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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 30 07:09:49 EDT 2013

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. They are anxious to see the much
talked about P. Buckley Moss print of the Virginian Station, that was the
center piece of a convention in Roanoke last weekend. We will be offering
these for sale soon and I will keep you posted.

Thanks for the many responses about the Claytor video from last week. This
is truly an example of what may still be out there. We were told that this
footage would be made available for future viewing and that there "is a
tape II". I am working on the possibility of getting some of this precious
recording for inclusion into the Station audio-video library.

We were saddened yesterday to hear about the passing of Claudine Miller.
She is the mother of Ken Miller, our Historian, and Past President, of the
Roanoke Chapter NRHS, and a Friend of the Virginian.

The Brethren spent a lot of time last night talking about William "Willy
the Jinx" Jinx, Virginian Carman who worked in and around AltaVista.
"Willy" was known for his "greasiness"; so much that a new VGN Agent, R. L.
Cross, wouldn't allow him in the office. He is also known for his candor
with the press after he "spilled the beans" that "got him into some kind of
trouble with the RR" after a derailment near AltaVista, with his
explanation of the event. Section Foreman "Rifle" Spanetta was also a topic
of conversation. Wis Sowder remembered that "Rifle" still spoke Italian and
he "couldn't understand a word he said". Raymond East quipped "Rifle was so
old he must have 'come with the Railroad when it was built'". Landon
Gregory and Ken McLain told stories of planting "smoke bombs" in fellow VGN
employees cars so when they were started, smoke would roll out from under
the hood. Once one of them, neither would "own up to it", planted one in
"Willy the Jinx" old car and when he started it up, he bailed out, ran
across two live tracks, and dove into a ditch". Landon (hint, hint, hint)
said Willy said afterwards "I thought she was going to blow up; I had a
five gallon gas can in the trunk".

The Jewel from the Past is from March 22, 2007: "The best story of the
night was one about a boy who attended a Catholic School, and the school
tried to teach morals to the students in various ways. Seems a boy was
going through the cafeteria line when he came upon a large bowl of red
apples. A sign in front of the bowl said: 'TAKE ONLY ONE...GOD IS
WATCHING'. He got his apple and proceeded in line until he came upon a
large plate of chocolate chip cookies. He couldn't resist. He got out his
pencil and wrote a note on a piece of paper and placed it in from of the

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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