college degree at the same time, along with minimal cost to his family due to the sports scholarship. Some in the village, along with Mekkar, thought it was maybe just to make contact with him and get a solid future commitment and signed on the dotted line from him for later on. Mekkar was still a teenager at this point.

Mekkar was back visiting his home village for a couple of those days but he was over at his best friend Lasse’s house. Fortunately, Mekkar’s mama Sirga had a friend of hers, who spoke good english, over at the house at that time when the coach arrived. (Mekkar would be filled in as the details of this exchange later on). Anyway, the coach knocked on the front door along with another individual who showed him where the house was. Sirga immediately knew it must have been a stranger because they approached the front door which wasn’t the norm here because of past episodes. The door bell chimed. Sirga answered the door with her friend and translator next to her since Sirga hadn’t learned english yet. The coach asked if Mekkar was home.

Sirga was now on the offensive and asked to see some type of identification. She bluntly stated back through translation, “What do you want?” in a suspicious tone of voice. After this question was relayed back to the school representative, the coach was taken aback, visibly frustrated, and turned around to walk away. Then, Sirga taunted audibly in her native tongue at the departing school official, “This guy came half way around the world to not even spend thirty seconds, how stupid. Well, I don’t want my child to go to that school because they are too easily intimidated”. The coach couldn’t comprehend a word that Sirga had said. Sirga and her friend laughed out loud regarding this whole encounter. Just like that, this brief multi lingual exchange was over.

Later on, when Mekkar heard about this, he felt that someone had led the coach there and were hot on the trail and there might be more on the way. The rub is that if Mekkar would have been home during the coach’s visit, he would have rejected the offer anyway. His focus instead was to play professional hockey as soon as possible. It would take a lot of convincing on the part of some of his own coaches, parents, friends, and teammates to have Mekkar wait to perform at the higher echelons of the sport until later on. Especially if he were to make an Olympic or National team or travel internationally on an All-Star squad. Those advising Mekkar told him to enjoy the experience and not to rush it because these situations do not come around very often. They said to him that if it ever happens, it was meant to be.

In hindsight, this focus was a short term viewpoint on the part of Mekkar and later turned out to be a big mistake. What he failed to see, due to his youthful desires and dreams dancing around in his skull, is that an athlete’s sport career is only just a short part of one’s overall life span. That is based on a seventy year or more span of an individual’s potential lifetime. But, Mekkar had doubts and conflicting thoughts just like everyone else. Mekkar felt that maybe he grew up way too fast, in comparison to others, and didn’t get to be a kid long enough during his formative years. Mekkar entertained this thought circling his brain at intervals, Hey I am going to be a child as much as possible, for as long as I can, because I have experienced the other. Maybe it was some type of syndrome to delay adulthood, perhaps? 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Anyway, Mekkar had seen this contest awhile ago when Paalii was victorious and set the record of twenty nine pancakes completely eaten. The flapjacks were fluffy, made with sourdough mix to get that rising effect. Each one was big enough to stretch to the outer rim of a regular sized dinner plate. They were not tiny! When Mekkar overheard a week beforehand, that the next contest would take place at his families’ restaurant because of the home backup kitchen would be used also, he was gleeful. Mekkar thought he would have home field advantage for the event. While most of the others who would observe the event felt that this home kitchen location selection would be of no help to Mekkar.

Well, Mekkar had very little body fat content, which by the way was inherited from his papa, along with a high metabolism rate. So, these factors made it so he could eat massive amounts of food for his age and burn the calories right off too! This was the case with all the three boys in the family at the time, too bad it doesn’t always stay that way. But, Mekkar went into food consumption training mode during that week prior to the pancake eating contest and continually increased the amount gradually. He knew that to break the old record of twenty nine it would be a stretch for his tummy and Paalii, the current champ, would show up and be competing in this event. Even though many tried to keep this fact hush, hush, Mekkar had his ways of finding out not so well known inside information.

