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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 24 08:03:30 EDT 2014

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
former Virginian Clerk Wis Sowder. Wis clerked all over the VGN RWY and is
now runs a small farm in a hollow on the northern slope of Bent Mountain,
VA. He is one of the most faithful Brethren and always has a "gem" for us,
when we take twenty. He recently lost his wife and lives alone with his
cat. Wis is 88 today.

For Show and Tell I took the April 2014 "NRHS News". This issue features
several restoration projects the NRHS has provided grants. Also featured
is the NRHS Rail Camp where our youth spend a "hands on" week working on
rail projects. It is good to know that we are providing rail heritage for
the future. I also took a VGN Watch Inspection Card from July 1955 showing
that a Track Worker, Manuel C. Fields had purchased a 17 jeweled "ladies
watch" on time. The purchase price was $67.50 with payments of $9.60,
twice a month. The card says "In case of voluntarily lay off, leave the
employ of the above employer, am discharged or laid off, or if any doubt
arises as to my being retained in service, all unpaid installments shall be
immediately payable." This item prompted a discussion about watches.
Landon Gregory told us that when RR watches were inspected every six
months. The travelling inspector had a device that listened to the ticks
of the watch and put out a chart showing its accuracy for adjustment.
Gordon Hamilton said each watch had to "not loose 30 seconds in two
weeks". I told my watch story about purchasing (on my own) a Bulova
Acutron Railway Approved wrist watch with the tuning fork visible. While
working one day, I noticed that the watch was gaining time at a rapid pace.
I sent it back to Bulova. They called me and asked where I worked and
what I did. Seems they had not seen anything happen exactly like this.
The fact was I was working in the electronics panel on an Alco C-630
diesel which had a power supply emitting a 400 cycle signal. The watch was
tuned to 360 cycles so the 400 HZ sped it up. Bulova was impressed and
sent me a brand new watch.

I have posted on this site under "Skip's Photos" a flyer I gave the
Brethren last night. It is advertising the Roanoke Valley Mopar Club
Advance Auto Parts Pit Stop Cruise-In car shows for 2014. A true Friend of
the Virginian Railway, Eddie Mooneyham, who is in the club, gave me the
flyers. It features some really hot cars posing in front of our Virginian
Station in Roanoke. The original plan was to pose a VGN electric in the
photo but about the time the New York advertising people were preparing the
flyer, the Fire-Up the 611 promotion was started, so the 611 is posed on A1
track behind the station. People from all over the country and some
foreign countries, are now getting these flyers for these events. The 611
us also featured on the new Pulaski, VA police patch.

The Jewel from the Past, like those in an Elgin 21 jewel "Father Time" with
RR case and "over and under" is from November 1, 2007: "A story came out
of our trip to Victoria. Seems Greg Elam, town Councilman, (and Manager of
the Rail Park) has to work with the local police from time to time. Just
up the road from Victoria is the Lunenburg Correctional Center. Once a
midget spiritualist escaped there, and Greg had to relay to the police the
All Points Bulletin: 'Be on the lookout for a small medium at large'".

I have featured several Catholic stories, lately so here's one for us
Christians: A well worn one dollar bill and a similarly distressed twenty
dollar bill arrived at the Federal Reserve Bank to be retired. As they
moved along the conveyor belt to be burned, they struck up a conversation.
The twenty reminisced about its travels all over the country. "I've been
to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the finest restaurants in New York,
performances on Broadway, and even a cruise to the Caribbean." "Wow", said
the one dollar bill "You've really had an exciting life" "So, tell me",
says the twenty,"'where have you been throughout your lifetime?" The one
dollar bill replies, "Oh, I've been to the Methodist Church, the Baptist
Church, the Lutheran Church". The twenty dollar bill interrupts, "What's a

Time to pull the pin on this one.

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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