Benny Bennett, Doodle-Bugalways'

Courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Union City, Indiana

Joe Fahnestock

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Dayton Daily News & Radio's 'Joe's Journal'

Benny Bennett and his one-lung Doodle-Bugalways a familiar sight as he puttered his way up and down village streets on his campaign in behalf of the venerable green bean.

This story is in eternal memory of one plucky little Spark Plug of the Month. The indomitable though diminutive Benny Bennett who, despite the deformity of his humped shoulders and curvature of the spine, nevertheless faced up to the demanding rigors of making a living and keeping the wolf from his door by the power of his one-lung, one-horse doodlebug from which he dispensed the provender of his garden up and down the village streets.

It was bean-picking time and Benny Bennett was right in the thick of things, bean-wise, providing the town tables with those long, stringless green pods of rich, brown beans that always taste so good from Mom's big bean pot.

And just as soon as he could pluck a couple of big basketfuls of his lucious well-filled bean pods he'd h'ist 'em up into the bed of his doodle-bug and take off.

But wait a minute. Before Benny Bennett could peddle his beans, he'd always have to drop by the filling station up the street and load up with a tank full of 'petrol' for to do his peddling. For Benny Bennett's 'bug' was always a heavy drinker had a mighty appetite and if he was going to patrol the streets of Union City-town with his one-cylinder 'bean-dispenser', and get smooth spark-plug performance, well he always had to satisfy its mighty lust for internal combustion liquid.

'Fill 'er up,' he'd always yell thundering in on all of one mighty cylinder and fetching his snorting, sputtering steed to a grinding halt hard by the filling station pumps.

'One pint, two pints, 'the gas-pump indicator kept climbing 'It's just passed three pints and is running for four' as the force of the petrol stream, brought under control, dwindles to a mere trickle, thence tapers off to that final drop or two.

For Benny Bennet's mighty 'bug' only held half a gallon at best and it was mighty easy to run over 'specially if Benny's 'bug' might still have had a cupful or two already in the bottom when he chanced to slide in for a complete 'fill-up'.

Having applied the rope starter and, with a few yanks, coaxed his mighty 'bug' into starting once again, Spark-Plug, Bean Dispenser, Benny Bennett would clamber aboard his driver's seat and crack wide the throttle sending him on his 'bean peddling' expedition up and down every street and through every alley with the mission of 'filling every bean-pot in town' ringing in his heart.

First it was down Union St., left up Division, thence right at Columbia and his theme song was, 'Beans, beans, beans,' all the way 'long.

And the more he sold, the more he seemed to have for, like the cruze of oil which the Lord kept filling up for the penniless widow back in the Bible days of old, so Benny Bennett's bean-dipper never quite seemed to scrape bottom, though he peddled and scraped beans all the day long.

All around folks could hear the purring of Benny Bennett's mighty little bean chariot either coming or going until every bean-pot in town was simmering with fresh green beans for the next week or so.

During which time Benny was always mighty busy, harvesting the next crop of beans which he methodically loaded up into the rear of his 'doodle' for a repeat performance of his town-wide, street by street campaign in behalf of the green bean.

And when the last and final bean had been plucked from Benny's back-yard bean patch what then did fate hold for the indomitable Benny Bennett and his 'doodle-bug'? Did they merely hibernate till next year's bean crop sent them, once again, in locomotion up and down the village streets?

No not by the sweat on his one-lung doodle-bug spark-plug, did Benny and his 'bug' find time a-wasting on their hands.

For when Benny Bennett's bean-patch gave up the ghost at bean season's end, he'd just belt up his one-lung doodle-bug to his woodshed saw and lathe spending the long winter months at making pint-sized chairs and furniture, for the neighborhood kids to 'play house' with.

Yep Benny Bennett was always on the go with something to do till bean time rolled 'round once again, sending him and his 'doodle' green-beaning all over the town.