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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Aug 14 08:58:14 EDT 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" With seven of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway.  Attending with us for the first time
was a friend and neighbor of Raymond East, Bobby Bower.  Bobby started
working on the VGN RWY in February 1956 as a 19 year old Fireman.  He is
the nephew of VGN Road Engineer C. C. (Junior") Christian of Princeton, who
was also a State Legislator in West Virginia. Bobby said his uncle would
get a leave of absence from the VGN when the West Virginia Legislature was
in session.  Wis Sowder remembered calling "C. C." for runs west out of
Roanoke.  Bobby told many stories about being a "green" Fireman.  One was
working the weaving mill in Vinton, VA.  "Going into the mill, the steam
and water levels were OK, but it was down hill.  Coming out after getting
back on level ground, the low water alarm went off.  The Brakeman
immediately jumped off and the Engineer frantically started raking coal
evenly over the fire-bed.  Seems I had piled it all up and was NOT getting
a good fire".  Bobby also told us about working with VGN Engineer J. L.
"Hustlebubble" Mattingly.  "He would bring sandwiches and have us guess
what was on them.  My favorite was a turtle sandwich.  Also Bobby answered
a question we could not answer:  "Hustlebubble's" first name was Joseph.
 Bower was given a "buy-out" by the N&W in 1964 after the "feather-bedding"
ruling, and went to work for Appalachian Power after college as a Relay

The winner of the VGN pin is R. D. Williams of Clewiston, FL for his
"chickens into the wind" answer.  This weeks question for an NS spike pin
is:  What does bank guard Asa Breeney collect?  Send your answer with your
home address to gkholine at cox.net

The Jewel from the Past, like one in a 21 jewel Hampden "John Handcock"
Pride of Elgin 1/4 gold swinging case if from January 10, 2008:  "Harry
Bundy brought a November 6, 1970 Dispatching Record of Movement sheet at
the Norfolk Division TT3, Crewe, VA Blue Ridge and Altavista Districts.  It
showed where our own Landon Gregory was in charge of the trains for that
day over portions of the old VGN.  Harry and I proceeded to 'harass' Landon
about the tonnage ratings on certain trains exceeding locomotive ratings a
bit, and other petty items that provoked several bouts of laughter from the
 Brethren.  Landon pointed out to us on one of the trains that an "NF"
notation indicated 'no fireman' and on certain trains during that period
when this was a 'hot item of discussion'".

For Show and Tell I took the July/August/September N&W HS "The Arrow" with
Part 3 of "The Electric Virginian"  Bobby Bower was quite impressed with
the magazine and took it home....

Then there's this:  A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he'd found a cat,
but it was dead.  "How do you know that the cat was dead?" she asked him.
 "Because I pissed in its ear and it didn't move" answered the child
innocently.  "You did WHAT?!!" the teacher exclaimed in surprise.  "You
know", explained the boy.  "I leaned over and went "Pssst!" and it didn't

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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