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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Dec 29 08:05:34 EST 2011

Last night, on the terminal Wednesday night of 2011, I had the pleasure
of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian
Railway. This was a milestone session. If each of the past meeting
reports with the Brethren were represented with a telegraph pole, we
reached 10 miles worth last night....number 400 since the first one of
April fool's day of 2004! I met for several dinners before I wrote my
first "Takin' Twenty" report for this site. The very first report
contained a challenge that I will issue again: "I am impressed at each
dinner break that I enjoy with these gentlemen of how much they
remember, and of how much they care, about the Virginian and those still
living who served her. If you know of ex-Virginian employees in your
community, I challenge you to 'take 20' with them, and you will be
rewarded greatly". Since that first report, nine of the original
attendees have "taken the westbound".

We celebrated two birthdays: Dr. Gibson "Gibby" Davis turns 75 today.
"Gibby's" grandfather, Malcomb Vaughn, was a machinist for the Virginian
in Victoria. Ronnie Victory, son of VGN Conductor Tom "Cornbread"
Victory, was the "1943 IRS Baby of the Year" born on December 31. Ronnie
said it was after 11 PM. He turns 68 on New Year's Eve.

"Gibby" brought for Show and Tell a Christmas present slick hard cover
book that his son made for him of photos he took at the Virginia Museum
of Transportation "night shoots" of the 611 and 1218.

I told the Brethren about Norfolk Southern naming their new yard office
in Williamson, WV the "J. W. Fox Building". The late John William (Bill)
Fox retired as Senior Vice President Coal Services, and was a good
friend of several of the Brethren.

Passed out to the Brethren were Hoppe's #9 Air Fresheners. These little
packets smell like my favorite gun cleaner and are marked "For Real Men
Only". They also cancel out "pot pourie" turtle fresheners placed in
SUVs by Soccer Moms! My oldest son, the gunsmith, gave these to me for
the Brethren. He recently ordered three packets but received three
24-packs. When he called the shipper and told them he would still like
to have all of them, and to charge them to his account, they said that
it was their computer miscue, to keep all 72, and also sent him a gift
certificate for his honesty!

The ebay report this time includes the following Virginian items sold:
Slide of AG #903 in Roanoke for $33.50; Slide of H24-66 #70 and EL-3a
#100 with the pantograph up, but no wires showing for $30.99 and a
12-3-33 VGN Public Timetable for $31.00.

The closest thing left in Roanoke to a railroad "beanery" is a local
establishment called The Texas Tavern. You can get a hamburger fried in
1936 grease or a bowl of chili, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They
"seat 1000, ten at a time" and "don't cash checks OR play with bumble
bees". I happened to pass the TT last Sunday and took a picture of a
very rare shot which I passed around, of the TT closed on Christmas day.

The Jewel from the Past, like one in Abe Burnett's grandfather's
Illinois Bunn Special is from September 15, 2005: "Since I passed out
prints tonight of last week's posed photo, there was some talk about
cameras and the 'new-fangeled' digital ones. After trying to explain to
'Cornbread' about pixels and how the digital camera works without any
film, Victory said he figured his brain was 'about a 10 mega pixel size,
but must be full, because things keep bouncing out'. I'll finish 2011
with my favorite 'Cornbread' story: "A couple he knew who had been
married about five years without having a child. When they finally
adopted a newborn Russian baby, he suggested that one of them should
enroll in Roanoke College and take Russian lessons. When asked why, he
answered 'Well, when the baby starts talking, they will know what he is

Time to pull the pin on this one!

The Brethren and I wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and may 2012 be your
best yet!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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