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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat Sep 6 16:07:10 EDT 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We dedicated most of the short
session to the memory of our dear departed and faithful VGN friend Ken
McLain, who took his last west bound on Tuesday morning.  In the past 10
years, Ken attended almost every one of the sessions, and always had a
smile.  For years he furnished a joke or funny story that I included in
this report.  He was known unofficially as our "Joke Man".  He served most
of his VGN career in Sewells Point at the coal pier and at the time of the
merger was Chief Clerk.  After the N&W became in charge, he was asked to
take a third shift position, and felt he did not want to do this, so he
went with Sperry Company and finished he career there. We had his "normal"
seat at table #1 set up just as they have for over 10 years with water and
a cup of black coffee.  I posted a lit tall globe VGN lantern there during
our session in his honor. See the photo on this site. The Brethren attended
his last viewing after the dinner.  His grave-side service is today at 2 PM
in Vinton, VA.

 For Show and Tell I took a card that my youngest son had made with my
calendar photo of the VGN Heritage #1069 and "FERROEQUINOLOGIST ORDAINED
MINISTER"  and his phone and email address on it.  He has become quite the
train watcher and follower of the NS Heritage units .

 I showed the Brethren an ad that the Virginia Museum of Transportation put
out this week for this Saturday's Grandparents' Day at the Museum.  From 10
AM to 5 PM there will be train rides furnished by the Roanoke Chapter NRHS
in cabooses behind the Alco T-6 #42 up to 10th Street and back.  The
reduced admission is $5 with train rides $3.  Come join us if you can and
bring your grand children!

 I also showed the handout we gave last Thursday at the Pre-Bid conference
at the Virginian Station in Roanoke for contractors interested in bidding
Phase II of the Restoration Project.  We had 7 firms interested with bids
due in on September 18, 2014.

 The Jewel from the Past is from January 24, 2008:  " Landon Gregory said
on occasions, N&W officials would use the VGN route from Roanoke to Norfolk
with their business car attached to VGN passenger trains.  This was because
the VGN route was a 'smoother ride'.  It was on one of these 'smoother
rides' when the following story occurred.  Seems an N&W official and his
car was on the rear of #4 one day when it stopped in Victoria. He walked up
to the locomotive and spoke to the Engineer. 'You were going over 50 MPH
several times'.  After a heated exchange, with the VGN 'hogger' being as
polite as he could be, he said to the N&W official "I couldn't possibly
have been doing over 50; my speedometer said 45, and we never saw you go by

 Then there is this:  An elderly couple had just learned how to send text
messages on their mobile phones.  The wife was a romantic type and the
husband was more of a no-nonsense guy.  One afternoon the wife went out to
meet a friend for coffee.  She decided to send her husband a romantic text
message and she wrote:  "If you  are sleeping, send me your dreams.  If you
are laughing, send me your smile.  If you are eating, send me a bite.  If
you are drinking, send me a sip.  If you are crying, send me your tears.  I
love you."  The husband texted back to her:  "I'm on the toilet.....Please

 Time to pull the pin on this one!

 Departing Now from V248,

 Skip Salmon

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