' Book 2 - Our Lucky Mascot '
(This is the SECOND book of my famous sequel 'I am a Gypsy Prince')
24. Winter again; and painting six second hand snow scooters.
A couple of weeks later, winter set in extremely early, causing the last remaining animals to hurry into hibernation.
However, this time, we didn't need to worry about not having enough food or money!
As our 'Lucky Mascot', I had provided my people with more than enough gadjo bank notes to buy everything we needed!
Many people were still talking about 'our little moneymaker', with pride in their voices and reverence in their eyes...
The only thing I didn't like about the upcoming winter; was that we had to wear our winter garments, each time we went outside our caravans.
And, I certainly wasn't the only one who complained about feeling itchy and clammy, after wearing our winter clothes for some time.
We all immediately shucked the annoying things, the very moment we entered our cozily warmed caravans!
Apart from that, I was still the proud owner of the nicest garments in our whole camp.
My Mom had again provided me with my beautiful badger fur coat and my nicely warm fox boots.
While wearing them, and showing off in them, I thought that my winter life was not too bad...
I knew that I looked rather good in my badger fur coat!
One morning, I jumped out of bed, and went to our living room.
Nobody was home, so I supposed my Dad and my Mom were already out, or socializing...
Well, that was no problem, as I was absolutely able to take good care of myself!
First, I rummaged through the various cupboards, looking for the tastiest food.
Then, I prepared myself a nice and healthy meal, spiced by a couple of dried herbs.
Next, I drank a huge glass of milk with some honey, and combed my unruly hair by using all the fingers of both hands.
Finally, I donned my beautiful badger fur coat and my warm fox boots, and looked in our mirror...
Smiling at myself, and feeling satisfied with my 'little badger' image, I strolled outside.
Our place looked deserted; so I supposed our laziest slackers were still sleeping.
From a distance, I could hear a few older friends, playing a game of football in our parking lot.
Little Dimi remained out of sight, probably still snoring in his own small den.
Most grown-ups had already set off to some gadjo town; to look there for work and trade, trying to earn even more money.
They would go there for as long as was possible, until a too thick layer of snow would prevent them from leaving our camp.
Only Michail's enormous truck with attached snow chains was always able to plough through the heaviest of snowfalls.
After a moment, Michail appeared from Jonno's caravan, carrying his small sons in his arms, while he smiled:
"Hi, early jailbird! Your friends are playing football; but Misha went with Jonno's father to some market in a gadjo town..."
My chuckling Big Friend knew that he had me; because I reacted angrily to his insinuation:
"You KNOW that I am not a 'jailbird'! And, why didn't Misha wake me up? I would have wanted to join him!"
"Misha tried, but your Mom told him you were still a bit too young; and you also needed some more sleep."
Women... they will never understand us growing-up men!
I was a bit angry with my Mom, but also understood she did it for my own good.
Ultimately, I was not even six years old; and I was still a bit too small for my age...
Little Dimi had already grown nearly as tall as I was; and he was one-and-a-half-year younger, for crying out loud!
Fortunately, I was still the strongest one, and I won all our wrestling matches with ease.
When would I finally have my first 'growth spurt', so that I no longer would be the smallest 'little runt' in our kids group?
However, within a few months from now, I would finally be SIX years old!
March the third, my sixth birthday, was approaching fast...
What would my people buy me this year, as my official birthday present?
Last year, they had bought me my beautiful mountain bike, loaded with lots of extra gadgets.
Every day, I rode on my black-and-golden steel steed, having racing contests with little Dimi on his own blue bike with the same golden striping...
Of course, I was curious about what Misha wanted to do on that gadjo market, so I asked my Big Friend:
"Michail, do you know what Misha and Jonno's father are doing on that market?"
"I'm not sure, but Misha told me about some cheap second-hand thing he wanted to buy from the money we gave him for his part of the begging.
"First, he asked ME to take him to that market. But, I cannot leave here today, because your Dad and Mom are attending an important meeting.
"Then, Misha asked Jonno's father to help him. I don't know where they went or what they want to buy; but they promised to be back soon."
