Tuesday, 7 August 2012

United Friends Challenge #254: Hornussen and Antonio

Fall is upon us, and let's face it, people do a lot of goofy things in preparation for winter, and dressing up in costume is not the worst of it. For this challenge, write about a goofy thing done on a yearly basis in the fall. What you write about must be based in fact, the event or activity actually has to exist, Punkin Chunkin, for example. The twist you put on it can be entirely fictional
Antonio Meccano was a young Italian, although born in Switzerland. He was a so-called secondo, the second generation of an Italian family. This was no problem, he spoke the local patois as if he was one of the “natives”, had visited a Swiss school and was now working in a Swiss company. He was perhaps almost 100% Swiss, but the 100% Italian was hovering in the background in the shape of mama and papa. They were proud of their son being so successful in their adopted country, although Antonio did not trust himself to tell them that when he was on holiday in Italy his relations and friends called him “Lo Svizzero” (the Swiss).

Now and again, in the company where he worked, the employees would organise an outing or something special in their free time. They might go out in the evening for a meal, perhaps organise a skiing trip somewhere in the mountains, or even the visit to a concert.

It was during Summer that one of the colleagues had a good idea. He was a member of the Hornusser team in the local village. Ok, ok, now what is that I can hear you all saying. What is Hornusser? You could perhaps call it “Farmer’s Tennis” although the farmers and the Honussers would probably be insulted. You don’t have a ball but something called a “Nouss” which is made of vulcanite and sits at the end of a guiding rail. The instrument used for hitting looks like a long piece of steel wire with a knob at the end and you hold it by a long wooden handle. The idea is to hit the Nouss and send it flying as far as possible. There are about 10 farmers from the opposing team all standing in a row with large wooden boards held up to stop it flying too far. The team that sends the Nouss the furthest has won.

Soon the evening arrived and Antonio and his friends met at the house of the Hornusser club situated at the side of a large field. The only person that had even played this game was the co-worker that had organised the evening. Of course, they were there for fun. The women were only allowed to play as a joke, although some of the men were astonished that a few women actually managed to hit the Nouss. It is really not easy. On this evening there were no farmers organised to stop the Nouss making a long journey. It was not a serious game they were playing. Then it was Antonio’s turn.

A gasp of astonishment could be heard as he took the wooden handle in his hand, gave a swing with the hitting instrument (and you had to swing it to give it enough impetus to hit the Nouss) and he hit the Nouss with such force that it spun into the air and went on a long journey. Not only once, but many times did he achieved this result.

Of course, his colleagues were clapping, jokes were made about the Italian that showed the Swiss how to play the game properly and the next day in the office he was still the talk of the day.

“What did your mum and dad say when you got home?” he was asked.

“They were pleased” was the answer “but not really impressed. They found that for the son of an Italian family it was not so important.”

Actually they just laughed, if he had told the truth, and found that an Italian had no business playing a game for Swiss farmers.

This would have been the beginning and end of all, if he had not been seen by Sepp Gantenbein, the head of the Hornusser club: at last an unknown talent was discovered. The Hornusser championships were being played in October in the mountain village of Lenk, and he saw Antonio as the club’s secret weapon.

Antonio was approached by his co-worker who had organised the evening.

“Antonio, how would you like to join our Hornusser club, we could use a natural talent like yourself.”

“I don’t know” was the answer “you know mama and papa.......”

“But Antonio, they would be proud of you. We have training once a week.”

Antionio thought “why not” and appeared at the club house the following week, telling his mama and papa that he had extra football training, not wanting to get them unnecessarily disturbed by the fact that Italian son was playing Swiss farmer’s games. Now and again he came home in the evening, perhaps with a blue mark on his face, but he explained to mama and papa they were football injuries. He couldn’t tell them that he had been hit by a stray Nouss when he tried to stop it with the board. His strength was actually in hitting, although being tall, he also had the highest score of stopping the Nouss.

The month of October soon arrived and he would have to travel to Lenk and stay a few days for the Hornusser championships. He just had to tell mama and papa a little white lie that he was at a football training camp. This would have been a good idea, had his parents not met Mario who was in the same football team as Antonio.

“Mario” asked Papa Meccano “I thought you were at the football training camp with Antonio”.

“What camp?” asked Mario

“You mean there is no training camp?” was the answer from Papa Meccano.

“There is no training camp at the moment; we have a game next week. Antonio has been excused by our trainer of course, as he will be attending the Hornusser championship finals in Lenk.”

“He is attending what and where? Ah yes, I forgot” answered Papa Meccano, feeling quite foolish. He decided it would not be wise to tell Mario that he had no idea of his son’s new hobby. He decided to make a journey to Lenk with Mama Meccano of course, to see what was going on.

He arrived in time in Lenk to attend the final match. Antonio’s team were playing; the first time they had reached the finals in ten years, all thanks to Antionio’s talent. Of course they won and carried Antonio on their shoulders and everyone clapped and praised the success. Antonio was a hero. Mama and Papa also noticed that he was being celebrated under the name of Anton Mech, the new Hornuss discovery.

What could Mama and Papa do? Of course they were proud of their son, although they would perhaps have preferred to have celebrated his success as a footballer one day for Juventus, Turin , or Roma football club.

It was decided that Antonio’s name would remain as Anton Mech in Hornusser circles. They wanted to make sure that his nonno and nonna (grandfather and grandmother) in deepest Italy did not find out that he was the new Swiss Hornuss champion.

No comments:

Post a Comment