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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 30 08:24:14 EDT 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with five of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy Birthday card for
Landon Gregory.  Landon is very unique in this 21st century in that when he
started work on the VGN RWY one of the major forms of communication he used
as an Operator was tapping a key to interrupt a signal to send Morse code!
He advanced from that to being the Chief Dispatcher, Virginia Division with
a wall of computer screens showing every train movement in real time.
Landon turns 78 on Monday.

 We discussed our Saturday road trip to Victoria to the reunion of former
VGN employees.  According to Ron Mattox, the MC of the event, 45 people
attended.  There were 12 who worked on the VGN who posed in the final
photograph.  On the end of the restaurant there is a large blown up photo
of the final meeting of VGN #3 and #4 at Victoria in 1956.  The usual
meeting at Nutbush was moved to Victoria because of the large number who
rode the trains.  Landon Gregory, Harry Bundy and I attended from Roanoke.
During the meeting, I heard H. Bundy tell Landon, "Do you want to see the
most handsome man in the world?".  Landon went along with this questioning
and proceeded with Harry to the large photo where H. pointed out a skinny
high school lad clad in a trench coat standing beside PA #212.....It was
Harry!  (See page 126 of H. Reid's book for a quote about Harry Bundy
making this ride.)  On our way to Victoria, just before we got to
Appomattox, at Spout Springs, Landon told Harry and I, this is where one of
the first automatic operators on the N&W RR was stationed....they called it
a "Hot box detector" back then.  Also going and returning,  we observed the
long tradition started by "Slick" Inge on our first reunion of saying "HI"
to former VGN Engineer Fred Akers at the Farmville Cemetery.  Seems that
when Fred  bought the plot he got back to Victoria and told everyone he
"sorta regretted the purchase because it was pretty far from Victoria, and
no one would drop by and say 'Hello'".

 The ebay report this time has a 1909 public timetable showing at MP 254
between Salem and Lafayette a location of CORNELL.  Any body out there know
anything about Cornell?  Also sold was a 1908 VGN RWY Timetable and
Princeton Livery Company Hack ad card for $51.08.

 The Jewel from the Past is from April 3, 2008:  "A lot of discussion was
about April Fool's day and if pranks were pulled on the railway men.
Several remembered trying to ride the street cars on April first but at
almost every stop, someone would unhook the trolley wire.  Ruf remembered
someone dis-assembling his father's farm wagon and putting it back together
on top of his barn.  The best was from Jimmy Whittaker.  His wife would
replace the sugar with salt in his sugar bowl and Jimmy would have 'salty
oatmeal and coffee'.  Jimmy fondly recalled that after his wife passed
away, his son recently slipped over early on April first and changed the
sugar for salt to Honor his Mom".

 On a serious note, next Tuesday you will have the opportunity to exercise
one of the most precious freedoms you have....voting.  Please make a
difference in our Nations future by expressing your wishes for it!

 Then there's this:  The rain was pouring and there was a big puddle in
front of the pub.  A ragged old man was standing there with a rod and
hanging a string into the puddle.  A tipsy-looking, curious gentleman came
over to him and asked what he was doing.  "Fishing," the old man said
simply.  "Poor old fool," the gentleman thought and he invited the ragged
old man to a drink in the pub.  As he felt he should start some
conversation while they were sipping their whiskey, the gentleman asked,
"And how many have you caught?"  "You're the eighth." the old man answered.

 Time to pull the pin on this one!

 Departing Now from V248,

 Skip Salmon


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