Of course, I felt disappointed, because I had wanted to join my friend Misha to that gadjo market!
Reluctantly, I sat down onto a wooden bench, and stared into the glowing embers of our campfire.
Moping, I started to mutter about still being too young and too small...
Michail had a knowing smile on his face, while he silently placed his little sons onto my bench...
Immediately, Michi and Movi were crawling all over me, playfully fighting for the best place on my lap!
Of course, I couldn't possibly maintain my moping face any more; while I started to laugh at their enthusiastic antics.
Surprisingly, I really started to love my two 'little brothers', who always were in such a sunny mood.
Michail handed me a buttered roll; and I started to feed small pieces of it to both hungry boys.
Again, I laughed at the funny sight of two little birdies with wide open mouths, eagerly waiting for their next mouthful...
Now and then, I put a small piece of roll into my own mouth, to tease them.
Then, they glared at me with indignant faces and hungry dark-brown eyes...
After they had finished their third buttered roll, the twins were finally satisfied.
They left my lap, let themselves slide off our bench, and plopped down onto their nicely rounded bellies.
Immediately, they scrabbled up; and both boys started to toddle around, already having lots of fun.
Michi found an old tennis ball under one of the caravans, and clumsily kicked it towards Movi.
Movi tried to kick it back, but suddenly yelped because he unintentionally kicked his own leg!
Now, both boys shrieked with laughter; while they ran into each other at trying to kick the unruly ball again.
They seemed to kick each other a lot more than they were hitting the old tennis ball...
But, they didn't mind at all, still having lots of fun!
Little Dimi appeared from his caravan, already clad in his jeans and a nicely colored winter coat.
For a moment, he looked around, until he saw me playing with Michail's small twins.
He waved at us and at Michail, but turned around and disappeared towards our parking lot.
Obviously, he preferred to play football with the older boys and a 'real' ball.
I decided not to follow my little friend; but wait on our bench for Misha, to show up from his trip to a gadjo market...
What 'cheap second-hand thing' would he bring home?
After an hour of waiting and watching my playful little brothers, I suddenly listened intently...
Yes; my perked ears were really hearing the sound of one of our own cars, approaching our camp!
A moment later, Jonno's car showed up; but it disappeared immediately into our parking lot.
Of course, I jumped off my bench and raced after the car, to have a look at what Misha had bought.
Impatiently, I waited until Jonno's father parked it into one of the empty spaces, and Misha left its front seat.
My friend looked at me with a beaming face, as if he felt really happy.
Pointing towards the halfway opened trunk of the car, he told me:
"You never guess what I've bought today, for a very low price."
I pressed my face against the side window pane, and stared in disbelief at an old and rather ugly looking snow scooter.
The rickety looking thing was full of dried mud; but, at first sight, it seemed to be complete...
I felt a bit disappointed; but did my best not to show my feelings to Misha.
HE seemed to be happy with it, and that was what counted.
I decided to tease him a bit, and smilingly asked him:
"Has Pietro sold our repaired snow scooter to you? He didn't ask me for my permission..."
"No, but there's that mining company, that went bankrupt. Now, they are selling their cast off snow scooters on the market for a really low price.
"I decided to buy one, using the money I got from our begging. However, you and I have to clean it up and paint it first. That is, if you want to help me..."
"Of course, silly! Can I have a closer look at it? I want to see its engine and automatic clutch..."
Working together, and assisted by Jonno's father, we dragged the heavy snow scooter out of the trunk.
Now, I could have a better look at it...
To my surprise, below the thick layer of mud that covered everything, it didn't look that bad at all!
Its paint was rather weather-beaten, and the scooter was very dirty, but it seemed to be complete and in reasonable condition.
I supposed we really would be able to make a usable snow scooter out of it, maybe with some help from Pietro...
Misha started to beam all over, when I told him my thoughts.
Enthusiastically, he lifted me high into the air, and even kissed my nose!
Then, he ruffled my hair, while he told me:
"I hoped you would approve of my purchase, because you are our own 'technical snow scooter engineer'. Now, what shall we do first?"
