Then I remembered that yelling at the snow would do no good. And I remembered that the spinster lady down the street from me when i was a kid used to be out all hours sweeping the side walks, all the time singing her heart out, the words were mainly profanity, but they were melodious. And I thought, perhaps I should set my curiously large vocabulary of American and foreign cuss words to music. However I decided to express myself in another way
"They say you can only spot a snow snake when it sticks out it's red tongue, and then it is too late." he continued, "the old man gave us $5 for each one we brought home." the geezer, shifted the wad of tobacco he was talking around, "Yep you take a flashlight and go out looking for them at night, too."
I watched his audience of youthful campers eyes widen. " But be careful they got a nasty bite," he cautioned "you grab "em by the tail and they roll up into a circle. Then if you let go of 'em they roll away across the snow." What a story, I thought gotta write that down someday. Might as well be today.
Then I thought, what if this is not the rambling of an old storyteller, but a real legend????
Snowsnake is an ancient Hodinöhsö:ni׳ (Iroquois) game that is played in the winter months. Traditionally, it was a men’s game that was used to sharpen one’s hunting skills. Some say that it was once also used to send messages between communities. The game is highly competitive. Today, Native teams travel between territories to compete with each other.
The event is free to the public and begins each day at 11:00 am at the Erie Rail Yard on North Main Street across from the Salamanca Rail Museum and runs until dusk. For more information about this competition, contact the Salamanca Area Chamber of Commerce at 716-945-2034 or visit www.SalamancaChamber.org (external link).