| May/June 1970

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

Granted every maharaja has his mahout and every well-appointed Englishman his very proper Jeeves -- but just what, when a little help is needed, does ye Spark Plug have up his sleeves?

Oh, there's always Bill or Hank standing by, whenever the big fly-wheel needs a yank. And usually there's George or Jess hangin' 'round the work-shop in winter when the engine's down and things in a mess. True, there're always plenty of guys to lend an arm when help is needed -- or give advice whether or not it's heeded. But what about those extra little niceties, above and beyond the call of duty, like oiling up the bearings and polishing the brass trim along the rod and 'round the rim? For once the big engine's put back together and doing her stuff at the reunions, it's always the spit 'n polish 'n shine in the summer sun that contributes most to a Spark Plug's fun.

When Grandpa gets bit by the gas engine bug, and the disease really 'takes a-holt,' eating away at the grand paternal wallett as more and more cast-off old hunks of junk begin piling up in the family woodshed, to be worked on, then it can well be affirmed that 'gramps' has taken off on that long and winding trail that might someday lead to those noble and vaunted chambers known as the Spark Plug Hall of Fame. But, before finally arriving at the place, well wager he'll be judged guilty of picking up a couple of Pipsqueak Spark Plugs along the way to sort of share and bask in the glory thereof.

Like, for instance, Spark Plug Harold Hirshey of Geneva, Indiana, who had plenty of fun running his big 5-horse-power International at the Tri-State Gas and Tractor reunion in Portland, last summer. But he had even more fun, not having to bother a tinker with such fussy things as oiling up or wiping grease or smudge. For Spark Plug Hirshey had fetched along his own special crew of tag-along pint-sized grease monkeys who sort of took over the more menial tasks of lubrication, engine wiping and brass polishing while all Grandpa had to do was thrust his chest out and watch the darned thing run.

Whenever Grandpa got a little tired or bored watching his own engine run, he'd shut things down a spell, take a stroll over the Tri-State grounds to munch a hot dog or take in the other exhibits and see how the other fellows were getting along. Upon returning, there was the 'crew' -- oil-can in hand pointed down at the bearings and grease rag wiping the smudge that had collected in the out-of-way cracks, and crevices inaccessible to the larger, adult hand.


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