Each day prior to the contest Mekkar consumed any sourdough related items, like bread and pancakes more and more. By the time the contest rolled around, he felt that he was ready to kick some butt and did not drink any liquids the day of the event because Mekkar was convinced that any fluids in his stomach would expand the sourdough foods and lessen the amount he could take. The contest began promptly at twelve o’clock noon with ten competitors and after a fairly short period of time only Paalii and Mekkar were the only individuals left in the contest still munching away. Both were near the old record and soon they broke the previous standard of twenty nine pancakes eaten.

After about thirty five or so Paalii began to slow down his pace at this point and he was now some distance behind Mekkar. Mekkar was still chomping away quickly. Paalii finished with forty, but Mekkar was on a mission and did not stop until he set the new record of sixty five. A few minutes later both of them could be heard hurling like mad outside in the woods. At the same time, some of Mekkar’s friends were collecting their winnings from their wagers. Sirga refused to let Paalii and Mekkar make a mess of the restaurant restrooms for their barfing session, otherwise she would have kicked the stuffing out of both of them. Mekkar’s brother, Alf collected Mekkar’s funds from the bet he had placed upon himself. It was important to note that many of the contest participants would need some time to recover including Mekkar who required at least a couple of days, where the sight of any food made him ill.

Since, Mekkar lacked the mechanical aptitude of his brother Alf; he was not subject to specific special tasks given to Alf by Henrik. At first it started with a small project where Mekkar’s younger brother was required to take apart a radio. In some instances, Henrik did the dismantling of the object beforehand. The idea was to have Alf spread out all of the pieces on the ground or on top of the snow during wintertime, then put the object back together again. The kicker was that it better work great, just like it did before the radio was torn apart, or trouble would be at hand from the taskmaster papa Henrik.

Once in awhile, Mekkar would observe this and glad that he wasn’t involved because Mekkar had to carry out his own tasks assigned to him by his papa. This destruction and rebuilding process that Alf was required to carry out had no written documentation or manuals included, there was no public web he could search for and download. Mekkar’s papa was thoroughly confident that Alf could complete these tasks with flying colors. This perception was based on how much time Henrik had spent together with Alf, while teaching him at the same time, on various projects. They even coexisted on some high tech electronic ones related to Henrik’s work.

Thus, the boy’s papa got to see his son Alf in action and felt that he could do the job with possibly a little guidance from him. Each special task became more difficult, larger, and more extensive than the previous ones. Another example had Alf conduct the same process with a large home television set. Alf finally graduated Henrik’s special schooling class after completing his last project. That was dismantling and full reconstruction of a 1960’s rounded top body design race car. This all seemed excessive in Mekkar’s eyes. But, after Alf finished that project, they went for a joyride to test it out and push it to its limits. Mekkar drove it and said afterward that vehicle handled great and was fast too!
Alf had finished the entire list assignments setup by his papa by the time he was just thirteen years old. Mekkar thought that Alf had a pretty good handle on it and demonstrated a competent ability in these areas. Alf was relieved that he never received punishment for a lack of functioning success of the finished items. Mekkar was a little bit older and felt lucky that his interests resulted in him getting to travel to far away places with his parents instead. However, travelling with papa was not always fun and games, there was some work to be done too!

Once in a blue moon, North American college scouts, coaches, and other representatives would arrive in the area to try to recruit and get future ice hockey commitments from a few local players. Mekkar, Lasse, and a couple of others were targeted due to their international experience and to familiarize them with these various squads. This type of activity was still a fairly new practice started by some World Hockey Association (WHA) teams in this era to discover untapped sources of talent. The idea was to gain exclusivity and a foothold in those areas of the world that other hockey leagues had previously ignored. Since the WHA was considered by many as the outrageous pro circuit [Ed Willes, The Rebel League] as they were breaking down all barriers, changing all norms, and were doing things in a new and exciting ways.

Now these other hockey leagues, professional and otherwise would beginning to follow those same discovery paths. Mekkar saw this as a positive change. This development was crucial especially for him since his essential on ice contributions to any potential team was less noticed on many score sheets. However, he had skills and heart that any franchise would deem necessary. 

