Monday, January 30, 2017

MORE AROUND THE VILLAGE (F)

Mekkar also played imaginary games that he designed for him and to serve two purposes, relieve some boredom and to keep his mama off of his back because she would frequently ask if he was exercising his newly learned English language skills. It all stemmed from a practical family business need. After watching the mama forcibly required english language sports films, tapes, or reels that could be run on either a 8 or 16 millimeter or reel-to-reel projector; or a European beta-type early version equivalent of a vhs machine. This equipment was acquired by his mama somehow but Mekkar didn’t ask her where or how she got them for him. Mekkar would then go off by himself and create his own little world.

For example, after watching a baseball game on tape, he would go outside and painted on an adult sized armpits to knees strike zone box on a nearby cement wall and made a line about 12.19 meters (40 feet) away. The MLB standard of 18.44 meters (60 feet 6 inches) pitching mound was a little too far for Mekkar at that time. Then, Mekkar being ambidextrous and able to throw the ball with both his left and right hands, he would choose pitching matchups. He would pretend to be a real pitcher, sometimes it is one that he had just watched for his language lesson, and then tries to mimic that pitcher’s stance and movements. At first, he used a tennis ball, and then much later on as he got older he used a hard baseball.

He would attempt to throw only the pitches that he found out or observed a particular ballplayer possessed and Mekkar was able to copy. The game was based on strikes and balls. There would be a hit when Mekkar made an error or missed the ball as it was coming back off the wall. Since, the game would go a full (home and visitor alternating sides of the order) nine innings or extras if tied after nine. More hits would result from his increased amount of errors as Mekkar became fatigued towards the end of the game.

By watching the videos, tapes, etc. beforehand, Mekkar began to learn batting lineups, pitching staffs, and full roster names and eventually his game became a little more sophisticated as time went along. Plus, his pitching, baseball fielding skills, and stamina also improved. Mekkar also was creative enough to invent his own games to play by himself, if so desired, in other sports fields as well such as soccer, football, and basketball. This was not necessary for hockey because Mekkar already played ice, pond, lake hockey or shinny with the other children in the area. Girls would be included and play on the frozen ground along with the boys in the games, mainly because there wouldn’t be enough kids otherwise. There was not any favoritism for the females either; they were treated exactly like the boys during the games.

However, the sides were fairly evenly distributed talent wise or either alternatively drafted or picked with two of the oldest kids being captains and doing the choosing for the teams. Depending on the available time, sometimes small sectional and portable boards could be setup prior to playing but not everywhere because the frozen surface was too big and they didn’t have enough boards to cover it all. There was checking with the hip, body, and the stick, but carrying out a check on such a large area could put Mekkar way out of position so it was not smart to try to run someone. The girls were pretty tough too and would also throw checks on other players. At times, Mekkar and other boys would receive a stick spear from the girls in the heat of battle because there was little favoritism among those kids that were about the same relative age or size. The difference is that some of those females who just dished out a cheap shot at them were still cute enough to date later on, as they grew older, in Mekkar’s mind.

There were times when Mekkar and his brother were able to put their work clothes in the restricted washer and dryer because they had worked in one of the family businesses that day. Otherwise, clean clothes for the boys had to be achieved in some different manner. Their grandmamma would check their clothes to see if anything was left in the pockets, etc. to teach the boys some responsibility and attentiveness. If there was anything there, along with clothes, she would claim any of the items left behind with the clothes as her own. The brothers knew this, so they remembered to check most of the time but once in awhile forgot and lost out.

One cold and chilly Christmas Eve Mekkar put his shoes outside on the front porch. It was after the majority of Jule traditions for that day had been completed, such as decorating the tree, singing songs, and even drinking a bit with the family after the eve dinner. He put his specially made shoes outside right next to his brother’s. It would be hard to tell the difference between the pairs of shoes because they both had been made out of reindeer hide with fur on the top. Plus, Mekkar’s younger brother Alf had big feet for his age and at this point, they both pretty much wore the same size shoes, actually Alf’s were larger.

The children who were good throughout that year would have their shoes filled with candy; bad kids would get sand in their shoes instead. It was considered that the elves, Father Christmas’ (Santa Claus’) helpers, would carry out this activity along with a few others’ on the Eve of Jule. It was thought that some magic was required on the elves part since Mekkar’s village was nowhere near beach sand. When the boys woke up the next morning on Christmas, they went to retrieve their shoes from the porch. Mekkar was not as eager to check as Alf because Mekkar usually got sand in his shoes while Alf always seemed to get candy in his. Mekkar even snorted sarcastically “Alf is such a kiss butt”!

Sure enough, Mekkar’s brother’s shoes were overflowing with goodies, but to Mekkar’s surprise and astonishment there was candy and treats in his shoes also! The problem was that the shoes and their contents were still frozen solid from being outside all night. They looked like a small statue and needed to be brought inside to warm up, so the boys could retrieve the goodies from them. It would only take a bit of time to thaw the shoes. However, Mekkar unknowing to him erroronously put his pair of shoes much too close to the fireplace, even closer than Alf did, because he was impatient due to his glee over finally receiving a prize for being a good boy, for a change. After leaving the shoes there near the fireplace, Mekkar went upstairs and put on another pair of shoes and went outside to play. He forgot about the candy filled shoes. A few hours later Mekkar went to get his shoes, but the goodies inside of them had melted which ruined the shoes completely. His brother had a jolly old time by laughing at him and even taunted him about it.