|
|
|
Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • RUSSELL HIVELY: Chimney sweeps

  • The moon came up large and looking much like an egg yolk the other night.
    • email print
      Comment
  • The moon came up large and looking much like an egg yolk the other night. I marveled at its appearance and wondered if it would remain looking the same all night.
    It didn't. It was normal, much smaller and much whiter the next morning as I headed out on my morning Wildcat Boulevard walk.
    I was thinking about a friend who recently had his chimney cleaned. Sadly, chimney sweeps do not have the prestige they had in West Germany when Kay and I lived there many years ago.
    For one thing, German chimney sweeps dressed for the occasion. They wore all black. Most of their clothing was black leather. Most of them wore a black top hat. It was considered lucky if you saw one walking on the street.
    Chimney sweeps were employed by the government and usually came to clean out an individual's chimney twice per year.
    I was not home the first time the chimney sweep visited our home. The landlady brought him over and introduced him to Kay. She also brought him so he could kiss our new baby.
    Kissing babies was a task performed by chimney sweeps, and they were given a tip after doing so. The kiss was to give the baby a good life and good luck.
    Kay recalls his visit to the door came later in the day. The day's work had covered the chimney sweep's face with soot. Still his deep blue eyes shown out through the soot and back clothing.
    Each German home was equipped with a special door near the bottom of the chimney. The sweep went up on the roof, rattled his brush up and down inside the chimney, and then came inside and brushed the loosened soot out of the door into a black leather bag.
    I recently read that German chimney sweeps had come under some new regulations in 2013. I hope none take away the tradition of their kissing babies and being lucky to be seen.
    Take a walk, be kind to your chimney sweep, use your signal lights, and see what you notice or think about while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
    Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.

        calendar