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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jul 4 09:31:37 EDT 2013

Last night, on the eve of our nation's 237 Celebration of Independence, I
had the pleasure of "Takin Twenty" With five of the Brethren and Friends of
the Virginian Railway, on a very rainy night.

Ken McLain told the Brethren about a very cold night in the Roanoke Yard
Office sometime in the 1940s, when he observed several Virginian officials,
including Mr. Strickland, talking about de-rating tonnage for coal trains
because of the fierce cold weather. "They started with about 11,000 tons
for the next eastbound, but the warmer around that Warm Morning Stove they
got, and the more they talked, the tonnage got almost back to the normal
18,000 or so tons".

Raymond East told us about getting a flyer for the new Piggly Wiggly
grocery store, now open in Roanoke. We have now come full circle on this
one: A little history, Piggly Wiggly was the first grocery chain opened in
Roanoke, and the first to allow customers to shop for themselves instead of
having a clerk gather their items from a list. Also I found that the chain
grocery was NOT started by P. W. Iggly as suggested by one of the Brethren,
but by Clearance Saunders in 1916. He got the name from observing, from a
train window, several little pigs struggling to get under a fence.

For Show and Tell, I took the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society NS 2012-2013
Locomotive Directory with NS SD60-E #6920 military tribute locomotive on
the cover. Raymond East was intrigued so much that I loaned it to him to
take home. Also the August 2013 "Trains" was passed around. This "Trains"
is all about West Virginia with many photos and two great maps (1949 and
2013 ) showing the then and now lines that served the region. "The
Virginian" was found in many of the pages of this issue and we highly
recommend it.

We also discussed the decision that was released at a news conference at
Virginia Museum of Transportation last Friday announcing the "Go-Ahead" for
a fund raising effort to raise money to fire up the J611 once again. For
more information and ways to support this, go the VMT web site. They have
shirts, mugs and other fund raising items for sale. The Roanoke Chapter
NRHS will have a key part in running trains behind the 611 if the goal of
$3 Million is raised by October.

Thanks to the many people who requested the Catholic joke from last week.
My censor was also impressed that so many of you read this stuff.
The new Johnnie Depp movie "The Lone Ranger" is now out. This movie, about
one of my childhood heroes, the masked man and his sidekick Tonto, is newly
redone with spectacular special effects involving trains, will be on my
list of things to do this Fourth of July holiday. As a young lad who
listened to the radio theater and never missed the TV show, I was
especially interested in anything relating to it. Back then, I even paused
every time we passed the old Merita Bakery at the corner of Park Street and
Salem Ave. in Roanoke, because I thought that is were the Lone Ranger and
Tonto lived....more on the movie later.

The Jewel from the Past, like the ones in Gordon Hamilton's 950 B is from
May 17, 2007: "'Cornbread' Victory had a rooster he trained to crow at road
crossings when it rode along with the local crews on the VGN. He told a
story last night about a friend who bought a talking parrot. Seems the
parrot had a bad habit of cussing when company came. He tried everything to
get it to stop, with no good results. Once the preacher came to visit and
sure enough the parrot blurted out profanity. He immediately put the bird
in his freezer. About twenty minutes later, he went to check on the bird,
opened the freezer door a little and asked it if he was through cussing.
The bird shook his head emphatically in the affirmative. After the bird was
taken out of the freezer he asked, "I have only one thing to say. What did
that turkey do?"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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