Thursday, March 23, 2017

MOVING AWAY FROM THE VILLAGE (A)

Unknown to him and because Sirga just didn’t tell Mekkar why she chose that particular time to teach him how to drive. It would be revealed very soon afterward. Mekkar would have his revelation of this when he needed to move away from his village area. It would be a permanent move, even though the village would always be home to him. It was required for him to relocate to the closest city to further his hockey skills and a possible future in that sport.

Fortunately, it was only a little more than one hundred miles away and he could come back on a regular basis. Whether he knew it or not, Mekkar would learn and use more life skills than he ever imagined by being away from his original home. The main reason for the move was that it too difficult to deal with the frequent and long travel distances required getting him where he needed to be.

It was especially true of transportation during the winter time when the highway would become a mess at times and an adventure at others. A snow-plowed road does make for more accidents, slow down issues, and greatly lengthened travel time.

Henrik and Sirga, Mekkar’s parents, based their decision for him to relocate because they felt that Mekkar was mature enough to be able to handle living by himself at twelve years old. Other factors also played a part in the move. It wasn’t as though Mekkar was moving to a small city that he was not already somewhat familiar with.

Since, Mekkar was currently being taught through individual studies; in other words, being tutored as well as not attending the local village school, education was not a consideration in the movement decision process. Mekkar had been working for some time now, so money was not an issue and of no concern in this matter.

Mekkar’s papa agreed to help him arrange suitable living quarters and sought out some of his own contacts in regards to this situation. Henrik knew a lot of people due to his employment in a multinational corporation. Henrik also laid out some grounds rules for his son regarding the arrangements. He located a place in the northwest part of town near the old arena.

The city council was already in the preparation stages for the construction of a new ice hall on the opposite side of town. It was a strategy taught to Mekkar, by his papa, to live as close as possible to his workplace, if possible. The new arena in the south east corner of town near the railroad line wouldn’t be finished for at least a couple of years, reasoned Mekkar and his papa.

They decided together that they would come to that bridge when they get to it and work on that issue when it came about. Mekkar figured he would be much more familiar with his small city by then and they might build new housing too closer to the new arena when it was completed.

It is well to note that this is not referring to a large city like some of them much further to the south. So, transportation and traffic should not ever be a problem. But, as Mekkar likes to say, “You never know what will happen!” Plus, the weather could be nasty at times during the arctic winter season.

The Native from the North thought that if it was close enough to walk where he needed to go, he could handle any trouble. Mekkar had been on reindeer treks before, so he was used to carrying his gear with him in any weather. He was proficient enough to use his kick sled with a good sized basket to haul around town what he needed. It was also a good exercise warm up for him on the way to the ice house. Pushing a kick sled is kind of like propelling and riding a skate board on hard pack ice or snow, especially if Mekkar wanted to arrive in a more rapid manner than walking.

Mekkar wanted to get a feel for his adjusted surroundings because that was just the way he was and he knew that it took time to do so. After a while though, Mekkar realized he needed a more stable mode of transportation, a vehicle, and that his papa could hook him up on that front too as long as Mekkar had the cash. Mekkar had already stashed some money away for a car and the search for the right one was the next step.

There was a James Dean club down south in a nearby big city that had a few thousand members. Those individuals in that club tried their best to emulate the now deceased American actor James Dean. They adopted images from Dean’s time period such as the hairstyle, sleeveless jeans jacket with a sewn-on Confederate rebel flag patch on the chest, & other aspects. It was similar how people today imitate Elvis Presley’s features and mannerisms. Many in the club drove American made vehicles from the 1950’s and early to mid 1960’s that matched the image from that era.

It seemed to Mekkar that there were quite a few white 1960’s Chevrolet Impalas with what he described as having the rear fender wings. Mekkar spotted the make and model he wanted and proceeded to show his papa what the car looked like. Henrik began to make some more contacts with a few of the club participants. Mekkar was alongside of his papa and was learning wheeling and dealing strategy as Henrik went into his business mode of interacting with people, speaking, and negotiating.

