Saturday essay: The sweep
Published: Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
The chimney sweep did his duty in the nick of time. Coupled with the cold front that has pushed through, the burn season can begin today.
Saturday last, the same European sweep who has done the job annually since 2007 returned for the seventh time. A consummate pro, he knows the fireplace much like a doctor once knew his patients. His first look, and with no notes, goes to one corner above the enhanced smoke shelf of the custom ceramic firebox where the soot collection is perennially heavy.
“Dirty, dirty, dirty,” he notes in his equally thick and rich Balkan accent, moving the trouble light to and fro to complete his inspection. “Three cords,” he says, correctly gauging how much wood was burned last season.
In comes the fella who does the actual cleaning, along with the owner's son. The latter has just begun classes at CCAC; he wants to major in marketing and, eventually, take his dad's business to new heights. If earnestness is any measure, he will.
As has become our annual custom, his dad and I repair to the garden to compare amateur horticultural notes. Not the best of years, we each conclude, lamenting our mutual tomato troubles.
The fireplace inspection and cleaning done, the sweeps remove their brushes, vacuum and tarps and retreat to their truck. The bill is paid, hands are shaken and parting pleasantries are exchanged among men who respect and understand the majesty and the power of the home hearth.
Pardon me, but it's time to light that first fire.
— Colin McNickle
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More ObamaCare fallout: Medicare disadvantage
- The Thursday wrap
- Accord in Geneva: Smelly side deals, too
- Anti-fracking scandal: More junk ‘science’
- Corrections reinvention
- The Ecotality mess: Lying by omission
- Liquor myths: Union assumptions don’t hold water
- ‘Racism’? No
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- ‘Merit selection’ for judges? No thank you