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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 15 09:42:39 EDT 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy Birthday card for
former VGN RWY  Electric Foreman-Mulllins, Greely Wyatt.  Greely is known
far and wide for his expertise on the Virginian Electric and Diesel
locomotives.  Also he is known for his being a part of the Mechanical
Department Management of Norfolk and Western, who was very street wise and
a resource for those who maintained electrical equipment. Known by his
close friends as "Wyatt Erp" he "called um as he saw um".  Greely turns 88 next

I got a tremendous response from last week's Andy Griffith question.  It
was "What did Andy Taylor tell Madeline Grayson his middle name was?"
 Madeline was the rich widow pen pal of Mayberry barber Floyd Lawson.  He
talked Sheriff Taylor into helping set up a meeting with Ms. Grayson at a
friends mansion, making her think Floyd was also rich.  Andy told Madeline
he was Floyd's son, so when Andy's son Opie called Andy "Paw",  Andy told
Madeline his name was Andrew PAUL to cover it up.  This question was not
the best one to ask because about half of the many responses I got gave
"Jackson" as Andy's middle name.  This was because on the High School
Reunion show, Andy's old high school annual showed his picture with the
name "Andrew Jackson Taylor" beside it.  There are many of the references
on line that  give Andy's middle name as "Jackson".  The specific question
I asked was what did Andy tell Madeline Grayson his middle name was.
 Former Virginian Railway engineer (hand fired the only VGN steam
locomotive left, old #4) Raymond East pulled Ross Hunter of Orange, VA out
of a hat as our winner from those who submitted "Paul".  Ross, your VGN
Safety pin is on its way to you. Thanks to all of you who sent in a
response.  This week's question for another VGN Safety Pin is: "When Brisco
Darling brought his family of Blue Grass music players into Mayberry in his
old Ford truck, he stopped at the Memorial Horse Fountain in Mayberry.  How
many hat fulls of water did it take to cool the truck's radiator down?
 Send your answer, with your home mailing address to gkholine at cox.net.

For Show and Tell, I took the Summer 2014 "Classic Trains".  Page 36 has a
photo of the very unusual Southern Pacific #9102 hydraulic locomotive
(complete with clutch and everything).  Page 64-65 has a great photo spread
and explanation of the old N&W Station at Blue Ridge, VA.  Landon Gregory
said this photo brought back many memories of his working at this Station
after the VGN-N&W merger.  He remembered N&W Agent Bill Clark who would
pile up carbon copies in the corner at the Station and when Landon filled
in for Bill he would clean up a the carbons before starting his work.  Page
99-100 has a story of Carl J. Pambianco about "Watering hogs on the N&W".
 This is about a rookie Brakeman learning a lesson about animal husbandry
the hard way.

The Jewel from the Past is from November 22, 2007:  "Since it was the 'eve'
of Thanksgiving, I asked the Brethren about how this holiday was handled on
the VGN when they were working.  Most agreed the railway kept up the
'24-hour a day, 7 day a week' pace and things moved right along.  They
remembered working, getting regular pay plus time and a half for the
holiday.  Jimmy Whitaker said he was off only one holiday in 22 years
before he got a job in the General Offices on the 'W' Side." Wis Sowder
talked about the less than a carload handling of goods at Alta Vista and
how at Christmas time they would handle bag loads of candy for local
stores.  The workers would sometimes handle one of  the large bags of candy
a little too rough and the bag would be 'damaged.  They had a stamp
"damaged- part of contents missing" that they used to mark the package.
 Wis and Raymond agreed they ate a lot of this "damaged' candy.

Then there's this, especially for the Protestants:  A mother was preparing
pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3.  The boys began to argue over
who would get the first pancake.  Their mother saw the opportunity for a
moral lesson.  "If Jesus were sitting here, He would say 'Let my brother
have the first pancake., I can wait'. Kevin turned to his younger brother
and said "Ryan, you be Jesus!"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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