Tuesday, December 20, 2016


One time, Mekkar’s mama instructed him not to run fast and stop suddenly on the ice with the particular shoes he had on because she warned him sternly, “You could fall and get hurt”. Well, the rebellious Mekkar ignored the warning as he many times did. Next, after going outside and arriving at the frozen lake he took off running full speed to play with his friends and just then he stopped suddenly near them. Unlike his normal tennis shoes that he regularly wore these heavy soled rubber bottomed shoes were created to slide very little on icy surfaces for good traction. So, when Mekkar stopped abruptly, he fell down and landed the left-side of his face directly on the ice and broke his cheekbone. There was instant pain felt by Mekkar. Despite the cold there was still a worse nagging feeling inside because he now had to face his mama after not listening to her earlier stern advice.

When he got back to the house, his mama was there waiting for him, because she knew sensed something was not right and another kid had already notified her about Mekkar’s misfortune. Due to Mekkar’s moaning and groaning she would have surmised anyway what had happened, but Sirga also wanted to teach him a lesson. So, she scolded him and then told him that she was “going to make him wait before she called the doctor because she wanted him to suffer a little bit to remind him of this moment. Maybe next time you will listen to me, huh!” Sirga knew that the local physician couldn’t do much about an injury such as the one Mekkar had except to give him pain medication and advise him to rest to let it heal up. She wasn’t about to tell Mekkar this and what she had learned about a similar cheekbone fracture that happened to herself from her earlier days.

Sirga felt that if Mekkar encountered pain as a result of his direct disobedience then bad behaviors on his part would be more likely avoided, like burning a finger on a hot stove. This is what her advanced education had taught her through various psychology classes. However, she seemed to understand that bullheaded Mekkar had to learn many lessons the hard way and from his own errored ways.

Other games were created or adapted according to the conditions by the participants such as 15-on-15 ice basketball; sometimes there were more than 15 kids on each side but still with pretty many evenly matched teams according to their individual athletic abilities. Unlike King of the Ice where all the players involved could use regular shoes or skates, ice basketball was played exclusively on ice skates as dictated by the group leaders. The baskets were 5 meters (16.4 feet) high on a pole setup at opposite ends of a smaller frozen pond or lake. The baskets were constructed by some of the more mechanical men in the village. These baskets also had a small white backboard like one a person would find in an elementary school yard and they could be set up and taken down easily by the older kids among the players.

The rule was the first team to score 10 baskets, with each basket being counted as 1 point, through the 5 meter (16.4 feet) tall hoop was declared as the winner or when visibility became too dark or foggy to see well anymore. At that point, whatever the current score was would be the victor. Trouble was scoring a basket was much more difficult than it looked with a rim higher than in pro basketball with children trying to throw up a regulation sized basketball through the high hoop. At times, games could go on for hours and since a player is unable to dibble a basketball on ice, they can only advance the ball, by skating, up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) until required to pass the ball. Mekkar never wanted to jump while taking a shot at the basket because one of the first things he learned when beginning to play ice hockey is to not leave your feet! If you jump into the air, in hockey and in ice basketball, you are asking to get tagged and will probably get hurt. Mekkar didn’t want that!

Any of the players, whether they are in possession of the ball or not are subject to get body checked and tagged hard. Thus, Mekkar and all of the others always had to keep their head on a swivel and be aware of everyone and everything around them. At any time Mekkar could get knocked on his rear end. This activity was also beneficial to improve Mekkar’s defensive hockey skills, whether he realized it or not at the time.

Mekkar would also for amusement play an army men battle game with his younger brother Alf, when his younger brother got older. The rules were fairly simple as there were the same exact number of plastic toy soldiers, tanks, and artillery on each side, but no aircraft was used. Mekkar, being the older sibling, always got the first choice of sides and he always chose the blue colored soldiers and equipment. Mekkar seemed to always pick a western nation as his side and he declared Alf’s opposition black colored soldiers and equipment as the communist Russians. Mainly due to historical distain for the big bear frequently trying to conquer neighboring lands. Mekkar thought that this is ironic since the Rus were Swedish Vikings and Russians, even if they don’t admit it, are their descendents. [Wikipedia; dur.ac.uk - origirus.html; users.mildura.net.au - vikrusia.htm]

Anyway, they would have anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes, as determined beforehand, to setup their sides in a predefined territory with snow ridges, bunkers, etc. They could only use items in that particular territory, nothing from another area was to be brought into the game. The battle would begin with Alf rolling, tossing, shot-putting, or pushing from the air or ground a bowling ball from two thirds of a meter (2.16 feet) away from the others’ battlefront lines. Whatever the ball hit directly or if it made any type of contact through rolling after hitting the ground afterward was considered dead. They removed the ones hit from the battle front, and put into a dead items graveyard pile off to the side next to but outside the battlefield zone. This back and forth by each side could go on for awhile as each of the brothers would eventually get tired of tossing the heavy bowling ball and they would take short breaks. However, there were no modifications, readjustments, or realignments of their forces allowed after the game had begun. One side would be victorious when the other’s military was ultimately depleted or the captain announced surrender. Well, Mekkar was always too obstinate to ever surrender. 

Monday, December 12, 2016


Even though where Mekkar lived was not officially considered a town by designation of the national government, he still referred to it as his home town. The country standard for a town was 5,000 or more inhabitants and it wasn’t the case unless you included all the people in the adjoining village across the river and tourists that seemed to Mekkar to visit at all times of the year. Mekkar’s village still had a special significance as a reindeer herding district and gave the natives who lived there, like Mekkar’s family, a few special privileges since they were nomadic in earlier times. Mekkar thought about this and as he got older, he grew more aware about what he called “the guilt makeup” for past poor treatment of natives and exploitation of the native area use lands by some in authority on behalf of the nation.

Mekkar wondered why various distinctions were made regarding minority peoples within a country by the government overlords posing as beneficiaries on their behalf and rights; Plus, Mekkar noticed that his neighbors didn’t trust these outsiders. He felt it was only a matter of time before those same nation-state overlords would start to take away those native rights little-by-little until they were all gone in the future. Even though those individuals and their representatives in charge of the nation had never understood nor lived in the far north, they also had no concept of how their decisions affected how to make a living in that environment. Yet, they passed rules, regulations, and laws that favored everyone else in the region except the natives. In Mekkar’s mind, it seemed that those officials wanted to totally destroy the native way of life while at the same time force the native peoples there to give up their cultural identity on an individual and collective basis. Mekkar saw it as an agenda to setup the circumstances to force them to leave the area also. Then, the overlords and their captains of industry could ramp up their ultimate plan to take over everything there and greatly increase natural resource exploitation like they have done to other native peoples around the globe. [Wikipedia; utexas.edu – gaski-newera.htm]

Even though, from an outsider’s point of view, there seems to be limitations on the number of fun activities available to arctic children. Especially during wintertime, there is more than meets the eye. Fun, recreation, and activity was not restricted to usual associated pursuits such as reindeer herding, skiing, skating, and fishing. Mainly because of the creativity and ingenuity of the natives themselves, modification and invention was rampant for playtime. For instance, there were games out of the frozen lake ice such as King of the Ice, where everyone would be pitted against everyone else. If any part of the body was pushed off the ice surface onto the snow, in any manner, that participant would be out of the game until the group had a winner and began another new round of the game. This game taught speed, agility, maneuverability, dodging, and avoidance skills.

What would tick Mekkar off would be when a small group would attempt to remove him from the ice because he got pretty good at sticking around toward the end most of the time. He had a knack for being crowned King of the Ice on a regular basis. His competitiveness meant he just hated to lose at anything and helped him in these children’s games. To keep all of the children involved, every so often the group leaders, some of the older kids, would decide that every one, especially the less athletic kids, would be victorious and let them win at this game in rotating intervals. In the long run, everyone would continue in the activity and it made it more fun for everyone. However, this still frustrated Mekkar because of his super competitiveness and he always liked to win.

The added benefit was that the winner gained a prize which was provided by the rest of the losing group. The reward was a treat like ice cream or pizza or could be a service rendered such as doing the winner’s chores for a day. Mekkar knew it was beneficial to give everyone an opportunity to taste victory in the overall scope of things; however he really hated to lose at anything, anytime, or to anyone. Mekkar was not a person to just let you win because he felt that if you beat him in any manner you should have to earn it. Otherwise, it gives a person a false sense of confidence as well as hinders a person’s character development because in his mind you cheat yourself. He knows that the world outside doesn’t just let people win. Mekkar has done his share of travelling to come to this conclusion, and in his opinion, through a lot of observation of other people on his part.