Mekkar thought that they had picked a good day to be there since some of these vintage cars were being bought and sold there. Henrik hoped to cut a deal before the auctions were to begin. The whole scene was just like muscle and antique car shows that people go to see all over North America.

Due to the continual flux of incoming new and outgoing club members, it seemed there was a lot of activity and buzz. Mekkar figured some were selling their vehicles due to various factors. Maybe because their interest in the club had waned, they need the money from the sale, or possibly a member recently became deceased.

Henrik wanted Mekkar’s first car purchase to be a fairly reliable, sturdy, good quality, old steel, tough vehicle that ran well. Vintage American cars had that positive reputation in this part of the world. Since Henrik was an extremely hands on and mechanical person, he thoroughly inspected the potential vehicles himself on Mekkar’s behalf. Henrik considered the amount of slip and sliding that could occur, especially with a inexperienced driver like Mekkar, in winter weather in the far north. The reasoning was valid due to the increased number of accidents that happen during wintertime on an annual basis.

The thoughts ran through Mekkar’s mind regarding the oddness that these club participants appeared to partially worship a figure who most of them had never met. Now they would never get the chance either because Dean died at such a young age, before really establishing himself as a star, and long ago ironically in an automobile accident halfway around the world.

Eventually, when Mekkar’s papa made the vehicle selection for his son, they paid out the cash, and set up all the arrangements for the transport of the vehicle to Mekkar in his newly adopted hometown. The arrangements included details such as registration, insurance, and other stuff like that. All the paperwork and documents had to be in Mekkar’s parents name because technically, according to the national government, Mekkar was too young to operate a motor vehicle. However, that wasn’t going to stop him!

It would be another day or so for the vehicle, Henrik had just purchased with Mekkar’s money, to make it legal. The next step was to transport the vehicle to Mekkar’s new dwelling place in the small city that is named after a regional bird species located in these parts. The Arctic Warrior became very familiar with the vehicle during the long drive back home.

When, Mekkar and Henrik arrived back, Henrik proceed to go instead to their hometown village to get some rest. Mekkar needed to conduct some preparations to get him settled into his new home. First Mekkar collected a set of keys to his apartment and mailbox from the property management. He had not seen the inside prior to his moving in because his papa took care of all of the arrangements including packing, moving, and unpacking of a few of his personal items. Mekkar just gave Henrik a chunk of cash to cover the moving costs, initial expenses like utilities and phone, plus deposit, first and last months’ rent.

When Mekkar unlocked the front door and looked around inside he was pleasantly surprised and stated, “I can always count on my mama and papa to get the job done right.”

Mekkar was unaware that his papa gave an additional set of his apartment keys to an assistant coach of the ice hockey team. This was done to make sure that Mekkar got his butt up, with some help, early in the morning for his training. Henrik was wise and knew that his son was not a morning person, and still isn’t. Henrik gave instructions to the coach to dump Mekkar on the floor, if required, to wake Mekkar up in the morning to begin his daily routine.

The awakening started everyday at four o’clock am sharp and started the very next day after Mekkar had moved in. He had not even gotten a chance to get situated and comfortable yet and unfortunately that still would take some more time. There were still a few boxes strewn out all over the flat even a week later because he was thrown immediately into the fire in preparation for the upcoming season.

Mekkar thought that the solid wood floors of the flat was pretty neat considering the bargain cost he felt he receiving for renting this place. However, he would find out that he was mistaken because the floors could get chilly and held less heat inside. Moreso, the wood floor in the bedroom was a hard surface to land on when being dumped onto in the early mornings to start his day. The daily routine always seemed to Mekkar to begin when it was still dark outside and sunlight in the arctic was becoming less and less as winter was coming soon.

