| January/February 1974

He may come from the 'Show Me' state, but when it comes to buyin' 'n swappin' old gas engines he's got 'em from every other state but Missouri. And, when it comes to fixing up a gas engine trailer exhibit, to show at the summer engine reunions, well he figures it's like gettin' married -- a feller wants folks to say, 'Gee -- he's got the 'purtiest, most beautifullest' one on the grounds, 'e 'as.'

But, when it comes to showin' off his trailer-load of old gas engines, at such a shindig as Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Show, at Portland, Indiana -- well, Don Skidmore sort of keeps his Ruby in the background so folks can concentrate the better on the uniqueness and orderliness of his outfit. He likes to hear the exclamations of the onlookers about his unusual trailer and where he got it -- as well as the excellent restoration of his old gas engines and the re-finishing thereof.

For, after all, all a wife like Ruby does is try to keep the Old Man's clothes clean while he's busy a-cleaning his old oily and rusty gas engines -- so that when he shows 'em off to the public everyone will say 'My, what a handsome line o' poppers 'n pluggers!' In answer to which, Don, thinking they're talkin' about him, will sidle up and thrust out his 'Mule State' chest, while Ruby, hiding in the background will chuckle, 'I thought I was marryin' a man -- but I wind up married to gas engines, instead.'

Yes -- when a fellow starts an innocent little hobby -- say he falls in love with some lonely old gas engine that's been junked long ago. His wife takes pity on the old engine too, and sides in with hubby that such a hobby wouldn't be so bad after all. But then, as the years go by, hubby's hobby gets to be a lobby demanding such priorities as special point jobs, expensive replacement parts and/or luxurious trailers with special built-in shock-absorbers so as not to jar their nuts 'n bolts as they ride from place to place to show off their grandeur and splendor.

True, Wifey shares the hubby's hobby to the extent that he gets all the praises while basking in the limelight and she, lurking in the shadows, knows darned well that she not only helped to de-grease and paint the engines, but also laundered our hero's clothes.

But somebody -- we said 'Somebody's gotta be out front doing the unpleasant task of heaving heavy flywheels and oiling value rods and linkage as well as explaining how his exhibit got that-a-ways. And so Don Skidmore of Knob Noster -- yes, we said, 'Knob Noster,' Missouri, came all the way to the big Tri-State Show to do just that.