| July/August 1969

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

It was a pleasant spring sortie driving past the rippling brook of the old fishin' hole winding its way through the meadows behind beautiful Lisbon church, thence northward past Pleasant Hill country church on the heights of Mississinawa Valley, north of Union City, Indiana. Baring to the left there was the cross-roads hamlet of North Salem and its quaint country store where the huge Marsh Supermarkets, nation-wide, had their humble beginnings. A few more miles and my antique '50 Chevvy was conveying me past the small consolidated country school of Madison Township where the kiddies were swinging and the older boys playing scrub baseball just like their grandpappys, many years before.

Indeed I was in the stronghold of Tri-State Gas & Tractor country once again, hunting out the lair of one Spark Plug, Walter Baldauf. Walter had been keeping the telephone exchange wires at Salamonia, Ind., village hot throughout the winter and spring with lengthy discourses on the progress he was making on the rehabilitation of an old 1902 Burdsall clover huller.

There he was, bending studiously over the 'innards' of an old 1934 Allis-Chalmers farm tractor, like the tried'n true Spark Plug that he is.

'What's the milk can doing on this tractor? Is that your gasoline tank?' I queried, noting the anachronism of the one-time symbol of the country milk route nestled solidly among the old tractor's mechanism.

'No--that's my spray-tank. I still use this old Allis-Chalmers very much in my farming,' quoth Spark Plug Baldauf. 'Soon's I get it started, I'll show you how she runs. '