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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jul 21 08:47:04 EDT 2016

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with three of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Most of the conversation centered
around the three caller books that VGN Clerk Wis Sowder brought with him
from 1951.  Wis, Landon Gregory and I reminisced at almost every page,
remembering such people as "Dirty Face" Snead and "Double A" Akers.  One
entry of 9-12-51 was a great example.  Wis called the crew for a 9:05 P
west-bound hopper train and his notes showed the following:  In the EL-2b
#127 was Engineer Earls and Fireman Canode and on the rear, in cab #312 was
Conductor Brown and Brakemen Cowon and Lawson.  Wis said his rate of pay
for a caller then was $11.25 for eight hours and he had to actually go to
their homes and sometimes get them out of bed if they lived within 1.5
miles of the yard office.  He frequently went to local taverns and flop
houses (and other establishments), where he knew the crews hung out.
Landon said now the crews get automatically generated calls from Atlanta to
let them know they are called.

 The ebay report this time has the following VGN items sold:  1912 Post
card of Princeton yard for $14.29; New River Bridge at Glen Lyn photo and
article from "Engineering News" for $51.55; and a brass builder's plate off
VGN H24-66 Trainmaster #53 for $2,237.00.  Unfortunately I saw several of
these plates in the scrap when we made slugs out of them at Roanoke Shops.
I did save one.....

 The Jewel from the Past is from March 12, 2009:  "One other video shown
was of NS Elmore coal train S10 (second section of 810) caught at Lee
Highway, 13th Street Bridge, Wasena Bridge and when she stopped at the old
VGN Station.  I was 'lucky' to observe S10 being 'bannered' in the 13th
Street shot.  'Bannering' is when an Operating Department supervisor places
a banner (large sign saying 'STOP-Obstruction') across the tracks to
simulate an emergency and their need to 'stop according to the book of
rules'.  S10 complied and continued after the stop.  Scotty said he
considered a banner more restricting than a 'Stop and Stay' and treated it
like he was about to have a 'head on'".

 I have another poem for you.  This one I changed a little to make it fit:
 There was a young lady of Glen Lyn,
 Who was so excessively thin,
 That when she assayed
 To drink lemonade,
 She slipped through the straw and fell in.

 Then there's this:  A lost dog strays into a jungle.  A lion sees this
from a distance and says with caution. "This guy looks edible, never seen
his kind before."  So the lion starts rushing toward the dog with menace.
The dog notices and starts to panic, but as he's about to run he sees some
bones next to him and gets an idea.  He says loudly, "Mmm...that was some
good lion meat!"  The lion abruptly stops and says "Whoa!  This guy seems
tougher than he looks.  I'd better leave while I can."  From a nearby
treetop a monkey realizes he can benefit from this situation by telling the
lion and getting something in return, so he proceeds to tell the lion what
really happened.  The lion says angrily, "Get on my back and we'll get him
together."  They start rushing back to the dog.  The dog sees them and,
realizing what has happened, starts to panic even more.  He then gets
another idea and shouts, "Where is that monkey!  I told him to bring me
another lion an hour ago!"

 Time to pull the pin on this one.

 Departing Now from V248,

 Skip Salmon

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