"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon
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Thu Aug 30 07:42:57 EDT 2012
Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Get Well Card for Bill
Spencer, one of our "regulars". He is rehabbing at Friendship Manor with a
recent illness. Attending was Ben Hancock, VGN Clerk and Yardmaster who has
not been with us for a while.
The talk of the night was about a new film that will have its premier in
Rocky Mount, VA this week, "Lawless" starring Gary Oldman. This movie is
about nearby Franklin County's untaxed liquor "industry" and is based on
Matt Bondurant's book "The Wettest County in the World". Each April you can
attend the annual Moonshine Express tour in Rocky Mount, Va and visit
locations where the "industry" thrived. The ABC boys have allowed some
former craftsmen to set up an actual still and demonstrate this operation.
You can buy a T-Shirt with "Franklin County, VA-The Moonshine Capital of
the World" on it. The Brethren know of or have friends who took part in
this "industry". Towns listed in Virginian Railway timetables located in
Franklin County include, Moneta, Stone Mountain, Huddleston and Leesville.
To answer a question from H. Bundy, the Brethren did not recall seeing any
testing of coal in the VGN Roanoke Yard. Felix Price, Power Director at the
Narrows Power Plant, did remember Jack Haslette, VGN technition, who tested
coal used to make steam and power for VGN electrics in the lab at Narrows.
The Jewel from the Past is from April 13, 2006: "Harry Bundy told about how
the weighbills were so important to the train operations. In the days
before computers, the bills 'were the train' and if one was lost, it had to
be found at all costs and efforts. Seems that they were stacked with the
bill for the car next to the caboose on top. Harry told of a story on the
old NS where someone placed a dead snake in an open box car for the
conductor to discover. He immediately caused a snow storm of bills. Jimmy
Whitaker remembered once needing to get a stack of bills to the office when
a train blocked his way. He was told to put some extra rubber bands around
the stack and toss it under the train. Jimmy said the band broke and bills
were 'all over the yard'. Most of the Brethren were unfamiliar with the
latest stack of data that goes with a train...the environmental protection
instructions for each car in case of derailment or leakage. Most were
unaware of the orange 'air socks' seen now in every yard that show hazmat
teams the direction of the wind in case of a spill of leak."
Someone brought up the fact that Neil Armstrong, who was the first man who
walked on the moon, passed away this week. Most recalled where they were
when they got the news of this historic event. Landon Gregory was working
as Dispatcher at Crewe when it happened and reported that "the railroad
never missed a beat". I reminded the Brethren about the special "blue moon"
that will appear tonight...be sure to look for it and and his family has
requested, "give it a wink for Neil".
We worked on the scheduling for the September 22, 2012 Virginian Railway
Day at the Virginia Museum of Transportation where the Brethren will "man"
a table from 10A to 3P. Come join us if you can.
Dr. Gibson Davis told us about his neighbor returning from his Myrtle Beach
vacation and discovering that a bear had comsumed thirty of his chickens.
"Gibby" said that the neighbor called the game warden and asked if the bear
could be killed. "I can't kill a bear for killing chickens" was the answer.
Plan "B" is being planned for this fowl situation which includes several
high power rifles and lots of ammo and a story about how a bear charged!
Then there's this: One Sunday morning, the priest saw little Davey staring
up at the large plaque hanging in the church's foyer. The plaque was
covered with names and small Americal flags mounted on either side of it.
"Father Donovan," the boy asked. "What is this? "Well, son, it's a memorial
to all the young men and women who died in the service," the priest
explained. They stood together quietly, staring at the memorial plaque.
Little Davey softly asked, "Which service? the 9:00 or the 10:30?"
Time to pull the pin on this one!
Departing Now from V248,
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