The Native from the North had been saving a good portion of his money from working for a few years already, so he knew he could afford the apartment with no problem. He just wished that his papa would have warned him of the morning issue situation and the extra key ring given to the coach beforehand. Mekkar just wanted to be prepared because he very much disliked being left in the dark about certain things. Mekkar thought that sometimes his papa would leave some details out in different situations that Henrik put Mekkar in. He was unable to determine if this was an intentional tactic or not. Maybe, Mekkar thought, that his papa was continually attempting to stimulate Mekkar and have his son think on his feet. Mekkar knew that his mama used the same strategy on him, but she was more straight forward about it. Sirga would tell Mekkar to his face that she was not going to let know everything needed for his own good so that he would learn some things for himself and become self reliant.

 Anyway, Mekkar lands on the hard wood floor with a thud because the coach tugged on and flipped over the mattress. This was unexpected and Mekkar would eventually let his papa know about his displeasure about this morning episode.

Mekkar seethed with anger regarding this matter and wanted to light up Henrik verbally the next time he went back to the village. It wasn’t as though Mekkar was never going back to visit the village he spent his early years in. He could catch a bus going toward that direction almost every of the week in the city. So, it was possible for him to go back often during breaks in his current schedule.

Not only that, sometimes his parents would come see Mekkar when they would need to fly down south from the local city airport. The airport was only one of two places nearest to the village to have regularly scheduled flights to points southward.

Continuing on, Mekkar was only half awake, cranky, and in a ticked off mood. After the coach quickly left, Mekkar wanted to whip someone’s rear end, anyone’s right then would do. His emotional state and mindset was that whoever was on his bad side in practice the rest of the day would pay the price as retaliation for this. Mekkar definitely thought this to himself and might have let it slip out of his mouth, “Too bad there isn’t a game today to exact some punishment”.

Mekkar was fully aware of the regimen for this day’s activities and the one thing that helped him through it was the surprise visit of his best friend. Lasse knew Mekkar better than anyone else here and was also his teammate now. Lasse had also moved into a flat next door and had to participate in the same training regimen as Mekkar. Mekkar later found out that Lasse’s mama had conversed and planned this move together with Henrik for the both of the boys. Similar arrangements were made for the both of them by their parents because Lasse spilled the beans regarding this matter. Lasse had mentioned it while they were performing the early morning five o’clock five mile run as part of their hockey training.

They would start off together but Lasse was a faster runner and more of an early bird morning person than Mekkar, but not by much! Lasse almost always finished the five mile jog in the required time of thirty five minutes. While Mekkar almost never met the time requirement set by the team coaching staff. He would normally complete the task a minute or two slower because he sometimes wouldn’t be at full capacity and totally awake until some distance into the run.

If Mekkar failed to cover the course in thirty five minutes he would have to run an additional five untimed miles as discipline. Fortunately, there was another teammate that was in the same predicament as Mekkar, as he wasn’t too much of an early bird also.

The benefits would be evident later on. As a result of running ten miles almost everyday instead of the regular five miles like their teammates, on top of the other training, those two slacker joggers would rarely get tired in the latter part of games. They both were in better overall physical shape especially near the end of the season when all players are nursing bumps and bruises.

Thus, in an odd way it turned out to be a benefit for Mekkar. He could still consume enormous amounts of food and still keep his very low body fat physical structure. Mekkar was thankful that he had a natural muscular extremely minimal body fat solid body thanks to great genetics from his parents. Plus, it helps to be young and highly active.

There was one instance later on when Mekkar went to bed late the night before or into the next early morning, he was hazy on the details. Anyway, he went to bed in a foul mood. The next morning when Mekkar was dumped out of his bed and onto the floor he was ticked off at the coach. Next, Mekkar proceeded to get up and punched the team official right in the middle of the coaches face breaking his nose.

This action resulted in a suspension from the team for Mekkar. The small victory in all of this is that at least none of the coaches ever came back to his apartment and do that again. The team staff changed their tactics and would resort to early morning phone calls or having teammates drop by instead. Since, Mekkar lacked an answering machine, because they were not that common in those days, sometimes the phone would ring and ring incessantly and continuously until it was answered. That way a team official was sure that Mekkar was up and beginning his morning preparation process, in other words get dressed, eat breakfast, etc.