"Takin Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 3 07:00:01 EDT 2014

Last night I had the honor of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the Brethren and
Friends of the Virginian Railway. This meeting was special because it was
10 years ago (April 1, 2004) when I wrote the first "Takin' Twenty"
Report. I have posted on this sight under "Skip's Photos" a photo of three
of the Brethren holding our "10 year sign". They are Wis Sowder, former
VGN Clerk; Landon Gregory, former VGN Operator and Raymond East, former VGN
Engineer. Visiting with us was our waitress for most of the 10 years,
Princess, who brought her brand new (5 weeks old) son, Houston. The
Brethren made Houston an honorary VGN Brother and promised to help get him
a job on the railroad when he grows up. (They will be about 100 if this
comes true!).

For Show and Tell I took the January-March 2014 Roanoke Chapter NRHS
newsletter "Turntable Times". This issue has on the back inside cover a
photo of a brand new Virginian H-14 hopper # 5675, posing outside the car
shop at Princeton December 17, 1956. This Virginian paint job lasted until
May 18, 1982 when it was renumbered # 15675 and painted in N&W scheme at
Lamberts Point. This, and other "Turntable Times" are available for
viewing on line at the Roanoke Chapter web sight. Also passed around was
the 2013 Norfolk Southern Annual Report "What we move moves the economy".
Landon Gregory was quick to point out to the Brethren on the inside cover,
the operating ration (what it costs to generate one dollar) for NS for 2013
was 71.0%, down from the 2012 71.7% or 71 cents to generate a dollar. He
was also quick to tell us that the 1958 Virginian Railway annual report
(last one for a full year) showed it took the VGN 51 cents to make a dollar!

We talked about the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society Convention coming to
Roanoke in June. On Saturday June 28, I asked if the Brethren could be at
the Station to help with a tour for the Convention and all said they would
help if they were healthy enough.

Jeff Sanders brought the Brethren a nice flyer about the upcoming overhaul
and re-steam program for the N&W J #611. She will dead-head to Spencer in
May and return to Roanoke, under steam for hopefully steam excursions in
2015. One even suggested having the 611 pull the first Amtrak train out of
Roanoke to Lynchburg..........(sound of a new can of worms being opened).

PERSONAL NOTE: Thank the Lord for a phone call I got from my grandson
Hunter when I got home last night, telling us he was OK. He is in the US
Army and was transferred from Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, last week to Fort
Hood Texas. The shooting yesterday was near his barracks and he actually
heard the shots.

No one could recall any April fool jokes being pulled on them on Tuesday,
but this reminded me of this week's Jewel from the Past: "Bob Rowland (VGN
Clerk) told the best story of the night. Seems when he was about 14 in
1942, his grandmother, who lived on the outskirts of Princeton up a long
winding road, had an old Chevrolet. Bob learned to drive it and could even
back it up the muddy roads from the grocery store. She told Bob he needed
to get a driver's permit, even though he was not yet the required age of
16. She was the type of person who never told a lie, so when she took him
to the Justice of the Peace to get the permit, wrote on the bottom of his
shoes "OVER SIXTEEN". When she was asked by the JP 'Is that boy over 16?',
she could answer, 'yes he is!'"

Then there's this: A very attractive lady was standing in line at the Post
Office when a gentleman about her age, tapped her on the shoulder. When
she turned around, he said "Oh, I'm sorry, you remind me of someone I went
to school with. You look like Helen Brown". The lady, being sort of
flattered, answered, "You should see me in my red dress!"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon

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