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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Sep 12 07:16:44 EDT 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Attending with us was one of the twin
daughters of VGN Clerk, Wis Sowder, Rickey.  She and her twin sister Vickey
are so much alike, we can not tell the difference.  I took a photo of Wis
and Rickey, who is also a senior, and she was so excited that her sister
was not in it.  Rickey, who works at a nearby Kroger, is well known to the
Brethren who shop there.  I asked Wis where Vickey worked.  He said she did
not have to work, her husband's family was "well off".. Raymond East
quipped "I think the whole Sowder family is a little off".

Also eating nearby was our good Friend of the Virginian, Chip Oaks and his
daughter Angie.  Chip has the farm at the west end of Kumis siding and
recently found the length of copper pantograph wire I have spoken about in
this report.

For Show and Tell I took the October "Trains" magazine which had an
outstanding photo on pages 54 and 55 of an NS coal train at Keystone, WV.
 Also shown was the latest Roanoke Chapter NRHS "Turntable Times" with
several cover photos of the moving of the old train station at Boones Mill,
VA.  The town successfully raised enough money and saved the historic
building from the bull dozers.  They plan to make it a community center and
restore it like it was in the 1950s.

I passed around a Thank You card from Mrs. Ken McLain thanking us for the
flowers and support at our dear departed Brother Ken last week.  She also
noted appreciation for us having a Virginian lantern burning during Ken's
memorial service.

I told the Brethren about talking to John Euton, retired NS supervisor who
worked in the Motive Power Building shortly after the VGN-N&W merger.  John
worked on the fabrication of a slug out of one of the ex-VGN EL-Cs.  He
said N&W VP Wyatt was the man who wanted the unusual motive power to be
used as a pusher for coal trains.  John worked under N&W Electrical
Engineer Bill Garret who did NOT favor the project.  The slug was tested at
Shaffers Crossing, Bluefield and Elmore, but Mr. Garret was not enthused
about making it work so the project was scrapped.  More on this when I get
more information.

The Jewel from the Past is from January 31, 2008:  "William Scott told the
group about Charlie Thacker, conductor who sold and delivered firewood 'on
the side'.  On one occasion Charlie placed his pickup a little too near his
work and when the tree fell, it landed on top of his truck.  The next day
he got the following comment from several co workers:  'Charlie, I thought
you were suppose to cut up the firewood BEFORE you put it into the truck'"

Then there's this:  Paul Newman founded the "Hole in the Wall Gang" Camp
for children stricken with cancer, AIDS, and blood diseases.  One
afternoon, he and his wife, Joanne Woodward, stopped by to have lunch with
the kids.  A counselor at a nearby table, suspecting the young patients
wouldn't know Newman was a famous movie star, explained, "That's the man
who made this camp possible.  Maybe you've seen his picture on his salad
dressing bottle?"  Blank stares were shown by the children.  "Well, you've
probably seen his face on his lemonade carton."  An eight-year-old girl
perked up.  " How long was he missing?"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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