"So where is everybody?" emailed an observant reader, noting the conspicuous absence of her favorite WW&W correspondents the past coupla columns.
They're on assignment, vacation, or both.
"Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading about Mark Martin's Ice Fishing School on Saginaw Bay, Shiver on the River, and Calumet and Laurium's awesome glacier control, but that's enough reality for me; I wanna hear what's going on with those hot fictional Finnish farm girls."
"It feels good to be back," WW&W wildlife correspondent Paris Hiltunen smiled, looking fit, tan and tempting after a two-week working vacation at an undisclosed beach resort in the Florida Keys where there's always something fishy going on. "Is that a dipsy diver in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?" she winked in her sauciest Mae West imitation by a Yooper Finnish farm girl ever. "Did I mention I caught and released my first tarpon?"
"I sure enjoyed the break," she added, "Look at me, not a tan line to show for it."
"Me too," agreed WW&W fundamentalist religion correspondent Al Postolic. "I used the time off to go out on Copper Harbor with my ice fishing buddy, WW&W adult beverage correspondent Al Cohol; we ran into a pretty hot splake bite, and Al always brings along a little Christian Brothers brandy to celebrate and ward off the chill. "We had our best luck yigging small crushed ice Swedish Pimples tipped with nervous fathead minnows right off the bottom in about 10 feeta water," he tipped, "It sure beats church, even when they're not biting. There's a good 10 inches to a foota ice at Hunter's Point."
"Wanna hear a good one I heard in the ice tent?" he grinned, "Why does Glenn Beck come on at 5 p.m.? Because his audience goes nukkuma at six."
That's one show I miss with religion; I'm on the ice for the evening bite and cocktails at that time.
One of my favorite local urban ice fishing holes is Sandy Bottom's place, where she, Paris and I drill down, share a shanty, set our tip-ups and get yiggy. When the bite is slow we yump on the snowmobile and zip on over to Dolly Partanen's for a hot toddy, conveniently located a halfa mile away in downtown Dollar Bay. When we get back to the shack an hour later, we've got a trophy bullhead on every hook.
"Paris has developed such a passion for ice fishing, she calls it vice fishing" Sandy said. "She loves her new drill and can bore through a foota ice a lot quicker than I do," she added, "and there's nothing boring about her."
"Not just any ice drill but my Yiffy ice drill," Paris smiled proudly, revving it up like a pro. "My Yiffy drills down in a yiffy," she said in her lilting Yooper Finnish farm girl accent. "But don't take my word for it, go to jiffyiceaugers.com."
"If you wanna see a spiffy ice fishing tent, check out All Seasons Upholstery at Facebook.com/allseasonsupholstery," Paris continued. "Or call Isaac Knuuttila, 482-6552, cell 281-3777, and go see 'em in person at his showroom out on Houghton Canal Road. They're jet black and come in a cool teepee style with an eight square foot base and a six-foot peak," she described. "I can stand up inside in stilettos with headroom to spare, and you can't go wrong with basic black," she added fashionably.
"They set up quick so you can be yiggin' in a yiffy," she said, milking her natural Finnish brogue for all it's worth. "How long is a yiffy anyway? "
Good question. "How long is a yiffy?" Email your answers to my address right there at the bottom of the column where it always is and you might win a prize. Best answer could win a Yiffy ice auger, ostensibly named for how quick they drill through ice, or they're missing a marketing bet.
"Don't forget the Chassell VFW Ice Fishing Tournament tomorrow," Paris reminded local ice anglers, "I'll be there to demonstrate how to drill a hole in a yiffy with my Yiffy, and share my tip-up tips for big northern, she said. "To register, call Jesse Sohlden, 523-9089."
"I know that having to be there at the cracka dawn is just an old wive's tale," she added, "Take it from a young single Finnish farm girl, the fish don't bite til you get there, and if I'm doing the drilling, you can be yigging in a yiffy."
Jim can be reached in a yiffy 24/7/365 at firstname.lastname@example.org.