Because Pietro wasn't home, we went to Michail, to ask him for some cleaning equipment...
A moment later, we returned, carrying two buckets of water, some soap, a few screwdrivers, and a couple of old brushes.
Little Dimi showed up, and immediately sat glued to our dirty scooter:
"Please, Harry, can I help you now? And, pretty please, Misha? Last time, with Pietro's snow scooter, I was too late..."
Misha and I looked at each other, smilingly; and we nodded our consent at the same time.
Next, we had to cover our ears, to protect them from the very loud Indian yell our youngest helper suddenly produced!
Obviously, little Dimi was VERY enthusiastic to be allowed to help us.
During most of the day, all three of us were working closely together, trying to clean our very muddy snow scooter.
We were poking, scrubbing, and rinsing; desperately attacking all the sticky mud that had settled into every single hole and notch.
Now and then, we had to get a couple more fresh buckets of water, a few old rags, and lots of more soap...
Slowly, the dried mud started to dissolve, while a reasonable looking snow scooter started to show up.
Its frame looked worn out and weather-beaten, but its engine seemed to be in excellent shape!
I borrowed some gasoline from Pietro's spare caravan, and Misha poured it into the empty fuel tank.
I closed the tank cap, while little Dimi brought the jerry can back to Pietro's caravan.
Next, Misha held the scooter; while I checked its gear into free before I pulled the starting cord with both hands.
At the third pull, the engine suddenly coughed and spat out a blue cloud of smoke.
At the fourth pull, it immediately came to life, producing the so well-known sonorous and softly murmuring sound!
I turned the throttle handle a little bit, and the engine cheered loudly, exactly as it should do.
We all were in seventh heaven, and danced around our scooter like crazy.
Next, we stopped the engine, and decided to wait until Pietro had a professional look at it before we tried it out.
One could never know, and our parents always taught us to play it safe in the first place...
All three of us had some painful blisters on our hands, which started to sting now that they dried out.
But, we felt very happy, and were really proud of ourselves!
I went into our surrounding bushes, and returned with the foul smelling healing plant Misha once showed me.
After we squashed a few leaves and put its brownish juice onto our blisters, the pain disappeared almost immediately.
Suddenly, all our other friends showed up, because they had heard our cheering snow scooter and stopped their football match.
Immediately, they crowded around our still wet scooter, looking at it with surprised faces.
Joc asked Misha, with some jealousy in his voice:
"Wow, Misha, your snow scooter is a real beauty! Did you buy it? And, could I have one too?"
"Of course, you could have one too! You know about that gadjo mining company that suddenly went bankrupt?
"They are selling their used snow scooters on their market for a very low price, and everybody wants to have one.
"This morning, there were still plenty of them, and Jonno's father drove me to their town to help me buy one..."
"Oh wow! I'll ask my father to let me buy one as well, before they are sold out!"
"Yes; me too! I've saved some money from my allowances, and I hope my Dad will add the rest. Shall we go together?"
A couple of older kids rushed away in a hurry, to ask their parents to drive them to the mining market place...
Ten minutes later, five cars left our parking lot in a sudden hurry, to buy second hand snow scooters.
Two hours later, they returned, carrying very happy looking boys and proud looking parents.
All of them had muddy second hand snow scooters in their trunks!
In unison, their proud owners decided to start cleaning them early in the next morning...
The next morning, I woke up early, ushering my Mom to make me breakfast in a hurry.
After wolfing my food down, I bolted outside and immediately raced to our parking place!
Two boys were already cleaning their muddy snow scooters, laughing and joking.
Within a few minutes, the others showed up, carrying their own buckets of water and brushes.
Little Dimi showed up, and started to help them wherever he was allowed, racing from scooter to scooter...
Pietro showed up, and thoroughly tested all six snow scooters; until he was sure they would be safe enough to ride on.
Of course, little Dimi and I helped him, by pouring some fuel into all the various tanks and pulling the starting cords.
Next, Michail showed up, carrying his little sons; and he advised us how to sand and paint our scooters to perfection.