Mekkar believes to defeat him meant that his opponent was better prepared that time and in that instance than he was. Mekkar was rare, in the fact, that he outright disregarded the new modern world court of opinion aspect until he was forced to accept it, in some form, by the majority. Suffering defeat would make Mekkar even more determined; some would classify it as plain old stubbornness, than before to win the next time. This did show up as a type of ruthlessness in Mekkar’s character. To Mekkar, losing is worse than dying and to him winning is everything and defeat should be eliminated. Maybe it was a survival mechanism for Mekkar instilled at birth or a trait that would be needed for later in life. Either way, he was unsure why this very different mindset existed.

To the Native from the North, every little thing added together are examples of past, ongoing, and future trends in his life. Like a person forecasting the weather or a particular stock from the market and then basing a specific future outcome from those indicators. That is how Mekkar determined some certainty in his mind from the environment around him. That is partially how Mekkar looked at the world and that would help develop his beliefs and convictions. Deep determination is a very strong internal trait that has always driven Mekkar to excel in his life.

The Far North Native knows that he is a take charge, leader type personality. He is definitely not a person to always be one to follow the crowd when he feels the path requires him to stand alone and against all when necessary. He was a leader, even if he was somewhat reluctant in certain situations due to a benefit analysis conducted for himself. This mentality also shapes his no nonsense attitude to boot. Like all children, Mekkar would try to test the limits of his parents’ instructions and their resolve for correction of his unacceptable behavior.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


One of the few times Mekkar had a chance to use his before its time toy, a tourist operating a rent-a-car almost ran him over. It was right in the street despite the clear weather, sunny day, and few people or animals alongside the road. There weren’t a lot of obstacles there that day except for the crazy motorist. Mekkar surmised that the driver must have been distracted somehow, by what he had no idea. He thought to himself, at least I didn’t get hit by the car and blurted out “dumb tourist, who doesn’t even know how to drive”. Especially, since Mekkar was only riding his board on the side of the road and not in the middle of the street. After that incident, he was not so keen on using his created toy as much as before, mainly because he was not a fan of being a road target or street pizza. From then on, he preferred to use his kick sled instead but it was only useful in snowy and icy conditions. Mekkar even commented, “At least, we don’t play as much road/street hockey as much as we used to because of outrageous and dangerous motorists who visit the area. Well soon, we can go out on the frozen lakes to play.”

There were games Mekkar and the kids around the neighborhood would play that sometimes included all the children, with boys and girls of all ages. At other times, a few of the games involved just the older kids or the more athletically gifted ones of which Mekkar was usually included even when he a bit younger. This was because Mekkar was one tough son of a gun; some of his friends thought it was because his parents conformed him that way. Some of the ice hockey related games, on the frozen lake, were what they call shinny, pond, or pickup hockey in other places around the globe. At first, when Mekkar was included into some of these play activities and was treated like he was entering into an initiation and introduction process conducted by the older kids and there was some physical damage metered out at Mekkar.

Since, there was relatively no protective equipment being worn, by the participants. That is, except the padding provided by the cold weather layered clothing his mama or another family member dressed him in. Plus, there were no boards set up around the small lake where the children played there which included little body checking, at that time. That would change not long afterward when portable rink accessories were created by a few people in the village. Sometimes, Mekkar would encounter a hip-check in the middle of the ice surface, especially since he was a newcomer. In addition, there was very little roofing of the puck towards a person’s head because that showed direct intent to injure other kids there. People forget a direct shot to various parts of the human body can kill a person.

Anyway, some of the older boys still wanted to test Mekkar’s mettle and the initiation into their activities would include cheap shots at times such as elbows to the head, mouth, and specifically his nose where his eyes would water up and his vision would be temporarily blurred. Slashes to the back of the non padded parts of the legs, arms, and hands would result in cuts, bruises, and some swelling at times. But, Mekkar took it all like a man, even though he was still a boy, and eventually as he got older he started to give some of that right back too! Unknown to Mekkar, it would help prepare him for the future. Once in awhile, Mekkar would come back home after these episodes a bloody mess.

His papa recognized the signs and started to take him aside to teach him how to really defend and protect himself. First through boxing, hockey fighting, and later on put Mekkar into martial arts training. Mekkar’s papa showed him different techniques such as pulling the jersey over an opponent’s head, as tie up your challenger’s arms while in a fight on the ice. Henrik taught Mekkar that the first key is balance in any hockey fist fight for two reasons: you are on thin, sharp blades instead of own feet, which are much wider. The second key is not to fall to avoid hitting you head on the ice, because ice always wins and you can get knocked out or worse. Mekkar understood this through actual events and in those days most players performed without a helmet and that ones that did were usually considered the kooks. Plus, those that did don the head gear still lacked a half or full face shield like many players use today at all levels.

During this protective training process arranged by his papa Mekkar would come more bloodied and bruised. One time he got frustrated while punching the heavy boxing bag and ripped off the gloves, went over to retrieve the axe, took it and swung it really cutting a huge hole into the bag. The sand inside quickly ran out onto the floor. Henrik made Mekkar buy another heavy bag to replace the one he intentionally damaged and it was not cheap! Mekkar’s mama would sometimes yell at Mekkar, “Don’t bleed all over the carpets and the house”. She eventually got Henrik to build a clean up area with a shower, a storage area, racks and hooks for gear, etc. and a bench as an addition to the main house near the back entrance so the kids wouldn’t make a mess of the polar white colored carpet that covered the whole of the house.

Mekkar always grumbled that everyone had to remove their shoes before entering the house but realized this was a normal tradition throughout the whole nation and even more prominent down south. Mekkar always wondered why he, his friends, family members, and other locals they knew seemed to only approach the house at the back door. So, one day Mekkar asked his mama why this was the case and she responded that, “Only strangers come to the front door because of World War Two, when the enemy would kick in the front door of each household during each of their different invasions.

This was the beginning of other atrocities against the local populations of this area such as the burning of almost everything as they were leaving. That is the reason why most of the older people in our area here still know how to handle and operate a multitude of weapons. They had to shoot some of those guys back in the day to protect themselves. You have noticed a few of the old small and now rusting anti-aircraft and ground rocket firing machines from that time period hidden in the trees and bushes around, haven’t you?” Mekkar still to this day, even while living in a different part of the world, always announces himself with his first name when coming into the front door of where he lives. It is either a cultural installed reaction or a force of habit created within him. Perhaps, it is a subconscious response as to not get shot. Mekkar still does this, even when he lived by himself because some childhood developed habits are extremely hard to break 

Thursday, December 1, 2016


After being forced, by his mama, to watch and learn English from the sports tapes and films sometimes. Mekkar would put some of those new skills that he had learned into practice. For example, he would go outside afterward to play, but he had to use many words that he heard in the English language so far. That is, from the teaching materials his parents had acquired just for him. Sometimes going to great lengths to get them for him, while they were on their travels around the world. Later on, when he got older Mekkar would be required to gather these materials for himself.

At other times, his mama would bark at Mekkar that he could only speak in the english language and no other, just after his lessons and while playing with the dogs. The reasons for this were that not only to force Mekkar to quickly learn english as an asset for the family businesses but also because his godparents dog understood english along with 9 other languages. Attu has escorted Mekkar’s godparents around the world to more places than many people on their globe trotting adventures. So, Mekkar would be found practicing his new found lingual skills would not be too much of a foreign thing to Attu. Now, Attu was not a small dog when Mekkar’s godparents purchased him, when he was young, under mysterious circumstances in Siberia, Russia. Attu was a half Siberian husky/Malamute mix with black, gray, and white colors in his thick coat of hair. Attu’s weight fluctuated between 160 to 180 pounds as an adult and he ate a lot. As Mekkar’s god mama would say, “Eat her out of house and home”.

Attu was a very playful dog especially with little Mekkar. One time when an excited Native from the North brought outside a football, they got on a journey to America, to play with the dog. In Mekkar’s mind, playing with the dog this time was seen as a relief that the language study time required by mama was over and he wanted to get as far away from it as possible. This is a strategy that many kids use around the world to get away from unpleasant situations and things or so Mekkar thought. Right off the bat Mekkar threw the football up in the air and as its flight downward back to earth was commencing Attu caught the football out of the air and at the same time bit all of the helium out of the football. While still in his mouth the dog would run around the yard in sort of a daring manner challenging Mekkar to not only catch him but also take the football from his mouth. Sometimes, since Attu was so large and agile for his size he would run over Mekkar in a playful manner, not in a vicious way. The dog still dared Mekkar to remove the football from his mouth. It was actually pretty difficult for Mekkar to catch Attu and he was big enough that Mekkar couldn’t even put his arms around the dog when giving him a hug.