Monday, March 20, 2017


However, Mekkar was not good at that type of thing. Mekkar knew that he would never be a good thief because he wasn’t that mechanical and was unable to jimmy or pick locks. So much for being like one of his heroes, James Bond! Mekkar then would then drag Alf’s body into the shower, soap, scrub, and rinse him off. Then, Mekkar would attempt to dry him off with a towel as much as he could and next set him back out of the shower stall on the floor mat. Mekkar eventually got an extra bathroom door lock keys made for future use. Each time Mekkar hated to go into the bathroom in that situation because it felt like a Turkish steam bath to him and it was hard on his lungs, very much unlike the sauna. But, he was the oldest …

The Far North Native would then take his own shower since he was already there, after taking care of his brother. The problem was that most of the hot water was nearly gone and needed time to be replenished. So, poor Mekkar had to gotten used to taking quick lukewarm water showers and is still his habit to this day. Mekkar feels scalded or burned by any very hot water now since he was not used to it, thanks to his younger brother’s actions.

Mekkar’s papa, Henrik, was kind of an inventor and very much a handyman and had the ability to create or fix a lot of different items, when he had the chance and time. Mekkar did not inherit Henrik’s mechanical ability while his younger brother Alf did. Mekkar’s papa attempted to create a smaller food cooking device for their kitchen and that would also be used at times for the family restaurant. It had to be much smaller and cook quicker than a stove or oven and hopefully use less energy because there would not be a need to preheat it beforehand. One time, Mekkar had a sneak peak at their home’s power bill and it was astronomical.

It was an experimental process done for family need reasons and not financial gains sake. But, the process had to be tried out in a true living situation, but Henrik used too strong and powerful waves for his built-in prototype microwave cooking machine that he had constructed. This was a few years before nuke machines were ever massively sold to the public. The result from the first attempt was that it melted down part of the kitchen counter area. The machine sat nearby the large refrigerator, but thankfully not right next to it. Sirga was ticked off about this development because she knew there would some time delays to correct the issue and there was the need to repair the damage the machine created. The house kitchen was in fact used as the overflow preparation and cooking area for all of the family businesses including the restaurant since the diner kitchen was much smaller. The early version microwave’s issues were soon fixed and corrected after the previous minor contamination and reconstruction of the damaged area were solved. Mekkar thought that his papa made it much better this time with more features added to the kitchen itself.

Henrik had built some things himself with his own hands or on bigger projects arranged for other special tasks around the family lot with the goal to improve their quality of life. Mekkar’s papa constructed from scratch and from his knowledge a large round TV satellite dish. Mekkar describes it as like one you might see at a television broadcast station. It was built to greatly expand the available channels they could get on their television. An example of this was that they could television signals and shortwave radio signals from various parts of the globe. It made Mekkar’s house the place to hang out. Both parents thought that was a good thing since Mekkar had a penchant for finding trouble. Sirga mentioned to a family member, that the dish also helped keep Mekkar from taking off to who knows where and creating mischief. But, no matter what it seemed to find him.

Sirga and Henrik felt the more Mekkar was around and nearby the better they could influence him and watch over the sly Mekkar more often.. Mekkar had noticed throughout his travels around the world that parents, in general, have the same worries about their children and express it in similar ways. However he didn’t learn this until much later after he had moved away from home for sports. Mekkar thought his parents were pretty much the same as others as he only had Lasse’s parents and some others in the village to use as a real comparison. They were pretty much alike except for the fact that his mama was much more feisty, blunt, and would assert this attitude when necessary. But, he knew the whole local culture was like that too! It was just that Sirga was the most strong about it.

Mekkar really knew when he was in deep trouble for something especially when Sirga would call, mainly yell at him by his full complete name, all six of them. This, after she would first shout out the dog’s name or one of his brother’s full name. Mekkar would respond with a statement, “wrong child!” This would incur an increasing fury from his mama. Mekkar’s next natural reaction was to flee and to not be seen or heard by his mama, but where could he go? Not very far, as it turns out, since she knew or was acquainted with a lot of people in the area. Mekkar knew that she had her long arm of the law and she was the sheriff and his arrest and punishment would be coming soon.