He brought his sons to Jonno's Mom; and drove to a nearby gadjo town, to buy enough sand paper and paint for all our scooters!
For quite some time, five sweaty boys were scrubbing, poking, dabbling, and getting lots of blisters...
Misha and I had started to sand our already clean scooter, trying to ready it to be painted immediately after Michail returned.
Little Dimi was again racing from scooter to scooter, trying to help everybody at the same time...
Slowly, Misha's own snow scooter started to look really nice!
However, suddenly, I felt a pang of jealousy, gnawing at my stomach...
Of course, I didn't want to envy my best friend, for having such a beautiful thing...
I also knew I would have to wait for another couple of years, until I would be old and big enough to have my own snow scooter.
In the meantime, I still had my own beautiful mountain bike, painted in our own royal colors, provided with lots of extra gadgets.
But... I also wanted to have my own snow scooter, preferably without having to wait for another couple of years!
Life was cruel to a certain little Gypsy boy, who still didn't seem to grow up...
However, almost immediately, I forced myself to step into my much nobler feelings of Royalty.
Next, I magnanimously granted all my beloved young subjects their earthly pleasures!
My time would certainly come as well!
I only had to wait patiently...
Michail returned from the nearby gadjo town, and parked his truck into its own extra large parking space.
Next, he came up to us, carrying a couple of new brushes, lots of extra sandpaper, and several tins of paint.
He put everything onto a big platter, and showed us how to mix the paint and clean any drippers without making too much of a mess.
Then, he had to clean and feed his little sons, and went home.
Misha and I had already sanded all the worn paint carefully, until the body was nicely clean and smooth.
Now, we started to paint the scooter in several nice looking dark blue and a few bright yellow colors.
Finally, we added a black and gold striping, to accentuate its outlines even more.
We stepped back, and looked from some distance at our handiwork...
Feeling very proud of ourselves, we decided that our beautiful scooter really was a sight to behold!
We started to cheer, high-fived each other, and were sure nobody else would ever be able to equal OUR scooter.
Of course, little Dimi immediately trotted towards us and wanted to partake in our pride!
We high-fived our little helper as well; and thanked him abundantly for all his invaluable help.
His proudly beaming little face lit up our surroundings, trying to equal the bright sunlight!
At the end of the day, all six snow scooters were painted in many abundant and beautifully sparkling colors.
Tomorrow, after the paint had dried sufficiently, we would put our scooters inside a few spare caravans; until we had some snow to try them out.
They absolutely were a marvel to look at, and everybody was very proud of their handiwork!
At the same time, our hands and beaming faces looked like native Indians at war...
That evening, my Dad had to wash and scrub me for a long time.
He had a hell of a job, to get all the still sticky paint off my hands and out of my hair!
Finally, my hands looked more like cooked lobsters... but the paint was gone.
Now, the only thing my friends and I had to do, was wait for a thick enough layer of snow...
A month later, finally, the long awaited snow fell down abundantly.
We were elated, and Pietro fueled our beautifully painted snow scooters to the brim.
From now on, every day, we drove off for long trips across our snowy valleys!
Of course, I always joined my friends, proudly seated on one of their buddy seats.
I was never tired of joining them, and they were never tired of having me around.
Unfortunately, the snow scooters were still way too big for my too short arms and legs!
Now and then, Misha allowed me to ride his own scooter, and I enjoyed that very much...
However, I always sat in an awkward position, and soon felt too tired to ride on.
My arms were outstretched to the maximum, while my small feet desperately tried to clamp against the slippery sides of the scooter.
Soon, I returned to Misha's back, or to one of the other buddy seats...
I desperately wanted to grow up, so that I finally would be able to enjoy riding my own snow scooter!
Or... maybe... if possible... couldn't there be some really small snow scooter, hidden in some gadjo town, which would be small enough for me?
I knew it had to be out there, especially made for small children; because my Dad once told me he had seen one...
Have a look at my site: http://www.harryanders.com
I wish you Lots of Love in your Life, and Profound Peace in your Heart.
Harry AnderS, Dutch psychotherapist and writer of 'books with a message'