Sunday, November 6, 2016

AROUND THE VILLAGE (A)

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.