Sirga thought that she was all knowing and she wouldn’t hesitate to tell Mekkar that fact on occasion. Her reason she stated was because she was a mother and they know all. Mekkar believed her because she seemed to always find out the details, even when he would keep quiet, it baffled Mekkar. That perception kept Mekkar more in line and in reasonably good behavior than he would have otherwise because Sirga usually didn’t have to tell Mekkar what to do in most situations, he already had a fairly good idea what was expected. Sirga almost never had to get Mekkar to follow her commands and do her bidding more than once. Mekkar thought many times that she was like an military officer barking out orders and you better follow them or else. Later on during his military service boot camp, the drill sergeants were a breeze as compared to his mama Sirga, Mekkar recalled.

Very infrequently, some of the people in the village had a pancake eating contest and Mekkar was feeling confident, so he entered and was determined to win. The first place winner would claim a prize equivalent to $500 dollars. Now Mekkar didn’t need the money because he was working, but he was so hyper competitive he just had to be victorious and win big! Mekkar knew that many activities that happen in the village are gambled upon, even the kids do it. Betting on different things was just part of the local culture. However, it didn’t always involve money, but could include purchased or bartered items or even services provided by the losers of the bet. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Mekkar lived in a nice house that his parents bought not long after he was born, but after awhile it required expanding to meet the families’ needs. Mekkar’s family grew in size after his younger brothers were born and then the home actually became a real settled permanent dwelling for them. For larger scale additions and projects related to the house that his papa didn’t have time to do himself would require some materials and needed labor from further down south. Henrik would make all the arrangements for this, which included some input from his mama. Some of these house projects were carried out in parts over a period of years. Some bribery, also known as locality charges and fees, was in order to get the job done.

The house had a large underground basement area built that was more than just a cellar. It always seemed to Mekkar to be cold down there because it part of it was built into the permafrost, which is only a short distance below ground. The cellar and the ground floor are not considered by the national standard as stories, only the levels above ground. Mekkar’s parents had a whole extra story, which spanned the length of the home, added to the top of the house along with an upstairs attic for bedrooms and activity rooms for the boys.

For a long time before, Mekkar had pestered his mama and papa about having his own room, especially for being the oldest child in his immediate family. Yet, Mekkar was not successful in his avocation for a Jacuzzi. Mekkar felt that being the oldest should count for something since he had much more responsibility than his younger siblings combined or so he reasoned with his parents. At the same time, since Alf grew up very fast and was already taller than Mekkar in no time at all, Mekkar got sick and tired of having to share a room and sleeping in an oversized king sized bed along with his younger brother.

Alf drove Mekkar crazy with his continual tossing and turning and swinging his arms in his sleep. Even though Mekkar would sleep near the far edge of his side of the large bed, once in awhile he might receive an elbow in the back or side. Mekkar, would then get ticked off and return the favor back. It was so difficult for Mekkar to get some shut eye because of Alf’s crazy sleep habits that Mekkar would grab some pillows and other blankets and go to sleep in a different room of the house.

Finally, after a few construction projects were completed and built each of the three boys had their own bedroom, a hang out room with a pool table and a big television, and a trophy room in which each sibling had their own wall for jerseys, etc. Outside a cool club fort was constructed with seating for about ten kids. Also, Mekkar could never forget about the sauna too! The sauna was one of those special projects added to Mekkar’s family home for a variety of reasons.

Many homes in the area had home saunas, either attached to the main dwelling or as a separate small building. Those that have the saunas could be invite others over or go to one of the community ones available for public use, since this was normal daily custom for many in the area. Mekkar understood that these hot rooms were invented, in this area of the planet, to provide personal relaxation and a few health benefits for the residents. It was also a place of interaction also.