That was one example of their relationship that they would enjoy for many years while Mekkar and Attu grew up together. That continued until Attu’s legs could not support his weight anymore and the pain became too great for the dog. Attu lived for 24 years, way beyond his expected lifespan and then was sadly put to sleep. Attu was always protective of Mekkar, especially when he was younger, against other unknown dogs, wolves, and other non-family critters. One time, Mekkar tried to outfit Attu with warmers and such but since nothing fit, Mekkar quickly gave up those ideas regarding his boyhood buddy. Attu, due to his playful soul, was very popular with the kids around the neighborhood. All the children seemed to love him and the family did too! Attu was much more popular than Mekkar dog, Laka and Laka comes from a pretty playful dog breed himself. However, both Attu & Laka did dislike cats very much and would chase them and never would back down from them, not even larger animal from the cat family like lynxes, etc. At the same time, Attu and Laka got more spoiled the older they got, especially Attu.

Sometimes, Attu would catch birds and other small creatures and bring them to the dinner table, not to eat them, but as a gift. Attu would then give that look at the table like here’s my gift, now I want my steak and red wine because Mekkar’s god mama gave him that as treat at least three times per week as a normal ritual for most of Attu’s life, besides other treats. Attu was always trying to catch birds, and Mekkar would see this alot. At times, the dog would stand up on his hind legs next to the house. Since Mekkar’s god mama was a bird photographer and had bird feeders filled with seed and red colored liquid also. At first, the feeders were on the one edge of the outdoor house roof, but since that part was lower than the rest and Attu, when he stood up, could capture the birds there when they landed at the various food sources there resulted in some damage to that edge of the roof.

So, eventually Mekkar’s god mama had to set up the bird feeding stations much higher up on the roof. She would now have to go through the attic to get to them and take the close-up pictures of these creatures in feeding mode with her fancy camera. Mekkar thought it was pretty cool to see hummingbirds captured in full flight and hovering in slow motion suspension. His god mama took pictures at home and at different locations all over the world, once in awhile Attu would be in some of those photos. Even though it was her hobby she did make some money for those efforts.

Even with his main source of bird caught gifts removed, the number that Attu brought to the table during dinnertime never really decreased. Attu was found to be a very resourceful animal that, in Mekkar’s opinion, adapted and found other strategies to get what he wanted. It didn’t matter whether it was love, approval, or acceptance. However, Attu was never used around reindeer or on the trek and he didn’t mind because the dog didn’t have that desire to go on those journeys.

One time Mekkar’s papa made him a skateboard, well it was for Mekkar, the kid. Some of the materials used were metal wheels with steel ball bearings because composite wheels were not available to the public. At least not in this part of the world; and Mekkar’s papa modified used cross country skis. Fiberglass was added to make the skis wider than a regular ski, like snowboards today but not as wide. Since the ski board was longer than a normal skate board, there were additional sets of wheels added to the underside of the board at evenly spaced intervals. They were added so it would not bow in the middle and drag around the ground in the middle and possibly snap the board. The problem was that Mekkar rarely got to use the ski skateboard. Even though his papa made it specifically for him and was individually tailored to Mekkar’s weight, foot step patterns, etc. It seemed to him that kids that he knew were always coming over the borrow it. Mekkar lamented one time that even his younger brother got to use the ski skateboard way more than he did.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


At times, when playing outside when the northern lights were at their most active the kids would be more subdued than usual. Even the adults didn’t want to yell or exhibited an extra aura of fear in their speech. They didn’t want to say anything negative nor tick off the old religion ancient native deities while they were doing their thing and going about their usual daily life routine. Being under the amazing display in the heavens was now not regarded as special anymore to the locals who live in that area since they have seen it so many times each year, every year just like a holiday season. It was just part of the routine in contrast to the tourists who were fascinated by its newness. An apt description by the elders would be like an animal’s tail whipping against the sky while creating sparks at the same time. Mekkar has never bothered to research what the Northern Lights phenomenon really is in its true scientific state. The reason could be possibly to native superstitions or a set of beliefs in legends passed down to him from a few adults in the village. [nordicway.com; Aurora hunters - ft.com; Aurorafires.ie; Wikipedia; bestnorwegian.com; hellomagazine.com]  

However, Mekkar could never completely discount and shun the old ways because they had been ingrained internally into the very fabric of his being. Plus, when Mekkar was younger during times on the reindeer trek, he spent much time with Aslak, and they would together ponder the mysteries of the universe. However, Mekkar at other times would try to avoid Aslak when the elder would be in his trance-like state or conducting his medicine man duties. Mekkar would get spooked and creeped out by the unfamiliar other realm spiritual stuff the boy saw and referred to it as such. The Native from the North could sense, even though he couldn’t always describe it, the power Aslak had during some of their verbal interaction sessions. Other times, Mekkar would sneakily or stealthily so he thought, observe various leader meeting of the minds sessions during the animal migrations. No matter if whether he comprehended it or not, Mekkar realized that there was a whole other unseen realm/dimension that he didn’t understand. Even after being around Aslak for so long in the small village and seeing some of these activities, Mekkar wanted to stay away. Especially from some of the deeper aspects which he felt would impact him. He felt getting involved with those aspects was playing with fire and Mekkar didn’t want to get burned. At this point, the Arctic boy still didn’t comprehend what was really taking place at these sessions and scared at the possible effects upon him.

Alf called it by what he thought it was, Mekkar’s insolence, and Alf didn’t feel that Mekkar cared one bit about the old ways and mannerisms of their native culture. Even though Alf shied away from admitting that he was a native altogether. Alf felt that Mekkar also was not concerned about ticking off the old native religious deities. Alf, Mekkar’s younger brother, had even said this a few times previously by describing Mekkar as having a smart mouth and manner of speech. The sibling stated that it was also getting worse by the day as Mekkar got older. Mekkar thought this was an unjustified perception of him by his sibling considering that Alf rarely admitted his native status to avoid persecution and negative judgment by others. Mekkar commented that his brother could get away with this due to his non-native appearance. Alf would go on to describe that his older sibling as showing early hints of a screw you attitude towards the world in some aspects of Mekkar’s character. Mekkar thought Alf was sort of judgmental against him when he was attempting to avoid that very thing from outsiders. Alf had pointed out, what he thought was the recognition of these flaws regarding Mekkar to his face. Still, Mekkar just brushed them aside and attributed those comments as just part of sibling rivalry issues.

Mekkar feels that no being, high or low, or person should receive automatic respect from him because of one’s position in life or occupation, no matter who they are. He knows that his belief in that area is extremely contrary to most people. To Mekkar, one has to earn his respect on an individual case by case basis. Mekkar also has this concept, that he is so well adjusted enough and has a fairly good level of knowledge of the world, as a result of his travels, reading, and through other methods of learning. Mekkar reveals this attitude and point in one of many blunt statements, “If I don’t know who you are, then you are not a star. It doesn’t matter who or how big or famous you think you are.” Mekkar knows this is a cocky stance and refuses to back down from it and this thinking has never wavered in Mekkar’s mind even to this very day and it will definitely never change with him.

On the other hand, Alf and Lasse both are of the opinion that there is just a little too much cockiness on the part of Mekkar. When they noticed that trend, they increased the amount of pranks they would play on him. The idea was to try to temper that big ego they feel is growing too quickly and put him in his place. Basically, Mekkar’s younger brother and best friend think Mekkar is full of himself most of the time and just likes to run his mouth. Other adults regard it as a matter of a teenager who thinks that they know everything and are always right about everything. But, adults usually know that is not the case and have learned from experience that the opposite is true. If a person is honest, what parent hasn’t encountered that in their children, especially teenagers, anywhere on the planet?

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Not long after Mekkar started working, more expectations & increased responsibilities were placed upon him. Mama would tell Mekkar that if he wanted clean clothes, he would now have to wash them himself since now he was old enough to start helping out the family around the house too! So, at his young age, little Mekkar would go collect the washboard along with his dirty clothes and cleaning supplies and head down to the calmer, but still flowing part of the river to wash his clothes by scrubbing them on the board that was propped up against him and in an up and down motion. Mekkar had selected a location of the river that was not the same area where he and his friends would catch fish. After all, he didn’t want to get swept away by the river’s current but needed enough flow to send the soapiness down the river. Mekkar’s mind was very focused on his task at hand, because one slip-up and he or one of the items he was washing might be gone for good by floating down the river. He would be expected to go through his whole basket of clothes, however, there were some delicate items that needed to be specially cleaned, but not dry cleaned, and that were exempt from the board less they be ruined.

