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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jun 12 07:34:45 EDT 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Attending for the first time was
Billy Palmer, neighbor of VGN Clerk Wis Sowder and retired from Norfolk
Southern Signal and Communications Department.  He fit right in telling
stories of the "old days".

I have two corrections from last week's report:  Mr. Moorman's comment
about wanting "his train back" from St. Louis, referring to the N&W Y6a
#2156, was made at the 2007 NRHS National Convention in Chattanooga.
Secondly Keith reminded me that there was another Alco PA at the Spencer
stream liner event and it was the Canadian National  #6789.

We talked a lot about the upcoming N&W (and VGN) Historical Society
Convention, the last week end of this month.  Several of the Brethren are
looking forward to the 80 or so who are scheduled to attend a tour of our
Station on Saturday morning and meeting you all.  Looks like we will have
to split the tour and send 40 to the Roanoke Chapter NRHS 9th Street
Facility, and 40 to the Station and then reverse course to cover both
locations.  This means the Brethren will be at the Station all of the
morning.  Included in the tour of the Station will be a display of
artifacts and a DVD interview of Rufus Wingfield, former VGN Yardmaster at
South Yard, made in 2009 just before he took his last west bound.

For Show and Tell, I took a photo sent to me by Friend of the Virginian
Steve Smith.  He shot it 6-5-14 from NS-36 test train Research Car
inspecting A-1 track while passing the VGN  station in Roanoke.  Steve said
he wanted us to see a"another passenger train visiting the Station in
2014".  This photo will be on display at the Station during the Convention.

The Jewel from the Past is from December 6, 2007:  "When we got Slick back
to the Harmon's home in Princeton, there was again some rail talk.  Landon
told about using green and white flags during the day and a special lantern
with a green/clear globe at night to flag the VGN passenger trains.  Green
and White was used so the engineer would know it was a 'flag stop' versus
an 'emergency stop'.  Slick and George (Harmon) talked about a VGN
Princeton Conductor, Zeb Fortner, who was famous for his poetry.  Slick
said once he and Berkley Mills came upon Zeb at the Steel Drug Store in
Mullens, and Mr. Mills addressed Zeb 'Hello Shakespeare'. Landon, Slick and
George said they had seen the following example of Fortner poetry inside
several VGN phone boxes:  'Zeb Fortner, Master of his train; His head in
the phone box and his ass in the rain'".

Then there's this:  Two sisters, one blond and one brunette, inherit the
family ranch.  Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in financial
trouble.  In order to keep the bank from repossessing the ranch, they need
to purchase a bull so they can breed their own stock.  Upon leaving, the
brunette tells her sister, When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull,
I'll contact you to drive out after me and haul it home.'  The brunette
arrives at the man's ranch, inspects the bull and decides she wants to buy
it.  The man tells her that he will sell it for $599, no less.  After
paying him, she drives to the nearest town to send her sister a telegram.
 She walks into the telegraph office and says, 'I want to send a telegram
to my sister telling her that I've bought a bull for our ranch.  The
operator explains that he'll be glad to help her and it would cost 99 cents
a word.  The brunette then realizes she'll only be able to send her sister
one word.  After a few minutes of thinking, she nods and says, 'I want you
to send her the word 'comfortable.' The operator shakes his head 'How is
she ever going to know that you want her to hitch the trailer to your
pickup truck and drive out here to haul that bull back to your ranch if you
send her just the word 'comfortable?'  The brunette explains, 'My sister's
blond.  The word is BIG. She'll read it very slowly...'com-for-da-bul.'

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon

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