Dimich Outdoors

In his story, “The Big Trip,” celebrated outdoor humorist Patrick McManus wrote, “Through practical experience, I learned that it is best not to dry wet boots over a fire with your feet still in them.”

In this day and age of popularizing puns for greeting cards, “t” shirts and other such commercial undertakings, to quote 1950’s slang, one of the “ginchiest” is the play on words using the timeless “s’more.” Examples of which are, “Life is s’more fun when you live in the moment” and “Life is s’more fun when you stop worrying and start playing and laughing more.” Incidentally, “ginchiest,” although now pretty much only heard on the golden oldies radio channels, had its moment in the sun when in 1959 Connie Stevens and Edd Burns did the duet, “Kookie, Kookie, Lend me your Comb.”

To background, “s’more” is a contraction of the phrase “some more.” And, according to Wikipedia, one early published recipe for a s’more is found in a book of recipes published by the Campfire Marshmallows company in the 1920s, where it was called a “Graham Cracker Sandwich” and was already popular with both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Out of curiosity, do you remember the first time you downed those graham crackers filled with marshmallow/chocolate toasted over a crackling campfire? Before we forget, mark August 10 down on your calendars—it’s National S’more Day.

For many, one of the best things about the opening fishing weekend is the first campfire of the year. Although its smoke seems to find us no matter where we sit, who among us cannot relate to and smile at legendary outdoor humorist Patrick McManus’ assessment of the simplistic beauty of a campfire when he wrote in his September, 1999 “Outdoor Life” essay, “Of Fire and the Night”: “Poking at a campfire with a stick is one of life’s great satisfactions.”

Just like from the 1959 epic movie, “The Ten Commandments,” when Moses himself, Charlton Heston, says dramatically, “so let it be written,” our fishing crew on the evening before opener did just that. Well, to be truthful, we sort of used poking sticks. Although our prodding devices were more like a number two shovel, hockey stick with no blade and the occasional boot, the intent was the same. And, even though we did not have a distinguished narrator to oversee and play-by-play our every move like the movie did, we still had plenty of dialogue to parlay the excitement and anticipation each opener eve so fittingly brings about. Once again, because the movie trivia button has been activated, we must share that the narrator of “The Ten Commandments” was none other than the Hollywood anointed “Father of the American Cinema,” famous film producer, Cecil B. DeMille. Ironically, his multiple Oscar winning epic, “The Ten Commandments,” was not only a remake of his 1927 wildly popular film, it was his last film.

As most of you well know, campfire and boat discussions are as wide and varying as our Minnesota spring weather. And, in that vein and speaking of narrators and play-by-play announcers, how many of us had discussions about the merits of NFL commentators like Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, the NHL’s Don Cherry, Barry Melrose and MLB’s Bert Blyleven, to name a few, followed by strenuous yeas and nays? In addition, for the NFL hockey fans, even though our Wild finished “just out” of the playoffs, we are also sure when legendary NHL lead announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick’s name is mentioned, all heads “nod” positive. Also, as expected, because we Minnesota fans don’t forget, no tears were shed for the “cheating” New Orleans Saints being victims of a ref’s no call and the Dallas “Stars” (formerly Minnesota “North Stars”) exiting the playoffs.

To be sure, each boating crew has certain traditional sayings regarding fishing strategy and prowess. Our boat, for instance, likes to muster up veteran angler Ralph “The Outdoorsman” Carlson’s virtuoso creation referencing the NFL when the fish are not biting, intoning “NFL” means “Not For Long.” We also like to allude to Ralph’s conceptualization of “Peter and Wendy” from J.M. Barrie’s wonderfully ageless 1904 book, “Peter Pan.” The allusion is, unfortunately, not a warm and cuddly one as it alludes to fishing not where the fish are as in “Neverland.” If you didn’t laugh, be comforted that other overly serious fishing people don’t either—not because it isn’t funny, but because when the question of, “Is that Peter and Wendy over there?” arises, it is usually aired when no fish are biting and therefore not a laughing matter for some.

Interestingly enough, unlike other outdoor ventures like golfing, for example, fishing, although competitive sometimes, offers a unique setting to bond as we really can’t just get in a cart and scurry off. Also, not many fishermen throw their rods or do what “Seinfeld’s” Kramer said he did when the dentist pulls out the Novocain needle, “letting the expletives fly!” Not surprisingly, many of the corporate group fishing trips we partake in have now added fishing to their trips because, although golfing is mostly relaxing, it can lead to a bit of consternation and, truth be told, the participants, especially the reps and their customers, really don’t get to spend quality time together as golf cart gallivanting doesn’t offer the same quality time as sitting in the confines of an 18’ to 20’ boat swapping bait and stories.

To illustrate this phenomenon, consider some of the boat talk shared last weekend. How many of us, for example, marveled at the innovation of the quick microwavable breakfast sandwiches of egg, cheese, various meats on varying bread-stuffs or the sausage wrapped in a pancake on a stick like a popsicle? The pancake reference, of course, re-kindled visions of past Lion’s Club pancake dinners and mom’s famous flapjacks.

To demonstrate how far we’ve come, many a boat (especially the back-in-the-dayers) again had “wows” over bottled water, pastrami and bagels (once only New “Yawk” things) and cell phones ringing with no one even jumping now as we did when they first appeared. We were also amazed at how free of litter our lakes and road ditches are now. To which, to be sure, mention was made of even though we sternly preach “no litter” to the kids, they are confused while watching MLB players spit spittle and seeds and haphazardly toss cups and whatnot on the dugout floors for some poor soul to clean up.

Added to this, turkeys sighted in the ditches roused discussions of whether they eat grouse eggs as did questioning why a Minnesota governor at the Governor’s Opener would once again fish in a non-Minnesota made boat (pontoon this year). Some other highlights were laughing about the commercial with a fisherman hoisting a metal hook stringer of crappies out of a live well and seeing the obvious photo-shopped picture of a purported 73” muskie found floating on Mille Lacs. This was followed by calling “uhg” at the pro fishing people pointing their fish at the camera like a battering ram and disrespectfully bragging how they were “smacking-down” the fish and “ripping some lips!” To which, in deference to the late “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, all agreed the mantra should be “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” We could say “s’more” about that, but that might be going to the well once too often.

Good luck fishing, be safe, take the kids along and enjoy that first “ginchy” s’more.

Nik and Rod Dimich are on the pro staffs of Mercury Marine and Ray’s Sport & Marine in Grand Rapids, Minn. Rod is also a pro-staffer for L&M Supply and his radio show “Woods & Water” can be heard each Friday at 5:50 P.M. on KQDS 95, 106.3 on “The Train Wreck’s Drive at Five.” To contact Dimich Outdoors, please email: rdimich@msn.com. Kristin Dimich contributes to this column.

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