Snow Snakes!


Hello

Today we are going to Muse about Snow Snakes.  If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.

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Snow Snakes!

A Dance of Folly

A Dance of Folly

Today I thought I would discuss snow snakes.  You may be familiar with them.  I am thinking of them because some of my old classmates, those still around, are working on a school reunion.  That is where I first learned of snow snakes.

I went to high school at Nouasseur Air Force base in Morocco, about 20 miles from Casablanca.  During my senior year a group of us went on a ski trip in the Atlas mountains.  Many people do not realize there is skiing in Morocco, but I understand today it is big business.  When we were there it was pretty rustic.

We stayed at a monastery near the town of Ifrane.  You can see Ifrane on the map here.

map of Ifrane

map of Ifrane

It was not far from the ancient cities of Fez and Meknes in the middle Atlas mountains.

Ifrane

Ifrane Today

This is how it looked back then.

Rita Berge in Ifrane

Rita Berge in Ifrane

Dottie Hoffman in Ifrane

Dottie Hoffman in Ifrane

The bus trip up was exciting and interesting.  Along the way we stopped for a visit at Happy Valley, a beautiful park with sculpted walkways and grottos. Don’t remember how long we stayed there, but I do remember being impressed.

Tom Tribby in Happy Valley

Tom Tribby in Happy Valley

Bobby Beucus, Dottie Hoffman, Scarlett Stone

Bobby Beucus, Dottie Hoffman, Scarlett Stone

At the monastery near Ifrane, we were housed in  large cabins, the boys in one and the girls in another.  I think there were about fifteen kids in each cabin.  We ate in a communal hall seated at long tables.  One surprise was the wine.  Each of us was served a small carafe, a glass or two, of wine with our dinners.  That was great!  A number of the kids would not touch it and I was able to commandeer four or five carafes.  Very mellow dinner.

As I recall, the ski equipment was old and in poor shape.  I had never skied before and was somewhat at a loss.  The skis were wood and badly in need of wax.  I stood facing down on a slope and they wouldn’t slide.  Very frustrating!  The day devolved into sledding and snow ball fights.  Some of us may have done better.

Morris Thompson on the slopes

Morris Thompson on the slopes

The first night there we guys went over to the girls’ cabin and knocked the snow, which was about six inches thick, off the cabin roof so that it filled up the walkway to the cabin.  The idea was to block the cabin door so that they would have to go in and out through the window.  Don’t know why, but it seemed pretty fun at the time.

The next day they let us know they were ticked.  The snow had been insolation keeping the cabin warm.  Without the snow layer they had a frigid night.

So what does this have to do with snow snakes?  On the trip to the Atlas mountains a number of the fellows who had gone on the trip the year before, the “experienced” fellows, kept talking and laughing about snow snakes.  They were certain we would see snow snakes.  They kept it up most of the drive.  I had no idea what they were talking about.

After our fun trick on the girls we guys retired to our cabin.  One of the kids owed me a dollar.  He chose to repay me with Cognac.  A pint of Cognac cost about a buck.

Now I had never had Cognac and did not know how to deal with it.  So I drank it like a coke.  Probably consumed the pint in less than twenty minutes.  And then there was the cabin bottle.  Someone had bought a fifth of Cognac that was being passed around for all to share.  We were so naughty.  I had to have my share of course.  Which I did.

Soon I was very sleepy and crawled into my bed.  Suddenly I awoke, bolting out of bed.  My stomach was rising in my throat.  And I understood.  I yelled “Snow Snakes”  and they rushed the door open and threw me outside into a snow bank.

More to come

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About Thomas L. Tribby

Professional artist: painter, sculptor, print maker. Maintains a studio in West Palm Beach, Florida
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