"Takin Twenty with the Virginian Brethren" by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 6 08:24:25 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy
Birthday Card for VGN Engineer George Raymond East. Raymond started his
career in Victoria in 1951 as a Road Fireman and retired from Norfolk
Southern with 36 years service as a Yard Engineer. He was in combat
during the Korean War. Raymond turns 87 tomorrow. Also we talked about
VGN Accountant Executive Horace "Mac" Lee McPherson, 83, who "took the
westbound" September 30, 2011. Mac had 42 years of service with the VGN
and NS in the Tax Department. I had the honor of video-taping an
interview with him last year. He told me when he began his career in the
offices of the VGN in Norfolk, they were so frugal that a "nub" from an
old one was required, when a new pencil was requested...

We discussed our invitation to the annual reunion of former Virginian
employees in Victoria, VA on October 29. Also we talked about the
October 22 dedication of the new "station" in Mullens being constructed
by Dewey Houch, with the Virginian Nation-Gathering attending that same
day. Looks like two "Road Trips" this month!

The Jewel from the Past this time is from June 23, 2005: "After much
research and discussion, it seems that all who responded were somewhat
correct about the home of 'Little Jimmy Dickens'. As the Country Music
Hall of Fame says, he was born in Bolt, WV. Bolt is real close to Glen
Rogers in Raleigh County, west of Beckley on the Fourth Sub-Division,
V&W Branch of the VGN RWY which also includes Virwest, Polk Gap, Milam,
and Milam Junction. Bolt is at the intersection of Route 99 and Glen
Rogers Road". Note: 4' 11" James Cecil "Little Jimmy" Dickens is related
to novelist Charles Dickens and at age 90, is the oldest member of the
Grand Ole Opry.

The November "Trains" Magazine was passed fro the Brethren to peruse.
This issue is all about intermodal operations. Will this be the demise
of the box car?

Passed was a Bob Drake photo taken at Clark's Gap in February 1957 with
VGN EL-3A #107 pulling a coal train up the grade on a curve. To see this
outstanding photo, typical of hundreds of coal hauls, go to:

The ebay report this time includes the following VGN items sold: Amber
tall globe (repo) globe with a "Coal on the Move" booklet and a VGN
pencil for $36.89; VGN Trust Plate for $86.95; VGN EL-3A blueprint for
$28.89; A pack of a dozen VGN pencils for $31.00; Slide of EL-C and
EL-2b for $15.49 and a "VGN RWY Handbook" for $21.00.

For "Show and Tell" I took a silver sugar bowl and lid, given to me by
Phil Thomas of Wilmington, NC. Phil's father was Section Foreman at Oak
Hill Junction. On July 28, 1941, Phil's father Don F. Thomas observed,
from the front porch of the VGN Section Foreman's home, pusher AE
2-10-10-2 #801 hit a standing supply train in the passing track at Oak
Hill Junction. The wooden club car, VGN #9027, on the rear, was
demolished. Phil said his family burned the car's wood during the next
winter. His father "released the sugar bowl on its own recognance" from
the wreck... More on this later.

Then there's this: A frog walks into a bank. He goes to the only open
teller and sees her name is Paddy Whack. "Hey, listen" says the frog, "I
really need a loan! I'm out of work, and my wife and tadpoles are at
home starving! Paddy feels very sorry for the poor frog and asks him if
he has any collateral. He holds up a small glass elephant. Paddy is a
little surprised by this and quite unsure, but takes the elephant to her
manager. "Mr. Manager, sir, there is a frog out there who really needs a
loan. He's out of work and has a wife and tadpoles who are at home
starving, and needs money to provide for them. All he has for collateral
in this little glass elephant. What should I do?" Mr. Manager takes a
good hard look at the elephant, thinks about it a little, and then
replies, "It's a knick-knack, Paddy Whack, give the frog a loan!"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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