Sometimes, his mama would blurt out as a reminder to him that “the washer and dryer is not for your personal use, their operation had a priority that was for the business. You could use it for items related to the family restaurant and tourist businesses and usually when you were working only. It’s for the tourists and those working in the business, not for you and your friends,” his mama bellowed. These privileges were extended only when functions related to the family and work were involved. Mekkar’s mama would also rebuke him, when he would share reindeer meat that was drying on the line with his friends, saying “leave some for the rest of us, the ones who worked through the process from raising the animals to drying/curing the meat to make it edible for human consumption, otherwise it will all be gone!” Part of the reasoning was that it was a management of the reindeer meat resources, so there was an account of where it was all going. Some to the tourists that ate in the restaurant, some for family enjoyment, and then have a bit to share with a few others. But, she knew that if the decision was left up to Mekkar the meat would have been all gone quickly with a very limited number of people enjoying the rich and tasty morsels of this delicacy.

Even when Mekkar’s family stopped being nomadic on a greater basis and became more permanent with a family home, things were still highly organized. The main meal of the day, was usually in the middle of the afternoon, about 2pm or so, and the preparation of the dinner table was important. No, the people do eat buffet style meals on a daily basis, just on a few specific holiday occasions and that is only a few times per year. This tradition is even more pronounced normally down in the south part of the country where the national culture reigns supreme, because if the natives ate like that every day they would be way too overweight, 600 lbs each, and would never get any work done. The preparation work for wintertime is always part of the life cycle that is a part of life in the Arctic environment. Each of the children was expected to clean and set up the family table, specifically their own items required to consume food with. Each kid, in Mekkar’s family, had their own plate, bowl, cup, fork, spoon, and knife individually engraved, marked, or labeled with their initials or something similar in regard to marking. If the utensils were not cleaned or setup ready for and prior to dinner time then they didn’t get to eat dinner. Mekkar had to learn this lesson the hard way a few times at first, but because he didn’t relish missing the best and most abundant meal of the day, he wised up fast. It was no fun to miss meals, especially good and tasty ones, and watch his family munch away without him. 

It wasn’t like Mekkar could order pizza with a few toppings down the street, from the local eatery, and then be able to sneak it by his mama without her knowing. His mama would remind him, once in awhile, with statements such as “I am a mother and that means that I am All-Knowing and All-Seeing.” She inferred this comment in regards to him on a personal level. Mekkar would respond in his mind like Oh! I can’t do anything without getting caught. Thus, Mekkar started to suspect that maybe his mama had special powers like Aslak the shaman. Mekkar already knew Aslak pretty well, due to quite a bit of interaction with him in the village, so Mekkar thought that he knew that his mama was not a shaman or one with that type of ability herself, but maybe he was wrong.

Mekkar just thought that she was a bit cocky and now knew where he received this character trait from. Mekkar’s mama, Sirga, didn’t put up with any grief from anybody and had a no nonsense personality, another trait that he acquired from his mama. The Native from the North knew that as a boy, he would be a person that would push the limits of his mama’s patience. It was kind of a game with him, in his subconscious mind that he wasn’t always aware of. However, Mekkar always knew when he crossed the line and Sirga’s wrath would be exposed in regard to him. When she would yell out first the dog’s name, his bother’s full name, and then his full name, all 6 of them, in a strong, ticked off manner; He knew that his rear end was cooked and he was in real trouble. Sometimes, his reaction to his short tempered mama’s fierce anger was to get as far away as possible and go down to the river. Another option was to go to a friend’s house for awhile, even at times for days. While leaving to avoid his mama’s wrath, he would respond with an unwise comment or a distaining gesture. Sirga would yell once in a while, “If you go to your best friend Lasse’s house I will have his mother beat your butt for me”. In that small town or village, Mekkar felt that he never could escape his mother’s punishment whether it was warranted or not. Maybe, this was the beginning of the worldwide adventure streak developing within Mekkar.

In another instance, Mekkar would at times leave his toys around the house and scattered throughout his room after playing with them and his mama would bark at him to “pick up your toys or I will throw them out”. On a few occasions, Mekkar would ignore the bark from his mama. Unfortunately, the bite was worse because his mama would carry out her threat and throw the toys away in the trash. Then, Mekkar would get spanked and his mama would sometimes use anything she could grab close by to do it with, a large kitchen spoon, a book, a wooden piece, etc. Other times, she would force Mekkar to go get a tree branch or a stick for his own butt whipping and if the stick or branch was too small or not strong enough, she would keep sending him back out until she was satisfied. Mainly, the punishment would occur for not obeying her and Mekkar would receive another round of the spanking from his papa with his extremely large hands that would resonate with a loud crack on Mekkar’s behind. The second punishment was due to Henrik, Mekkar’s papa, being upset because he would to reconstruct and recreate some of the freshly discarded toys. Mainly, because Mekkar’s papa would make some of the toys by hand-crafting, carving, & cutting them from wood. Plus, that would Henrik’s time away from other needed to completed projects, whether they related to his papa’s work or not. Projects such as various to-do tasks around the property because there seems to always be something that requires fixing, it is never all finished.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


As Mekkar grew and became further advanced for his age, both in body and mind, he was required to experience integral certain cultural rituals. One was such that occurred when Mekkar reached the age of 4. Mekkar felt he was ready for the induction ceremony, as he had seen a previous similar one beforehand. This ceremony existed for a few reasons that he couldn't figure out. Mekkar would fully understand later on in adulthood, that this ceremony began an experience and process for cultural and "self-life preservation". While at the same time, come out of a need for practical reasons.

The feeling was that in a nomadic culture, if one, no matter how small, young, or insignificant they thought a person seemed - that individual had to contribute to the tribe, in a physical manner, as part of a whole. The thinking was that if each part “pulled their weight" the whole would go with increasing smoothness. Otherwise, non-contributors would become a burden to entire group and negatively affect the collective.

Thus, the reasons behind why those who are so physically or mentally challenged, the infirm, and those too old to contribute are left behind. Usually, left to freeze to their last breath in the winter or sent to any relatives outside the region that can accommodate them. This selective Darwinism is according to the nomadic cultural thinking necessary for survival of the whole tribe. Otherwise, like a domino effect, those who cannot pull their own weight can put the whole group in grave danger and cause unnecessary suffering.

Although this application of selective Darwinism is considered cruel by modern society, the opposite affect could be total annihilation for the whole group. The reasoning behind this was that the surrounding Arctic environment is so fragile. It is quick to reattribute against such problems such as over-population through lack of food supply. Mekkar listened to, but did not comprehend, these words during the nightly sauna discussions by the leaders of the tribe.

Many methods of action, carried out by a collection of a certain society's members, are attributed through their cultural beliefs and environment. Another basic belief by the tribe was that you only take what is needed at the current time. So, that the environment could resupply the tribal members the next time they journeyed through a specific area. This is due to the slow recovery, and possible irreparable damage that could be done if over-used.

Added to the belief was the agreement that no modern technology could change this state of affairs. Possibly, because of the massive expense and potential of little profitable gain to justify the investment. Also, there is the notion that the more advanced the technology used - the more havoc would be created. This presumption is based on a degree of further distancing itself from the original provision of nature. An example referred to is the 20th century situation in Antarctica.

These were biases that would influence and shape Mekkâr's thought processes for the rest of his life. He would understand, at a later time, the purpose for this ceremony. Additionally, match it with the conversation pieces he had heard during the past few days leading up to the event.

It was seven days prior to Mekkâr's birthday. The place was in a valley near a semi-iced over river. The river, was more a large stream, was beginning to flow a bit, next to the bank. The top layer of ice, in the center, continued to thin out. This region was "caught" between the big hills and small mountains, to the north and south. No one had a map of the area, as the tribal leaders had been through this place many times, and so knew their way.

All the members of Mekkâr's family were present - his mama Sirga, father Henrik, and little brother Alf. Others on this trek were Sirga's parents, the village chief Raauno, the shaman Aslak Mekkar, and of course, other members of the group.