Many business deals are arranged and conducted while taking a sauna together. For example, heads of state and big time corporate executives have negotiated some business matters there. This is true especially in larger cities down south similar to head honchos who wheel and deal on gold courses in other parts of the world. This activity could be participated in chilly weather outside during wintertime and it is very adaptable too! Some individuals, like Mekkar’s parents, would go to the sauna for a bit of solitude and what they called “self peace time”. 

Boy, it would get hot in there with temperatures high enough to make Mekkar feel like his hair was on fire. Even though he would pour water on the treated rocks in the sauna to get it nice and toasty, it was still more comfortable to him compared to a Turkish steam bath. The steam bath air was so thick with steam that Mekkar could hardly breathe in it. Mekkar went to the sauna almost every day when he was home and there was still room for more people. Some people using the sauna would tap or lightly whip themselves to stimulate and improve blood circulation and get a person’s skin pores to open up. Some in the hot room quickly drink a beer or two to prevent such quick dehydration, but would get someone buzzed twice as fast. Afterward they might go outside to roll in the cold winter snow or jump into the shallow unfrozen part of the river. Rolling in the powder gave Mekkar a numbing sensation, and he was certain that after drinking in the sauna that was the only reason for the odd feeling.

Mekkar preferred to air dry by walking around outside after exciting a hot room to let the pores close on their own instead of using other methods to shock them closed. The shock the pores closed process could be through coming into contact with extreme cold or heat. However, Mekkar preferred his way because he felt that his body had been cleansed and refreshed. At times, Mekkar would invite a few of his closest friends over to the sauna in his house. He figured it was being used for its intended purpose, to entertain guests. Of course, Mekkar would also go to the community saunas, with his friends, to meet girls.

However, Mekkar’s papa had constructed this particular sauna with other additional functions in mind such as heating up the water to provide more hot water showers, etc... This hot room was always turned on and kept in a warm state because you never knew who or when some guest might drop by the house. Thus, an all inclusive practicality was a requirement for the original building and the presence of the hot room along with the usual benefits for those who enjoyed its medicine.

The Far North Native thought that Alf always wanted to test the limits of the sauna’s added hot water production. Alf would proceed to let the upstairs bathroom fog up something fierce, even with the powerful vent fan running, because Mekkar’s brother would turn the shower knob all the way to the hottest setting. Alf then would fall asleep on the large bathmat in the middle of the bathroom floor, while letting the hot water flow from the shower head. Mekkar suspected that Alf would just pass out from the hot steam. Since this was a frequent occurrence Mekkar would then after a certain amount of time have his youngest brother Niillas or another family member pick the lock and open the bathroom door. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017


When Alf had come earlier to retrieve his own shoes filled with candy and treats away from the fireplace, he purposely neglected to remind or warn Mekkar at that time. Mekkar called his brother a devious individual and he knew Alf was relishing this misfortune of his. Mekkar then proceeded to get into trouble for his forgetfulness and the ruining of the specially made shoes. He also received a second punishment because a family member would have to create a new pair of those same hand crafted shoes for him from scratch. It was not planned for yet because the shoes wouldn’t have worn out by this time and should be still useable, but now weren’t due to special circumstances. It is well to point out that Mekkar never again got candy or goodies in his shoes when left outside on Christmas Eve, just sand. Eventually, Mekkar just stopped leaving his shoes outside on the porch hoping for extra Christmas treats, so he wouldn’t have to clean the sand out. Fortunately, sand was easy to remove and clean out of the footwear.

Like his papa intended Mekkar was finally enrolled in the local martial arts class, where his younger brother had begun a few years earlier. Mekkar was hesitant, but his papa required him to do it and Mekkar was not going to tell his large papa, No! Plus, Henrik told Mekkar that martial arts are very beneficial for improving his sports footwork and protective skills.

