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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 15 07:58:59 EDT 2015

Last night I had the honor of "Takin' Twenty" with seven of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Our good friend and VGN enthusiast
Chip Oaks showed us photos of his Lafayette, VA (LA-FET) farm beside the
VGN main line, during the latest deluge of rain in our area.  HHR and his
engineers knew what they were doing placing the line beside the Roanoke
River, yet high enough not to be flooded with 6" of rain.  Chip also
identified the exact location of a photo he brought for me several weeks
ago.  This 1942 color photo shows an N&W troop train crossing the trestle
just east of Singer, VA with the electrification (88,000 volt tower) of the
VGN, Dixie Caverns and Smith Gap in the background.

For Show and Tell I took the November 2015 Trains magazine.  This is the 75
year anniversary issue.  It lists "75 people you should know" including the
N&W's Robert B.Claytor; "75 places you must see" including the
Christiansburg grade and many more rail memories of the last 75 years.
 Page 24 has "Modest heritage decal program will dress up 10 or more CSX
units" (with small fallen flag decals) and this contrasts with page 45
showing the now famous photos of of 21 Norfolk Southern's actually painted
heritage locomotives posing in 2012 around the turntable at Spencer (best
example of an out-classing comparison I've seen lately).

The Jewel from the Past is from November 6, 2008:  "Cornbread Victory and
Raymond East talked about some of their old automobiles.  Raymond recalled
his Straight-8 Packard that one fellow VGN worker commented 'sounds like
one of those 900s".  Cornbread remembered an old Buick and said one night
when he was working the 'hoot owl' he was heading to South yard and felt
'something strange breathing near his neck'. His old coon hound had been
sleeping in the backseat of the Buick and woke up and 'wanted to see where
we were going'".

I also took a list of "lexophiles" and asked the Brethren to pick their
favorites.  The chosen included:  "When you've seen one shopping center
you've seen a mall".  "Police were summoned to a daycare center where a
three-year-old was resisting a rest".  "When she saw here first strands of
grey hair she thought she'd dye". And the very favorite "Those who get too
big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end."

Raymond East grew up in Altavista,VA and worked for his Dad who had a
hauling company.  He took care of the less-than -a-car load of business for
VGN and Southern, and transferred many loads from one line to the other.
 Raymond said one car of wheat came in almost weekly and the NC company
that ordered it did not want to pay the transfer fee from VGN to SOU, so
they sent a truck up from NC to haul the wheat back across the border
(several loads).  Raymond recalled that a hobo volunteered to shovel the
wheat out of  the VGN box car to the truck and became a "regular" doing
this.  "He even took up residence in an abandoned VGN ice house nearby."

Then there's this:  A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption.  One
of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named Amal.  The other goes to a
family in Spain.  They name him Juan.  Years later, Juan sends a picture of
himself to his mother.  Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband
that she wished she also had a picture of Amal.  Her husband responds,
"They're twins.  If you 've seen Juan, you've seen Amal".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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