For this important event, Mekkar appeared in a brand new winter costume. The tunic was in a deep blue and had brightly colored stripes on the shoulders. The pants were made with still tough reindeer skin and needed to be stretched or broken in a bit. The shoes were warm, dry and full of fresh, matted straw-grass in them. They were water-proof and made with an upward curve on the toe to slip-on cross-country skis, if desired. The hat straight, and standing tall - even slightly dwarfing the inductee's head. These special clothes, as well as, all of Mekkar's clothes were made by his mama or grandmama.

A few ditties were sung by the surrounding group, at the same time one preformed by Mekkar himself. After that, the shaman proceeded over the event and carried out specific duties that were required. Rituals, such as the sprinkling of the reindeer blood on and around the altar. Another instance was the recipient wearing the "helm of horns" as he approached the altar to the rythmatic beat of the shaman's drum. The altar itself was made of stone and was a permanent structure. Various tribal symbols surrounded the outdoor shrine. In a short period of time the ceremony was completed. Mekkar now was treated differently as a result of graduating to this stage. Then, his working career had begun.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Then, one day, Bam! Out of nowhere and unexpectedly, Mekkar overhears a young lady tell another that they hear that Mekkar's mama is pregnant and about to have another child. This was a dramatic turn of events "floored" little Mekkar, who was young himself. He was surprised and bothered about this news and its possible affect on him. He thought, "How could this happen to him!" and was disappointed that nobody warned him ahead of time.

He was confused about how he should react to the news of this event, as well as, how he would have to help care for the young sibling. Also, he felt that he wasn't old enough to do this and be a "big brother". He was furthermore upset that no one would pay as much attention to him anymore, since he currently was "the cat's meow". It seemed to Mekkar that his upcoming brother would become the "new special one" and that Mekkar would be the forgotten one.

Later on, when the little brother had arrived, Mekkar was still jealous and even a little bit resentful of Alf. This is where the competition begins between the brothers. Mekkar attempted to take care of his little brother from time-to-time, but didn't always know how to make this small creature understand and relate to him. Mekkar was thought to be mature for his age, but his "real immaturity" was revealed in these situations because Mekkar would get easily frustrated with Alf.

No matter what Mekkar believed, he couldn't comprehend that infants were not able to communicate in a similar manner as fully developed individuals. Added to the fact, that even though Mekkar was learning many languages at this time - he still was not even close to being "fully evolved" yet. However, eventually in time, Mekkar would come to appreciate his sibling and Alf's affect on him!

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Alf was known as the go-between on both sides since he was the only one there who had a full command of both spoken tongues at the fiesta and inebriation session. Alf translated for Mekkar a comment made about him by one of the Russians as, “At least Mekkar is too drunk off to dish out anymore punishment right now like he did at the rink. That crazy dude! He (Mekkar) got worse when the score became lopsided and had gotten out of hand. He didn’t care and played tonight like one of the vicious Canadian squads of past tournaments.” However, Alf’s translation abilities were hit and miss at this point because the youngster was also greatly affected by the spirits he had consumed. Alf was at the same time laying on the floor right next to his brother. One could hear Mekkar only sometimes acknowledge his sibling with a murmur or an undecipherable sound. The older one, Mekkar, was in his own dream-like state and was fortunate to drink the good vodka this night and thus avoiding the homemade alcohol. Despite that, even in this frame of mind Mekkar would have gulped down that booze too, if that is all there was available.

After the blowout of the last match and the drinking episode at the dacha, Mekkar thought the poor treatment and mind games on the part of the host authorities actually improved somewhat. Even so, it would have been better if they had not confiscated the last shipment of alcohol from home some of the Selects’ players had arranged to tide them over. It was about then, Mekkar and those in his little clique among the squad began to overhear biting comments regarding his team. Government officials, police, and others on the street would make statements like, “We don’t have to worry about them too much since they are young and not good competition for our players and teams. This showed when the Red Army kicked their butts so bad the other night.” Of course, this is how Alf interpreted it for the guys. “At least, they gave us a break and less hassles since the drubbing,” positively quipped Mekkar. Still, the Arctic Warrior was still not amused.

The Native from the North had an inkling that the result could have been much more lopsided regarding the score. Mekkar was of the opinion the host Russian club let up a bit in the latter part of the game. He thought they started to eventually use the match as an opportunity to get some work in against live competition. In other words, shore up and focus on some weaker aspects of their game strategy and tactics for future tougher opponents.

Lasse and Mekkar had a discussion at the beginning of this world wide tour about the perception regarding the Selects as a squad. The Selects were aptly described as a collection of misfits, trouble makers, rebel rousers, and cast offs which in a way fit Mekkar. There was also a sense on Mekkar’s part that their skilled opponents could see those aspects as well. In his mind the Russians saw that Mekkar’s squad was hastily put together and they took advantage. The Soviets always used the opportunity to show that their sports system and clubs were superior in every respect as compared to the rest of the world. Mekkar distinguished this same haughty attitude as being displayed in major international tournaments, as well as, the annual World Championships and The Olympics.

Alf’s older brother, Mekkar was not the only one on the team who felt that the leadership of his nation’s hockey federation sought to find out if this group could jell as a team. However, it was a hard thing to ask for a lot of successful cohesion in such a rapid manner. The Selects executives and their bosses wanted to observe any individual examples of responsiveness and the ability to thrive under pressure. It was determined that those factors would go a long way to decide who does and doesn’t participate in other pursuits with various hockey possibilities at higher echelons. Mekkar thought that it was just another exhibition of position where head honchos always want to assert their power and influence on any given situation.

The Selects next opponent was no slouch either. Dynamo Moscow was usually looked at as the second best hockey club in the whole of the Soviet Union. They had talented athletes who also performed admirably against the professionals and squads from Canada and the United States. Since the Red Army first string team only had a limited number of slots available some of the other similarly talented Russian hockey players would land here. Other squads that called the capital their home would absorb talented individuals also. Alexander Maltsev and Valeri Vasiliev were two of the better known players that dotted this Dynamo roster. They were well known for their participation in the 1972 Summit Series versus Canada [hockeydb.com; eurohockey.net; chidlovski.com; Wikipedia]

Due to his Russian language skills, Alf warned his Selects teammates and especially his maniacal brother Mekkar about this matchup. Alf mentioned that this club was related in some manner to a security apparatus or organization like the police or the infamous and dreaded KGB. The young Alf said that most, if not all, Dynamo squads are set up in this way. Alf flatly said to his older sibling, “Don’t get too outrageous or do something really stupid in this game against this team or they might throw you in jail here in Russia. I would feel sorry for you. They could also still later on banish you to a gulag in the eastern part of the country. Good luck ever getting back home, if that happens. Many World War II prisoners from the German military never made it back home following the war, if you are familiar with past history.”

Not that Alf realized it or not but his comments unintentionally screwed up the Selects in their game preparation for this match. Due to their lack of aggressiveness as a team the game plan execution was lacking also. Mekkar was even less effective as well because his game relies so much on his drive and aggressiveness factors for success. The result ended up with the Selects being stomped nine to one and it could have been much worse.

Even though the Selects were not scheduled to face off versus a more talented Moscow Spartak club, they did have to have to square off against a younger and hungrier team. The Soviet Wings squad was not short on skills or ability either. The Wings would achieve an overall winning record when matched against pro franchises in North America during this era. Despite not being as well known as some other Soviet star players, the Wings’ roster still was represented by players who donned the USSR jersey in international play. Alexander Bodunov, Yuri Shatalov, Yuri Lebedev, Yevgeny Zimin, Alexander Sidelnikov and more filled in at times, on those powerhouse squads, versus the world.

Mekkar remembered the ice surface that day as being more conducive for speed. The Wings took a decided advantage of their speed and experience over the Selects by running away with a ten to three victory. Mekkar didn’t feel that the Soviet Wings club were very physical but he exclaimed, “Boy they could skate and were fast too!” Mekkar thought that weariness of his team contributed to the shellacking they received. Since Mekkar hated to lose the only positive he could see was the barometer of what he needed to do and continue to develop. There were many more lessons for him to learn to elevate him to higher levels in the hockey world. Now the trip home would give him some time to heal up the bumps, bruises, and that shattered hand to prepare him for future battles on the ice. Unfortunately, Mekkar wouldn’t get as much time as he hoped.

Friday, September 30, 2016


There was a barrage of constant interruptions throughout the night and on the day of the game as cautioned earlier. Mekkar was mindful of the intentional nature of these actions due to the forewarning before ever leaving home on this whirlwind tour. Despite this being aware of this environment Mekkar still became irritated. Mekkar considered this as a problem and was cherishing the chance to exercise his wrath. He would get his opportunity to dole out payback that night as a result. Mekkar’s disposition is to get ticked off and get even by reacting in a specific manner while knocking some heads in.

