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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Aug 22 07:09:00 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
VGN Yard Conductor Frank Breedlove.  The colorful Breedlove is a "gentleman
farmer" and world class yard sale manager.  He will have a big one on the
west side of US 221 on this Labor Day Weekend near Check, VA (on the way to
Hillsville, VA).  Frank tells many stories of the old VGN but he is the
only one I think who actually was interviewed during work hours in the
Roanoke Yard by an FBI man!  He turns 81 on Saturday.

 The winner of this week's pin is R. D. Williams, who was the only one who
correctly responded with tin foil as what bank guard Asa Breeney collects.
For this week's Railroad Pin:  At the Mayberry Union High Reunion, after
Barney saw his high school "flame" Ramona and she did not recognize him,
what did he say his nick name in high school was?  Send your answer and
home address to gkholine at cox.net

 For those faithful VGN enthusiasts who are awaiting the finishing of the
restoration of the Virginian Railway Station in Roanoke, the Notice of
Invitation to bid was advertised in the roanoke times last Sunday.  We will
have a bid conference for contractors August 28 and the bids for Phase II
must be in by September 18.  This should put us on schedule to finish the
project early 2015, Lord willing.

 For Show and Tell, I took a photo that my grandson Hunter sent me from
Fort Hood Texas, where he is serving with the First Calvary, US Army, of
him in front of a flat car with a Humvee on it.  He, and part of his
Company spent Monday and Tuesday this week "working on the Army Railroad"
loading this train with military equipment.  He was so proud and wanted me
to tell the Brethren he is now qualified to work on the rails.  For those
of you who are interested, the train was made up with a US Army GP-40-2

 I also passed out to the Brethren the Friends of the Virginian Railway
2015 one page calendars.  This year has my photo of VGN Heritage unit 1069
at South Yard and "Virginian Railway-Gone but not forgotten".  If you want
a down load of this calendar, send me a request at gkholine at cox.net

 The Jewel from the Past is from January 17, 2008:  "We talked about the
tremendous snow storm we just had here in the Roanoke Valley.  Cornbread
recalled during one such storm the Yardmaster sent a yard engine to Buzzard
Rock Forge, mile post V241, to pick him up near where he lived and brought
him to work .  Bob Rowland, who was a call boy a the time, remembered using
old golf shoes to get to work in the ice.  He said any crew member living
less than 1.5 miles from the yard Office, who had no phone or who could not
be reached by phone, had to be notified at home, in person.  Bob recalled
Imus Ayers, Brakeman without a phone, lived on Mill Mountain 1.4 miles from
the yard Office.  'I was on a dead run all the time and they would not
invite you in to get warm either'.  Rufus and Bob said one fellow, Charlie
Greene who was a a 'tight as a banjo string' would come to work even in bad
weather and even if he was sick.  Bob Rowland said he remembered Charlie
dying his hair black and putting newspapers on the pillows in the
commissary to keep the pillow cases from turning black.  'Charlie once came
in and worked while very sick and was put on a cab back to his home in West
Virginia.  He passed away the next day'"

 Then there's this:  One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm, a
mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light
when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me
tonight?"  The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug.  "I can't
dear., she said.  "I have to sleep in Daddy's room".  A long silence was
broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy."

 Time to pull the pin on this one!

 Departing Now from V248,

 Skip Salmon


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