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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 20 08:21:44 EDT 2017

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with five of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway.  We signed a Happy Birthday card for
retired Virginian Clerk Wis Sowder.  Wis started his VGN career in Roanoke
and worked at Sewells Point and AltaVista.  Wis, who turns 92 on Monday was
brought to the meeting by one of his twin daughters, Vickey.  She was proud
to sit in and share with the other Brethren stories of Wis and his rail

 We had an interesting thing happen during the session.  As it is usually on
Wednesday nights, we had dinner guests sitting near by.  Last night a lady
from one of the near-by tables approached me and asked if I was Skip
Salmon.  I had to admit that I was.  She said "You sit in front of me in
English class at Jefferson High School in 1961.  You haven't changed a
bit".  Of course this prompted the Brethren to kid me for the rest of the
night about how much I have changed over the years.

 For Show and Tell I took several items for the Brethren to peruse.  The
first was Norfolk Southern's 2016 Annual Report who's operating ratio
dropped from 72.6 in 2015 to 68.9%.  I reminded the Brethren that the VGN
ratio was in the 50s at N&W-VGN merger.  The second item was the latest N&W
(and VGN) Historical Society "The Arrow".  This issue is full of VGN
stuff.  Our favorite was pages 4 and 5 "The Virginian Railway weekends at
Twin Falls" telling of the annual gatherings near Mullens by a group who
proudly call themselves "The Virginian Crazies".  The last item shown was
an invoice given me a copy by my oldest son's friend who is a rail artifact
collector in Bedford, VA.  It is from the Tidewater Construction Co. dated
1-23-1908 for $259.46 for "personal injury cases arising from the
construction work on the Virginian Railway as per reports and statements
attached".  Wonder what that bill would be today?

 The Jewel From the Past is from 9-24-2009:  "Yard Engineer William Scott
has a golfing buddy who is trying to quit smoking cigarettes.  Scotty said
that 'he told me he'd tried everything including the nicotine patches.
'OP's (other peoples smokes) and fake cigarettes.  I told him to try what I
used that helped me:  carrot sticks'.  He said 'That didn't work, couldn't
keep 'm lit"

 Then there's this:  Carmen's family attends a Protestant church so when
she went to Catholic mass with the family of her friend Mary, she poked
Mary in the ribs excitedly when the priest came down the aisle wearing his
robes and swinging a censer.  "That man's wearing a dress!"  she
exclaimed.  "And his purse is on fire!"

 Time to pull the pin on this one.

 Departing Now from V248,

 Skip Salmon

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