Mekkar started the game and got his revenge in a physical manner and hit everything in sight on the ice. He judged most of the Selects squad and said they had too much respect for the Soviet champions. The Arctic Warrior was like a man possessed and showed no fear while carrying out his own sense of ice frontier justice of punishment. It got to a point where even the opposition players did not want to provoke him anymore with nasty stickwork. Mekkar spent a lot of time to think and ponder the ongoing match from the penalty box. Alf’s older brother had seen quite a few tapes, etc. and knew what to expect in the game itself from the Red Army club.

The young man from the arctic had the best statistical night of all the Selects defensemen despite spending so much time in the sin bin. He was only a minus one which means that the other squad only scored one more goal than his team while he was on the ice. Lasse said the stats were misleading because it might have looked better if Mekkar had not made his team short-handed so often by taking frequent aggressive penalties. Still, the Russian club possessed quite a bit of speed and talent. Kharlamov himself undressed Mekkar on the ice with an incredible move and then immediately scored a goal.

Right before the match Mekkar had implored his Selects teammates to adopt a successful strategy that worked against the Soviets in Quebec City. He had Alf translate a newspaper article for him that revealed a tactic to interrupt the commonly used flow and weave game. Mekkar was willing to combat and overcome the well schooled style of smart, elegant, and officially clean hockey. A method with a penchant for connecting on longer breakout passes to create odd-man breakaways to rack up the goals. [1972summitseries.com; chidlovski.com]

However, Mekkar’s teammates did not heed his advice and it was to their demise. Also, later on in the game several members of the Selects just ignored anything the Native from the North said and counted him responsible for the Selects handicapped situation. The Selects were effectively crushed eleven to two. They failed all over the ice that night even while Mekkar dished out some devastating hits. One of the few positives was that none of their players were seriously injured in this debacle. None of them wanted to visit any hospital facility there as a patient. The players had been previously told stories about the doctors performing operations without anesthesia while the subject is fully awake during the procedure. Mekkar’s response was, “No way! I will wait until I get back home for anything like that. No surgery here for me.”

After the drubbing and post-game formalities such as both squads exchanging of gifts, the fun part was about to begin thought Mekkar. Some of the Soviet players had invited a few of the Selects athletes over for a get together, that is - a party. The Russians had heard that their young opponents could consume considerable quantities of drink. So, they had to test Mekkar and a number of his teammates to see if the alcohol intake rumors were correct.

Mekkar got into one of the host’s vehicles along with Alf, Lasse, Johan, and another to journey to unknown location. He didn’t know where he was being taken to but felt, for some unexplained reason, secure in the fact he had some quality booze with him. As the crew started to roll along the streets further away from the city center some nagging thoughts crept into Mekkar’s mind. Were the agents still watching them? He supposed, that finally, officers and the like would leave him alone and not hassle him or any of the other visiting hockey players. Mekkar’s reasoning was where would they go when they didn’t quite know where they were. Plus, they were with some of the most famous athletes in the country and were visible in that sense.

They finally reached the outskirts of the capital and arrived at one of the home side player’s little home. Right then a numbers of cars rolled up onto the scene and Mekkar quipped, “Now! We have a party.” Many of the cluster went inside and participated in activities like card games while ingesting copious amounts of drink. While the music was in the blaring in the background, Mekkar noticed that the host individual’s family was absent from the premises. He then downed more booze and didn’t concern himself with anymore trivial matters like that.

Both Mekkar and Lasse esteemed themselves lucky that Alf was there because he was the go between to break any language barriers. The young Alf was a valuable asset as to the interaction between the two team’s players at the party. There were not a whole lot of people there including a lack of females. The goal was to get totally blasted and Mekkar was fine with that. In time, most of the group were so wasted that many had landed on the floor, sprawled across coaches, and a couple ended up under a table passed out drunk. There were only a small number that were even remotely conscious, as most were in a stupor.

When the phone rang there was a collective groan in the room and everyone just neglected to answer it including the property owner. He was sort of hanging halfway out one of the windows basically toasted. One person asked if anyone was going to pickup the phone. Another responded, “Who cares, leave it alone. Anyway, I am too drunk to get up off of the floor.” Mekkar wouldn’t answer it because he didn’t speak the local language. Plus, it wasn’t his residence. Plus, he was still in a semi-aware catatonic hammered state and fairly unmoved, along with others, on the floor also.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Sixth, expect your hotel rooms, cars, busses, etc. to be bugged so be careful as to what you say all times. Their goal is to make you paranoid and distracted in a manner as to negatively affect your performance during a match. Seventh, bring multiple sets of top notch ear plugs to help block out all noise and interruptions. The phone will certainly ring during your afternoon nap; late night phones calls to wake you up, and flicking hotel room lights. Plus, fire alarms will go off in the middle of the night to also disturb your sleep. Not to forget, bugging the phones of all of the visiting player’s quarters. Many other out of the ordinary events will occur to throw you off of your routine.

Use these occasions as a trigger to foster more team building among yourselves. Increase the cohesiveness of this squad in a manner with a focus of it is us against the whole world and use it as motivation. Eighth, bring your own preferred alcohol and possess it on you. Otherwise it is assured to be stolen and you will be stuck having to borrow some from one of your teammates. Barring that, reduced to drinking nasty tasting homemade vodka most likely made from your own hand. There was a lot of additional advice and tips stressed to the players.

Anyway, Mekkar was still upset at the ever changing schedule and itinerary of this tour. He, along with his team, was informed in the air to be prepared to play three different clubs located in the Moscow area. This had been expanded from just one as originally planned. The Selects players were told that it was to make up for previously cancelled games and also for the long break they had in Africa.

When the Selects had touched down in Moscow and got off of the aircraft events happened almost exactly as they were described beforehand and warned about. It was fortunate that Mekkar heeded the pre-trip advice and purchased some less expensive goods during the North American part of the journey. Those items were originally intended to be taken back home. He now decided to sell those items behind the Iron Curtain for a tidy sum profit. Mekkar was not the only team member to do this, even a couple of the coaches got into the act by bringing alcohol that couldn’t be found here. The players just expected those coaches to drink it in style instead. Boy, they were wrong!

The KGB agents and a few of the military personnel they encountered since disembarking their flight and on the way to the hotel appeared to Mekkar to be very smug toward them. It seemed that way throughout their whole stay there. Mekkar distinguished the steely eyed looks and cold stares as a type of borderline arrogance. Takes one to recognize another haughty person. Unknown to the hosts, Alf was a secret weapon in the Selects arsenal since he was fluent in the Russian language. Mekkar and other teammates were always pestering Alf to translate for them. They were continually asking Alf, “What did they say?” over and over again. Alf knew his older sibling was a pain in the butt and now he felt the rest of the squad was acquiring this defective trait from Mekkar. Well, Sirga’s expansive language plan was at least being put to good use after all and outside the scope of the family business.
After checking in at their temporary quarters them boys ventured out around the capital city. They soon broke off into smaller groups and pairs to track down the locations to unload their goods. Mekkar was eager to make some exchangeable cash and wanted to get rid of the smuggled articles on his person. He had a sense that the government security people were following him, Lasse, Alf, & others were sort of letting them slide. Mekkar felt those authorities were overlooking minor breeches of the law and protocol with regard to bringing items from outside the country. He thought that they might pounce on the recipients after they leave. Mekkar was of the opinion that the agents were looking for a handout or a bribe to look the other way. He knew this is a normal practice with police and state figures all over the world. Yet, Mekkar did not dare to do this because he did not know who he could trust there.

It dawned on Mekkar when he looked around the place as to why the locals consumed a lot of alcohol, just like back home. He determined that many people there drank like a fish. He described the scene as kind of depressing and thus maybe the reason for these societal habits. To him people were not upbeat and didn’t appear to be happy as a whole, at least not in public or in front of the visitors and most didn’t try to hide it either. Most of the individual dour citizens also seemed to Mekkar as being cut from the same cloth with little variety in dress or mannerisms. Mekkar attributed it to being under the thumb of powerful communist rulers for so long in the vein of Joseph Stalin, etc. It was as though Mekkar had stepped back in time into the 1950’s similar to an old black and white movie on television. Mekkar has never been a fan of tv shows and films that are from the pre-color period.

