Ah, those chimney sweeps. At a certain time of year, when the air starts to have a crispness to it, I read a book at storytime called “When Autumn Comes.” As I read and the children look at the photos of leaves and scarecrows and pumpkins, their faces hold a look of recognition; until I come to the page with the sweep standing on the roof, broom in hand. Then I quickly try to explain his purpose. They gaze at the hat, his regal stance and take it all in. It becomes another something they might be when they grow up, to add to the long, long list of possibilities. When you are a child, anything and everything is a possibility.
Modern day sweeps don’t wear the top hats anymore and are perhaps viewed as antiquated and a thing of the past. Yet I think of them being immortalized in songs sung by the Decemberists or in musicals like “Mary Poppins.” They must spend their days covered in soot thinking of the ride home and the long shower that awaits. Perhaps the pay isn’t good and maybe not what would be thought of as a “cushy office 9-5 job” but there’s the travel from place to place, no two days are alike, and from way up high there’ s quite the view to be admired. That alone is reason to be a little envious.