Short Stories, Siskiyou

Love on Ice

Author Don Janssen

Audio version for listening convenience

Our writer’s club had a tie for best story at our last meeting Feb 23.  To me, they are interesting because they differ so much in style.  The theme that our members were encouraged to use in their stories that month was “love.”

Bob Kaster

“I yust get all goose bumpy when you look at me like that.”  Lena smiled at her husband, Ole.  He grabbed her by the elbows and headed her toward the door.  “This is going to be a night to remember.”  Ole hustled her to the car and in a few minutes they were at Lake Sparkle in northern Minnesota.  

Ole and Lena were in love all the time.  When they walked somewhere, it was arm in arm.  When they talked, it was eye to eye.  Most of all they were the greatest pair of ice skaters in northern Minnesota.  Each one of them weighed a little less than 400 pounds.  When they hit the ice, they were as smooth as silk.  Charming as a zephyr;  as  light as the down on a thistle.  They skated cheek to cheek and back to back.  Arm in arm they circled locked leg to leg and whirled round and round and around till you thought they’d just fall over then they’d slide out of the spin and just glide away like two immense marshmallow snow persons off on a spree.

People were astounded at the agility of these two behemoths sailing along and smiling as though they were 15 year old  Olympic contestants. 

As great as they were at skating, they really excelled at ice fishing.  They even had a little fishing house that they pulled out onto the lake in mid December when the ice was thick and glassy. 

This year, it was on Valentines Day that trouble came their way.  Every year before, whether they knew it or not they had both  weighed somewhat less than 400 pounds .  This year due to lots of parties and get-togethers with friends, they had partaken in more Krum Kaka, fruit Flans, Lute Fisk and potato with butter and pies and cakes.  Really good stuff.  Even at the dance parties they had lots of Lefse and Pickled Herring to nibble on between the polka and schottisches.  They didn’t jump around as much as they had years before because they got lots of Charlie horses. Instead they sat around and bobbed their chins to the music.  They didn’t know what they weighed but instead of having two chins they had five.  On the dance floor they did OK but when they were on the ice doing a waltz or a flamenco it was gliding and sliding or turning and shhhhing  and pshhhhhhing.  Light as air.  What a pair.    

 Valentines day came along and they spent all day on the Lake in their ice fishing shack.  The white fish were running and Lena was busy pulling in lines from fishing holes in the ice.  Ole was filleting as fast as he could.  After while they took a hot chocolate break and ate deep fried fish and french fried potatoes which they consumed with a couple a beers and a bump.

As is well known to the residents of Minnesota, all lakes are rated as to the ability of its ice to withstand impacts in pounds.  They are all different.  Herbert’s Lake is rated at 600 pounds and Sparkle Lake is rated at 400 pounds.  Both Ole and Lena had put on enough party pounds to put them well over the allowance. 

As the sun went down they put on their skates and miner’s hats to give them light.  Then out onto the lake they glided with the moon and stars above they danced better than ever.   They thought.  In reality, they ran into each other quite often.  They ran into the ice fishing house a bunch of times.  When they went inside for a warm up the tiny cabin tilted a bit on one side.  When Lena sat in her rocking chair it fell over backwards with a crash.  With a skreechy sound the wood stove sank through the ice with a steamy smokey farewell.  The north end of the house raised up and the whole place started to settle and sink.  Lena and Ole headed for the door. They just got out with a couple of jars of pickled herring and a gallon of whiskey.  As they skated across the lake, taking shots, and chasing it with juicy chunks of pickled herring, Lena commented: “Ya know you can always get a new fish house but I’ll never get another you”   And Ole said;  “You betcha.”

The Siskiyou Writers’ Club is a local group of folks with a passion for creative writing of all genres.  The club generally meets the last Thursday of the month in various locations throughout Siskiyou County.  The next meeting will be Thursday, March 30, 2023, 5:00 PM, at the YMCA in Yreka. 

For more information, contact Bob Kaster, 530-598-5204, email [email protected],

or Mike Grifantini, 530-710-4882, email [email protected].

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