Could it be the host city residents and government employees knew something that he didn’t? Thus the reason for displaying their overconfident attitude thought Mekkar. He let out a sigh of relief when the small contingent had gotten back to their hotel for the evening. Especially after trading their goods for money that could be switched for a real internationally valued currency before leaving the country. Mekkar definitely didn’t want to get stuck with rubles afterward since they weren’t accepted as payment back home.

In the Arctic Warrior’s opinion, the Soviet players appeared to already believe they had victory over their opponents. Especially of opposition squads as inexperienced as Mekkar’s team. Like a boxing match, a team can be scared and defeated before the game itself. The Selects players were already warned about these dubious tactics would increase when the home squad’s own confidence waivered. Even more so, if there was a thought of potential defeat. Mekkar & his brother Alf both suspected the KGB’s role behind various actions that might be taken against them. The intensity of the nefarious activities almost always increased the day before a game itself. The fatigue factor was the goal through paranoia and suspicion. That is, to have you wiped out by game time and to force mistakes on the ice.

Preparations during the next day for the Selects’ focused on the matchup against the mighty Russian Red Army team, otherwise known as CSKA Moscow. The Red Army squad usually supplied most of the personnel to the powerhouse Soviet National team. Yes, Mekkar knew some the history and it was well known the USSR team had dominated the international hockey landscape since the nineteen sixties. The Selects’ opponents also regularly defeated top-level pro clubs from North America and National teams on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The Red Army club (CSKA) was able to attract the best players because of the required military commitments of most males in the USSR. {Wikipedia]

The CSKA roster was filled with names acknowledged throughout the hockey world. Players such as Valeri Kharlamov who was as talented as Gretzky or Lemieux, one of the best goalies ever Vladislav Tretiak, Vladimir Petrov, the tenacious Boris Mikhailov, Alexander Gusev, Vladimir Lutchenko, Yuri Liapkin, a young budding superstar defenseman Vyacheslav Fetisov, and more. Many of those players had gained experience on the international stage and now were squaring off against kids. [Wikipedia; hockeydb.com; 1972summitseries.com; chidlovski.com; russkiyhockey.wordpress.com] 

Friday, September 23, 2016


Before the Selects embarked on their worldwide barnstorming hockey tour Mekkar, Alf, Lasse and some others watched tapes of the 1972 Summit Series. It pitted the Canadian NHL All-Stars against the Soviet Union’s national team The boys also watched all the matches from the 1974 Summit Series featuring the WHA All-Stars versus the USSR. The others watched, but Mekkar studied.

Mekkar had seen other games involving Russian squads because of the large satellite his papa constructed back home. It was the only one of its kind in the area and stood out like a sore thumb. He even paid attention to a practice session of the Soviet national squad carrying out their precise drills to perfection on the ice. All the while they were blindfolded. Mekkar thought that was incredible!

He attributed it to the environment those players’ trained in and it appeared to him as intense. That is how they became the well-oiled Red Machine as he described it. Mekkar had the feeling that sometimes the Soviet players were so extremely well drilled, like the soldiers they were, they gave him the perception they were more machine than human. Mekkar also saw the other side of the coin and that might be a possible flaw in the system to be exploited.

Most of the Soviets did not seem to him to exhibit that internal drive in an outward way much of the time. Although there were a few exceptions that displayed their emotions on an individual basis, it was very rare. Maybe it was a tactic used to show that the Eastern European powerhouse was not at all intimidated by extroverted Canucks, examined Mekkar. This was contrary and very unlike the players from Canada and to a lesser extent, America. There was no quit in the North Americans and a continual non-stop striving for victory until the gametime clock had expired. [1972summitseries.com; Wikipedia]

The Native from the North noticed this lack of excess outward emotion as a visible behavioral trend in the great majority of Russian athletes of the time. Yet, there were still pointed exceptions. Mekkar applied those expressed unmanifested characteristics and demeanor to individuals in all sports behind The Iron Curtain, not just hockey players. He was of the opinion that this psychological profile trend was a by-product of the Soviet sports system itself and could be possibly attributed to the Russian culture as a whole. Out of a historical subjection to dictatorial national leaders and the expectations for complete obedience of the population. Mekkar labeled many of the European players in this manner also. Outward displays of emotion on the ice were frowned upon by high ranking officials and subordinates. It seemed to Mekkar as if there was a waiting for a specific reaction from a superior before a display of their own. Many things resembled being contrived and much too calculated for Mekkar’s taste.

The Arctic Warrior did not want to live his life that way, where he would be always on pins and needles. He couldn’t do it because he was too bold and brash for that. Mekkar acknowledges he never could be successful in any venture with such extreme structure and protocol. Mekkar many times acts before he thinks without the extensive thought process of possible scenarios and actions beforehand. He would have done his own thing anyway and somewhere along the line eventually snap. The reaction would be something totally stupid while at the same times ticking off the authorities, thus, sabotaging future opportunities. Especially people who have the power to make decisions with regard to Mekkar’s now growing hockey career aspirations.

He recalled prior to this hockey barnstorming tour some veterans were brought in to give advice, tips, and answer any questions of the Selects players regarding this trip. The guest speakers had been involved in numerous hockey games in many places around the globe. They gave Mekkar and his teammates some good hints and insights especially relating to issues they probably would encounter behind the Iron Curtain of Eastern Europe and Russia.

Some of the topic points were: First, don’t expect to like the food and find alternatives to fit your taste. Second, put all of your hockey gear in other bags that are not on your person because those will get searched. It will almost definitely be the case when you are not near them and more specifically at the airport for your inbound flight. Third, bring any normally used personal accessories and utility items. Plus, carry any goods that are hard to find at your destination in your one carry-on bag and never let it leave your sight. Keep that tote with you at all times. So you can jettison the contents as quickly as possible to make some extra cash.

Fourth, assume that you and your entourage will always be watched and followed by the KGB, secret police, or some type of security agent at all times. Travel everywhere in groups so that individuals can split up at any time to hopefully lose them. Unload through selling your snuck in contraband items to black market sources as quickly as possible. Don’t forget about the back end of the official political party stores which are not ordinarily noticed by much of the general public. Those goods will bring a nice profit for you. Bring scarce things like Levi’s and other items from outside the area, but in all instances be careful.

We can give you guys more detailed information of where to go and who to speak to. Be sure to make friends with the hotel concierges by bribing them with products and money. They are resourceful and a wealth of good information of the best deals to be had for you. Each one of them is usually hooked up with particular black market connections that will purchase the goods. Remember to set aside and keep a few hockey related items in the bag as a cover to hide the other products from peering eyes. You might also have to give gifts to local police and agents to stay out of trouble if you get caught. Bribery will get you everywhere there.

Fifth, expect bad service and poor treatment towards you for everything because they want to get into your head beforehand. They believe the mind games always help the home teams to achieve victory. It is their way. You are not special; they have done this to all other visiting teams in the past. [whahof.com] This includes one sided refereeing in favor of the home sides on the ice too. [whahof.com/Europe-feature.html; chidlovski.com] 

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Nilla, Tazil’s mother, had a hearty laugh and an outgoing disposition. She said to Mekkar, “When you get here give us a ring and we will come to see you.” Her education was relayed into work as a civil servant in a national government building there. The brutal dictator killed her husband for some unknown reason and no one has ever given any explanation. She seemed to have a joyful disposition despite the outward circumstances that easily could have left her extremely bitter.

The Selects players, staff, and their transportation crew were booked into the swankiest hotel in Kampala. However, on the second night Mekkar, Alf, and Lasse went and stayed overnight at Tazil’s more humble residence instead. The youngsters played diverse games while they were there with the family. Others in the neighborhood dropped by to take part in the activities. Mekkar even teased Tazil about wearing a coat when it was so warm (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit). Next, the three arctic boys retrieved their hockey sticks and pucks among the gear and taught the kids there about the game in a number of aspects like how to properly hold a stick and shoot. Some of the children had never seen anything that resembled ice hockey in any form. Mekkar wished they had more time to spend there and additional items to give away there. The three Selects players even autographed a few of the goodies also. Mekkar figured that they could acquire a few extra sticks and related items from equipment managers to replace what he gave to the kids there. He knew it was up to them to customize the fresh gear to their liking for future contests.

What the Native from the North remembers best is the animal chasing contest during the festivities. Tazil was very quick and extremely proficient at this enterprise. He told Mekkar why and how he became so exceptional at it, “The reason is you become good at this to prevent from going hungry.” Tazil also mentioned that this was the case before his mother got that good government job to feed the family especially after his father had died. Tazil went on to say, “Now catching the food is just a hobby to keep his skills sharp and improved my futbol (soccer) goalie reactions.”    

