"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Nov 1 08:15:45 EDT 2012

Last night on Halloween, I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight
of the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed Happy
Birthday Cards for Landon Gregory and Felix Price. Landon started his VGN
career at Abilene, VA as Operator and retired from NS with 37 years service
from NS as Chief Dispatcher, Virginia Division. Felix started in 1949 at
the Narrows Power Plant and worked there in many positions. He retired from
NS with 36 years from the Electric Department Roanoke Shops. Both have
birthdays this Saturday. Landon turns 76 and Felix 87.

Most of the talk of the night was about our Road Trip last Saturday to
Victoria to the Reunion of VGN employees. There were eight of us who
attended from Roanoke. We all gave Fred greetings as we always do at the
Farmville Cemetery. Host Ronald Mattox reported there were 51 registered at
the event at the Uptown Coffee Cafe on Main Street in Victoria. Rail
memories were heard being discussed for several hours of fellowship.
Attending from Raleigh, NC was Ken Tanner who is now the Voice of the
Durham Bulls baseball team of the International League. Ken told many
stories of his relatives who worked for the VGN, his working at Roanoke's
Rock and Roll Radio powerhouse WROV and his work with the Durham Bulls. He
told us about a recent reunion of the movie "Durham Bull". Even though
stars Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins were invited, they did not respond.
However, he spoke highly of Kevin Costner who played catcher "Crash" Davis
in the movie who attended the event. If you are ever in Victoria, I highly
recommend you stop in the Uptown Coffee Cafe and enjoy their "Virginian"
sandwich: Baked ham, Swiss cheese, bacon, LTO with honey mustard on rustic

The Jewel from the Past is from June 28, 2006: "'Slick' brought his copy of
the new book about Princeton with many rail photos. Also something you
might find interesting is that during the VGN Princeton Shops era, one of
the other largest industries in Princeton was 'I dreamed that I was _____in
my Maidenform Bra'. Yes, Maidenform Bras were made in Princeton, WV very
close to the VGN Shops. Several said 'Slick' Inge was their chief

For Show and Tell, I took my latest VGN purchase, a large pumper oil can
with the famous "VA RY CO" pressed into the metal on the side. This can is
different from the rest because the nozzle tip screws off!

Wis Sowder told of working in Altavista as a Clerk. He sold tickets and
collected fees associated with less than car load shipments. He would put
the monies and checks in a special envelope and seal them with hot wax and
a special VGN RWY stamp. Wis said "I wish I had saved one of these stamps;
I bet it would be valuable now!" He remembers giving the sealed envelopes
to the Conductor on the Local to bring back to Roanoke to turn in.

Passed around was the October "NRHS News" which has a great two page
pictorial article about the Roanoke Chapter NRHS restoration of the C&W
#662. Lewis Foster wrote this about the transformation of a bunch of rust
stored at Virginia Scrap Iron to the beauty that now is parked behind the
1776 at VMT.

Attending with us last night was Robert Ersal Glass, VGN Clerk. Slick Inge
gave him the nick name "Lil Abner" after a comic page character. Abner
attended the event in Victoria last Saturday and came on to Roanoke to
visit family and to evade hurricane Sandy which hit Norfolk, his hometown.
He told us about being a VGN Clerk and Weighmaster and working with the
foreign crews on coal collier ships docked in Sewells Point. He enjoyed
eating aboard the ships with their Captains and crew. Once when the meat
was running low, he said that Italian crewmen told the Captain to "give
mine to the American". Abner reported that his home survived hurricane
damage and he will return there today.

I want to close today on a serious note. Next Tuesday we will make
decisions that will change our future. As a Friend of the Virginian Railway
and retired employee of Norfolk Southern, with many friends and relatives
who live in the coal fields, I urge to consider voting YES for COAL when
you choose between Willard Mitt Romney and Barack Hussein Obama II.

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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