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.