Team staff and their vehicles then arrived to entreat Mekkar, Alf, and Lasse to get ready quickly so they could depart the city. The powers that be wanted them to join the rest of the team to forge ahead on the journey. Both sides waved their goodbyes and the Selects headed off to explore around one of the largest freshwater lakes on the global map. The assembly took them through the Masai Mara wildlife area in Kenya to reach the well-known Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Mekkar wished Tazil could have been with him on this part of the trip because he knew the region so well. Yet, Mekkar thought it was probably no big deal to the Ugandan since he lived so close by and has seen these different animals in person many times over.

As the vehicles were in the northern part of the park and not far from the border and the lake they stopped to take a break. The idea was let all of them just enjoy the scenery. Soon afterward a herd of elephants went strolling by. Mekkar was glad it wasn’t too close because he didn’t know the temperament of pachyderms in relation to people. “Hopefully, those big beasts don’t see us,” stated Mekkar. It was still close enough to make the ground tremble as they rolled past. Mekkar commented that it felt like an earthquake on the Richter scale. The vehicle was rocking and swaying from side to side while also stirring up everyone’s meal from earlier. The tusked creatures were not quite stampeding, but at the same time they were not walking slowly either.

Mekkar came prepared, as always, with a few sets of binoculars for those in the transport to use. Some of the others had their own as well. After the distance widened between them and the animals, the vehicle Mekkar was in headed off in pursuit. He had an overwhelming feeling to pursue the adventure even while doubting the wisdom of tracking the beasts. They followed the chase due to the strong urging and pestering of the driver by the majority of the passengers. Still the truck kept a wide gap between them and the moving herd. Mekkar and his buddies next saw something that he didn’t believe at first. A male lion had gotten way too close for comfort. Mekkar felt it might have been hungry and possibly desperate but also asked the question, “Don’t the female lions usually conduct the chase and hunt the prey instead?” The rest told Mekkar to keep quiet as to not attract any attention to them.

Well, one of larger pachyderms, Mekkar was unsure if it was a male or female elephant, kicked that displaced lion in the air like a field goal in American football. It seemed as though the big cat was dead before landing back to earth with a distinctive thud. Yet, they were too far away to feel the lion’s punishment but could see it with a sense of empathy on behalf of the clawed cat. Mekkar right then stated out loud, “Whoever said that the lion is the King of the Jungle doesn’t know what he is talking about! Oh, man!” He continued on to anyone there that was listening, “Did you see that lion get kicked like a field goal or a soccer ball? That was so cool!” They were all cracking up at that statement, but also told him to keep his voice down since Mekkar gets louder when he gets excited.

Soon after this they left to be out of range of the mammoth animals. A notification came over the sound box in the truck. When they came upon another location instructions were passed along that it was now time to go and resume the tour. The backtrack via a different route began. Mekkar pointed out a sight to the east. It was the highest mountain on the continent, Kilimanjaro. Mekkar was not a mountain climber and had no desire to he would only observe the peak’s majesty from a reasonable distance. He would let the handheld field glasses amplify and focus the view of the famous mountain.

They were moving at a rapid pace to their next destination. Mekkar felt it was pretty amazing to view animals such as giraffes, etc. in the wildlife preserve with the Kenyan capital skyline silhouetted against the setting sun. It was then only quick jaunt to Nairobi nearby to fly out to unnamed locations northward. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016


This line of vehicles on the desert frontier kept moving at quite a rapid clip and distance. Basically stopping only for short pit-stops to refuel, reload with supplies, or have all empty their bladders, etc.  When they reached the temple ruins of Luxor everyone checked it out. However, the group didn’t spend near the amount of time in comparison when they previously visited the pyramids. Mekkar was definitely feeling groggy and listless at this point on the journey. He figured that he saw the pinnacle earlier on at the pyramids. Thus, Mekkar was sort of indifferent to the Luxor site. It was different from the manmade similarly named hotel near the Las Vegas strip. The contrast between the beautiful oases here along the Nile amidst the desert was most striking. The column of trucks, well more like sport utility vehicles, journeyed on. It was estimated the group covered a stretch further than the equivalent from San Diego to San Francisco everyday so far and this travel trend would continue as is. 

Other sites passed by and viewed by Mekkar, when he was awake, was the large Aswan Dam & Lake Nasser. They were going to exit Egypt soon. Yet the voyage continued as they advanced through the desert like so many before them had. Mekkar reflected to his studies in an instant and thought just like Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel’s tanks would have if they had reached this far south. Of course, Mekkar was quite aware that travelling companions were a very different type of warrior, on ice. The only true uniformed and active soldiers accompanying them were in service to the Egyptian military. Their tasks on this trip were not military in nature, just as drivers. Mekkar felt it was not wise for their guides and chauffeurs to wear any uniforms since it would just cause trouble down the road. Especially since they would be crossing into another country real soon and later on during this trip.

Ever a student of history and from research, Mekkar was only slightly perceptive of the deep animosity of various tribes and nations in this region of the planet. But, not the full extent. The Native from the North discerned and decided that former colonization and imperialism of these parts of the world created a sphere of issues still existent today as a result. Elites drawing up national borders while at the same disregarding the local populations and dividing homogeneous tribes. Of course, he reasoned there would be future complications and it happened.

It was another day or so until the Selects reached another large metropolis but they were all dwarfed by Cairo in comparison and where this excursion began. After passing a generous bend in the river and near the Sudanese capital Khartoum the Nile joins together from multiple branches. Despite many efforts by the surrounding people to harness resources from the longest watercourse on the planet to meet ever expanding power requirements, the ancient river still flows on. It has not been brought to a halt at all. Now Mekkar and his caravan crew can enjoy the fruits provided by the waterway as a result. Assorted construction of bridges and other crossings assure that locals have access to all the benefits the Nils provides on both sides of the river.

Mekkar recalled this was one of the places where the ancients were able to build whole civilizations without the modern tools of today. He guessed that the area was probably more despite deforestation. The desert has claimed much of the land in our times in his opinion. Even historians that Mekkar has read about have admitted to this trend. However, the Great River has not been completely conquered, like his own dwindling people, and the water still flows.

Some of the days still seemed warmer to Mekkar and he would request that the driver turn up the air conditioning in the truck. The boys from the coldest regions of their nation were here, so there were no outward complaints from the other passengers. Yet, none of the others including Alf or Lasse preferred it as chilly as Mekkar. They were always teasing him about having ice in his veins. Mekkar had too much time on his hands and was examining the potential change of seasons and possible effects upon him as they reached closer to the equator. He has enough trouble with hot weather because his regular body temperature is much lower then the normal 98.6° F (37° C). The funny thing is that his friends notice that heat radiates and emanates from Mekkar more than anyone they know. Alf mentions that his older sibling is unable to keep his heat within but at the same time prefers it colder, when healthy. Not surprisingly, no one who knows Mekkar is astounded that he is contrary to accepted scientific norms and conventional wisdom, but accepts him as an oddball in many ways. The poor driver ended up wearing a heavy coat while doing his duty. He didn’t even mentioned anything about it nor bring up the subject at all. The guide kept speaking about details of the sites the crew arrived at or passed on by without a beat. Alf had a theory that the coachman was talking so much to keep warm, who knows!

Khartoum was almost the half way point to Lake Victoria, but the White Nile runs past that onto Burundi. However, even scientists were unaware of this continuation at the time and the true source in Burundi was discovered in the early twenty-first century. [Wikipedia] The group didn’t stay long, but solely needed to replenish and resupply and be on their way.

As the chain passed past various regions they finally approached and journeyed through Uganda, the locals there cast their gaze at them with a lot of suspicion. Mekkar had the concept that the possible reason for the distrust could have been because their group was viewed as guests of Idi Amin. An off-handed comment regarding how the visitors were travelling by land instead of by boat on the water was the basis of this misjudgment. The regular custom was that normal tourists followed the locals and moved between different stopping points on the water.

When the Selects and their small entourage arrived in the Ugandan capital Mekkar contacted a person he was acquainted with, Tazil. Tazil’s mother worked with Sirga in some capacity for a short time up north. Mekkar was unclear on the actual connections and details between the two women and didn’t really care too much. However, he befriended Tazil during that time. Mekkar had previously contacted the Ugandan and his family when they got closer and told them that he might make it there, if it all works out right. He said it would depend on the time frame and possible schedule to the area excluding any unforeseen changes that were very common on this trip. Thus, Mekkar was not definite in the planned visit, just estimating a potential occurrence.