The first hockey camp I ever attended was a day camp in Helsinki. The kids would come in morning, have two practices on the ice, eat lunch, and go home and then return to the rink the next morning to do it all over again. For five days.
The camp was run by two Finnish league players that were Dad’s friends, and from Day 1, they both referred to me a “Pikku-Eikka”, Finnish for “Little Eikka”, in which Eikka is my Dad’s nickname.
At first I didn’t really know how to handle it. Were they making fun of me? Laughing at me or with me? Of course, in about a day, when I got to know the instructors myself a little better, I learned how great they were and that they were definitely no laughing at me at all, but instead, they were paying me a compliment.
So, I was proudly “Pikku-Eikka”. For the rest of the camp– and then some.
Every time people see a photo of my father as a young/er man, they tell me how alike we look. And I guess we do. But we’re not the same man, of course. There are things we don’t always agree on, and we like different things and foods, and people. And then there are the things I’ve changed my mind on, things I disagreed with him on when i was a kid, but that I’ve learned to appreciate as I’ve gotten older. Life lessons, they’re called.
When I was a teenager, 13 or 14, our family got a new VCR. Now, we had had VCRs before so that wasn’t the big deal. The bigger deal with the VCR was that it had a remote control (only limited by the length of its cord), and the biggest deal was that you could now rent real movies to watch. Not just watch TV shows you’d recorded.
We drove into town and carefully selected a movie we all would like. In hindsight, maybe the choice wasn’t a unanimous one, but at least Dad and I liked it, and Mom went along with it. The movie we chose was “For Your Eyes Only”, the latest Bond movie.
As soon as we got back, we turned out living room into a movie theater. We turned off the lights, and pulled the curtains. I was the VCR operator so I put in the tape and grabbed the remote. The TV screen turned black, and then the white United Artists logo appeared. Before it even started to turn, I was on it, and fast forwarded, to get to the movie but I heard Dad yell, “no, no, no.”
I stopped the movie. The MGM lion was in mid-roar.
“This is what gives you the true movie feeling,” he said.
Last night, we gave Dad one of his birthday presents. We had booked a private box at the local movie theater and we took him to see SPECTRE, the latest Bond movie. The usher showed us to the box upstairs, and how to use the volume controls and then Son, Dad, and I threw our coats on the seats behind us and took our seats in the front row.
After the trailers, the curtain went down and then up again. The MGM lion appeared, roaring. Our box was quiet in anticipation.
“Here we go! This is what gives you the true movie feeling,” I said to Son and Dad.
“That’s right,” said Dad.
Son said nothing. He probably thought we didn’t know what we were talking about.
He’ll get it one day.