Sunday, December 4, 2016

MORE AROUND THE VILLAGE (B)

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