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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Dec 23 08:40:18 EST 2010

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy Birthday card for
W. W. "Scotty" Scott who turns 71 on Christmas Eve. We also signed a
Sympathy card for Russell McDaniel who lost his wife of 68 years last
Friday. Luella McDaniel was quite a lady and friend of mine. The day before
she passed away, even though she was almost blind, she sent individual
messages in Christmas cards from her and Russ to family and friends. I
received mine on Friday and will never forget it. I remember taking a photo
of the Virginian Railway provided house that Russ and Lou made a home in
Victoria, when he was Master Mechanic at the merger, and giving it to her.
She told me many stories of their "trials and tribulations" serving there.

Since this was the last meeting before Christmas, I brought my favorite
Lionel Christmas tree complete with presents, lights and Virginian
Passenger train circling it. I have posted a photo on this site on "Skip's
Photos" (also you can see it by clicking on "New Photos") This tree also
plays Jingle Bells as the train goes around it. It even stops at places
like Nutbush, Kumis and Mullens if I want it to! Todd, the manager of
Country Cookin' provided us with a set of Norfolk Southern tumblers as a
door prize. Santa sent presents for the Brethren from the Norfolk Southern
Company Store and a good time was had by all.

I showed the Brethren a drawing I found at the N&W(and VGN) Archives of a
Virginian cinder loading tower similar to the coal loading towers. The
cinders were recycled and used as ballast on sidings and yards. Louis
Newton told me that Section Foremen loved to see the special cinder
designated cars (old coal hoppers) stenciled "Cinder Loading Only-Not for
Regular Service" on their districts.

The Jewel from the Past is from December 2, 2004: "I asked if the Virginian
ever gave the employees a ham or turkey, or such, at Christmas. After much
laughter, Wis Sowder said he remembered the company posted a Christmas card
wishing all employees a Merry Christmas and 'that the same card was
probably sent from Norfolk to Deepwater'. However, most remembered there
was a lot of Christmas 'cheer' though. Once Jerome Duncan was called on
Christmas Eve and he stated that 'he was too drunk to come in'. He was told
to report anyway....he did". Jimmy Whittaker told me once he was "pressed
into service on Christmas Eve and rode to Princeton and back as a fireman
even though he had no training was only a call boy".

In res ponce to an inquiry from Mike Shockley of Peoria, IL ("but native
Virginian") about the letter "Q" in Morse Code being the same as a whistle
blowing for a crossing signal(dash dash dot dash or long long short long).
Landon Gregory, our Morse Code "expert", said "as far as I know, it is only
a good coincidence".

I passed around an e-mail ebay sale of a VIRGINIAN Keystone Casey Railroad
Lantern (tall globe raised letters) that on December 19 this year sold for
$3,316.61. WOW! There were 34 bids. WOW! Also passed was a photo of an NS
model locomotive with 10 inter modal rail cars leading the way at the base
of this year's National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse in Washington DC
south of the White House.

I leave you today with a serious note. Let's NOT take Christ out of
Christmas and wish a "Happy Holidays" or "Good Solstice" or some other
"politically correct faux greeting".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Wishing you a Merry CHRISTmas from V248,

Skip Salmon

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