When you're a chimney sweep, it's probably best to embrace the stereotypes of the trade — the Mary Poppins references and the age-old reputation for bringing good fortune with a handshake or a kiss.
The employees of Barnhill Chimney Co. recognize this. They're quick with the lucky handshake and happy to give you the time of day — shortly after 8 on this particular morning. It's a few days before New Year's, which means the chimney-sweeping part of their business, which also includes sales, repairs, installations and manufacturing, is approaching the end of its busiest season.
"Chim chim cher-ee" sweep Jake Myers says cheerfully as he watches the boss, Brion Barnhill, climb onto the roof to inspect a chimney on Kingsway Drive. Barnhill leans against the clay chimney pots, which shift as he touches them. "Did you see that?" he calls down. The implication is clear: The loose chimney pots need securing or they could tumble off in the next gust of wind.
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