When Mekkar first started out in the martial arts training class, he felt stupid, clumsy, uncoordinated, embarrassed, and out of his element while he was getting his rear end kicked, punched, thrown, and flipped a lot! Mekkar figured that everyone has to start somewhere and some point, so why not now and here. At first, he was humbled big time because he thought that he had gained some toughness playing hockey and other games with the older kids on the lake. However, this martial arts activity was a different ballgame and coming in with a toughie attitude was a mistake and it changed quickly, since he was in actuality, a beginner. Mekkar, after some time, began to put some more time into it as he started to see improvement in his skills. As he worked hard at it, he got to a level of brown belt in karate and noticed that others that had this bad boy newcomer disposition, would in time, be knocked of you by those instructors and higher level students with more experience. Mekkar observed this and had learned from his previously errored ways.

Mekkar, from then on, would attempt to advise some of the others that were beginners in the martial arts endeavors to leave their egos at the door but many ignored his heed and suffered the same indignation that he did at the very beginning. So, Mekkar just focused on his own martial arts development and later on earned a red belt in Aikido. The techniques he learned here would help avoid some more serious injuries later on and one day Mekkar realized his papa did know what he was talking about and not feeding him a line of bull to get him to participate.

There was one time at home when a very frustrated Mekkar was punching and kicking at the large heavy canvas colored 1.21 meters (4 feet) tall hanging from a hook and a rope from a large beam. But, Mekkar had a nasty temper also and on this occasion had an overwhelming need to win. So, he went over and grabbed an axe and swung it in a chopping motion cutting a big hole on the side of the bag near the bottom. As the sand inside started running out onto the floor, Mekkar tried to gather his wits about him and attempted everything he could to stem the flow of the sand because he then realized the consequences of his actions and dread set in. When his papa came home, Mekkar got into trouble again, because it seemed Mekkar was always in trouble. Not only did he have to clean up the mess he made but also had to fork out a good chunk of change to buy a new heavy punching bag and it had to be exactly like the old one. Mekkar had to replace this bag that he just destroyed because his papa had bought the previous one for everyone in the family to use. It wasn’t cheap and had to be shipped in because you couldn’t just go and pick one up at the local store, here in the arctic.

Since Mekkar had no drawing talent whatsoever, he had his friend Iilvas create a caricature of the national government assigned overseer of this area. The kids would jokingly refer to him as the imbecile mayor. Mekkar seemed to think that nobody in the area liked this person, as they thought of him as a state sponsored arrogant spy who was there to tattle on the natives, back to officials in the halls of the capital buildings down south. The locals also saw him as an observer of how to rip-off more of the natural resources there, as well as get rid of the rest of the remaining native culture like they having been trying to do for hundreds of years. This, all on behalf of the state and big business.

Mekkar was correct in thinking that most of his contemporaries also hated the governor, who was not a native minority and was unable to speak neither the native language nor the local dialect of this region. They thought that he was a city slicker and noticed that most of the adults had little interaction with him and avoided him if they were able due to a lack of trust of this outsider among the locals.

Well, being kids pranksters to boot, Mekkar and his buddies decided they would give the governor a little gift. Iilvas drew a picture of the regal mayor with his head between his legs and up his butt. The locals would recognize the person who the drawing represented. The special artwork was then cut out and glued onto the cover of a 1,001 Jokes about … book and translated into a language so the governor could understand it. Mekkar, along some others, went up to the mayor’s front door as he was unaware of most of the local customs, and they left the book in a package box next to the door. Then, they rang the door bell and ran. Then, they hid themselves nearby so the boys could observe. They saw him open the door and pickup the package and take it inside the house. Next, they heard a loud voice ring out a long string of obscenities from the house.

It took all of their strength to keep the boys bursting out laughing right then and there. Eventually, when Mekkar and his friends got far enough away from the house, as to not be discovered, they heartily cracked up. Supposedly, none of the boys in the posse told anyone else about the prank. However, the next day in the village the story spread like wildfire in the sparsely populated area they lived in. Even though it was not a crime, the boys didn’t want to be revealed and prank perpetrators were never found out. So, they   celebrated among themselves by getting drunk on one of the hills overlooking the village.