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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jan 22 08:27:06 EST 2015

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with five of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. I told the Brethren about my bride
Judi and I making it to our 50th Wedding Anniversary last Friday.  This
prompted the others to tell of their years married to the same woman.
Raymond East was the leader with 61 years; Landon Gregory has 57 and Wis
Sowder was married for 50 years also before his wife passed away.

 Thanks to Abe Burnett for donating a Virginian Railway equipment trust
plate, with Hanover Bank Trustee, to our Virginian Museum.  Abe we
appreciate your generosity.

 For Show and Tell, I took the Jan-Feb-Mar 2015 publication of the Norfolk
and Western (and Virginian) Historical Society "The Arrow".  This issue has
part 5 of "The Electric Virginian" "The N&W Merger and the end of
Electrification".  This is one of the very best "Arrows" ever published and
I encourage you to join the N&W HS or purchase a copy.  In the "Talk Among
Friends" section under "correction" is a photo or our own Raymond East (I
have posted a copy of my photo of this on Skip's Photos).  In the last
issue of this 2014 publication it was mis-stated in the article I wrote
that Raymond East was 80 when he made his visit to the Society's Archives.
Raymond turned 90 on 10-7-14 so I asked them to correct this.  "While
Raymond may have appreciated getting 10 years back, we wanted to note that
he has lived them and deserves to count them".

 The Jewel from the Past is from May 29, 2008:  "Landon Gregory responded
to recent discussion from our readers about different colored lantern
globes used on the line.  He remembered during the day, operators and
station agents used green and white flags to stop passenger trains at 'flag
stops'.  At night they used a special lantern with a green and clear
globe.  The green was painted diagonally to make a green/clear globe.  I
bet one of these would bring a premium price on ebay!"

 Landon and Wis talked about operations on the line and how sometimes the
steam locomotive would "puke" and spray a foul mixture all over the place.
If this got on cars, it would "mess up the paint".  Raymond recalled that
Walter "Dog Face" Hudson would park his car as far away from the tracks as
possible.  Wis said that Walter's son "Doggy Jr." became "some sort of
Official on the N&W".  They also talked about some of the unusual work
schedules contended with on the line.  Landon said that several times
during one week period he worked one day as Operator at Huddleston, one day
at Goodview, one day at JK, one day at AG and the last day at South Norfolk!

 Then there's this:  Letter from West Virginia farm kid writing home from
Marine Corps recruit training:  Dear Ma and Pa, I am well.  Hope your are.
Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old
man Minch by a mile.  Tell them to join up quick before all of the places
are filled.  I was restless at first because you get to stay in bed til
nearly 6 AM.  But I am getting so I like to sleep late.  Tell Walt and
Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth you cot, and shine some
things.  No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire
to lay.  Practically nothing.  We go on 'route marches', which the platoon
sergeant says are long walks to harden us.  If he thinks so, it's not my
place to tell him different.  A 'route march' is about as far as to our
mailbox at home.  Then the city guys get sore feet and we git to ride back
in trucks.  This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing.  I keep
getting medals for shooting.  I don't know why.  The bulls eye is near as
big as a squirrel's head and don't move, and it ain't shooting back at you
like them Higgett boys at home.  All you got to do is lie there all
comfortable and hit it.  You don't even load your own cartridges.  They
come in boxes.  Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training.
You get to wrestle with them city boys.  I have to be real careful though,
they break real easy. Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join
before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.  Your
loving daughter, Alice.

 Time to pull the pin on this one!

 Departing Now from V248,

 Skip Salmon


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