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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Sep 15 08:57:50 EDT 2016

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway.  I was so proud to announce to them
the arrival last Saturday of my fifth grandson, Henry Alexander Salmon.  Of
course being a proud grandpa, I described how handsome he was with his full
head of hair and large feet.  This prompted Wis Sowder to recall a VGN
fellow worker named Mattingly who also had large feet. "We called him
'Ballast Spreader' because with each step in the yard, ballast would go
everywhere'.  I went on to describe the outstanding facilities at the
hospital and the fact that everything was done in the same room.  Then each
of the Brethren told of his birth.  Landon and Raymond lived in the country
and were born at home.  Gordon was born in Florida (a long way from the
hills of WV) in a hospital, and Wis told about his brother's birth.  Wis
lives at the bottom of Bent Mountain in Roanoke County.  He said he went to
a neighbor's house (several country miles away) to have them call the
doctor.  The doctor rode a horse over the mountain through swollen streams
and delivered him at home.  Someone said if doctors came to your house now
there would have to be about six of them to do the job, because they are
now all "Specialists".

 Someone mentioned the documentary on the History Channel telling the story
of Harley-Davidson and how their motor-cycle company was created, about the
same time HH Rogers and his boys were creating the VGN RWY.  This prompted
Gordon, Wis and Landon to tell about the "wizzer".  Gordon described it as
a small gasoline engine that cost about $100 and could be attached to a
bicycle to give power to the driving wheel.  "Every boy wanted one back
then", said Sowder.

 For Show and Tell, I took the October "Trains" magazine.  Page 8 has a
photo "First Day Running" showing Kanawha River RR SD40-2 #4211 pulling a
train between Charleston and Nitro from Dickerson Yard on the old PD
District.  This is the short line that is doing the job on the old VGN RWY
with yellow and black diesels.  I somehow think those yellow and black
SD40-2's don't have the same effect on "foamers" as  the VGN Train Masters

 The Jewel from the Past like those in an 1898 Illinois Watch Co. size 18,
17 jewel double RR King "Special for railway service" is from May 6, 2009:
"John McDaniel, a friend of mine who is an avid VGN RWY fan and lives
beside the old VGN main line in Wabun,  VA (Sears on the old Timetables)
told of visiting VGN Engineer Bruce M. Bohon, shortly before his death.
Ruf Wingfield remember Bohon and that his son was a Brakeman on the VGN.
Bruce was 'up in his nineties' and was asked by John if he covered much of
the New River Division.  His answer as 'Son, I've spit on every cross-tie
between Roanoke and Deepwater!'"

 I told the Brethren about the Roanoke Chapter NRHS getting a Certificate
of Occupancy for the restored Virginian Station in Roanoke and plans are
being made for a grand opening in November.  Jeff Sanders, President of the
Chapter, suggested that we serve french fries for our guests.  He noted
that the Virginian Club cars were some of the first in the nation to serve
french fires to their riders.

 Then here's this:  A boy asks his father for a spider for his birthday.
The father stops by the pet shop on the way home from work to find out more
about spiders.  "What does one of those big ones cost?"  the father asks
pointing into the glass case full of the arachnoids.  "About fifty dollars"
the store clerk replied.  "Fifty dollars!" the father replies.  "I'll just
find a cheap  one off the web."

 Time to pull the pin on this one!

 Departing Now from V248,

 Skip Salmon


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