Just as the swallows return to their nests in Capistrano, robins to their posts over worm holes, Chicago street sweepers descend upon residential neighborhoods, leaving confusion and ill-feelings in their wake. Unwary citizens with the temerity to park their cars in front of their homes find their cars either ticketed or towed to some nebulous nether regions called City Pounds. Their crime: parking on city streets between 9 am and 4 pm on days when those lumbering, mechanized brooms, inefficient at that, scrape the asphalt of debris. Talk about swatting a fly with a 12 gauge shot gun.
But such is the march of Time and Liberal Progress. Eco-Nazis have deemed leaf burning a capital offense against Gaia, and for the price of an overpriced mechanized broom-cum-mop and an equally over-paid civil servant, usually a friend or relative of the local alderman or precinct captain, the same quality of street sanitation is obtained that a father and his eager son produced 50 years ago. Leaves persistent enough to remain on branches, and twigs and small branches loosened by winter and spring winds that cluttered up city streets were offered to the gods in frequent funeral pyres. Pere and fils shared the unique bonding a father and son can no longer enjoy legally, building a mound of combustibles and setting match to it.
What boy is not fascinated by fire? What father is not fascinated by a son that actually enjoyed sweeping the street and raking leaves? The rule about not playing with matches was set aside on these rare occasions, and Diamond Matches’ stock rose as boxes and boxes flew from store shelves in preparation for the coming conflagrations. Gone are those days, for here too, the long Liberal arm has intruded its insatiable grasp and deprived the citizenry of yet another simple pleasure.