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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 22 06:56:34 EDT 2012

Last night, on the first Wednesday of Spring this year, I had the pleasure
of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian
Railway. I told the Brethren about an interview with Dan Smith, editor of
"Valley Business FRONT", a slick magazine highlighting happenings in the
Roanoke Valley. Jim Cosby, Landon Gregory and I were interviewed about the
progress taken to get the Virginian Station Restoration started. I was able
to get a Virginian tall globe lantern and a heart-shaped VGN switch lock
with key, in the photos he took for the upcoming article.

For Show and Tell, I took the latest issue of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS
"Turntable Times" with seven photos of the Station Groundbreaking on the
cover, with a large headline "AT LAST"! I took a photo I got this week of
NS #8063, GE ES44AC, leading a coal train through the crossover at "VN" in
Salem, VA moving the coal over from the old N&W to the old VGN. Also shown
was a "75 Years Ago Today" article of Monday's "Roanoke Times": "A small
group of Roanoke shop employees of the Virginian Railway Company were
organized into a local of the Brotherhood of Railroad Shop Crafts of
America". Our waitress for the night, "Maddie", told us she was the great
granddaughter of 94 year old Pete Christley, VGN Yard Conductor.

We talked some more about the origin of "KUMIS" and my new friend. Last
week I got a call, generated from one of my cards being left at a house in
the area. Bernard "Penny" Pendleton told me about applying for a lineman's
job on the VGN RWY, but when his wife got to Eggleston, she convinced him
to take a job with Richardson Wayland Electric in Roanoke. "Penny" grew up
beside the Kumis siding(sill owns a lot of property there) and remembered
waiting in the shed beside the track (like the one at Nutbush) and flagging
#4 and riding to Ellett for 15 cents. He also said the US 460 crossing of
VGN at Kumis was guarded with soldiers after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"It was just like after 9-11-01". After a VGN train wreck there, auto
traffic was quickly diverted because of the many Roanokers who worked at
the Radford Army Arsenal. He remembered swimming in the nearby Roanoke
River, where it was "scooped out" for a VGN water tower pump. His cousin,
"Red" Taylor, "hitched" a ride on a VGN eastbound and got off at Sewells's
Point and got a job as a VGN lineman. (See Red Taylor working "HOT" on the
VGN lineman maintenance tower used to work on the pantograph 11,000 volt
line in "Skip's Photos"). "Penny" also has no idea why it is called Kumis.
More about the origin of Kumis later...

There has been some talk on the chat sites about religious services being
held at lunch time on N&W property. I asked the Brethren if they ever saw
this on the VGN. Glen McLain said "if a preacher came to the VGN he would
have to cover his ears".

The Jewel from the Past is from December 8, 2005: "'Slick' Inge told a
story about B. A. Long, when he was being trained as a brakeman. He was
told by the conductor to hook all of the hoses between the cars and when he
got to the front, tell the engineer to 'turn it on'. When he told the
engineer to 'turn it on', he replied 'turn what on'? Long answered 'cut on
the water, the conductor wants to wash out his caboose'".

Jim Cosby, Chairman of the Virginian Station Committee is a favorite of the
Brethren, and he sent this one for them to read. He says it "makes football
make sense": A guy took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game.
After the game, he asked her how she liked it? "Oh I really liked it,
especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I just couldn't
understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents". Dumbfounded,
her boyfriend asked, "What do you mean?" "Well, they flipped a coin, one
team got it and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming
was..."Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back! I'm like....Helloooo?
It's only 25 cents!!!"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon




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