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Burt the lawbreaker

by Aunt Clara –

Burt was a regular lawbreaker. Aunt Clara did not know this about him until after the wedding. You know the adage, “We hide our flaws until ‘after’ the wedding!” Burt was always at the courthouse looking up old Commonwealth laws still on the books, and then going out and break that law. He even had a little book he carried around that listed all the laws and when and where he was when he broke that law.

The first one he broke was at my grandmother’s funeral. There is a law that remains on the books that states no mourner may eat no more than three sandwiches at a wake. Of course it does not clarify the size of sandwiches, whether it be finger sandwiches or full size grinders. Burt stuffed himself on pesto chicken, egg salad and even anchovy-lemon butter sandwiches at the wake. Aunt Clara was so embarrassed introducing people to Burt while he was eating his craw with three or four sandwiches. He ate until he could not walk straight. In his book he named every type and amount of sandwich. He even made a point of eating right in front of the chief of police, probably waiting to be arrested. The chief just shook his head and walked away.

It is illegal in Massachusetts to scare a pigeon. So, like a wild man, Burt had to run after every pigeon he saw. He would write every encounter in his book while he searched out more birds to frighten.

Burt made a point of letting everyone know he was “not” carrying a rifle to church. Burt would make sure to let the other parishioners know he was breaking the law. Of course, hunting on Sunday is prohibited also so whatever would these men be shooting with their rifles? It is also illegal in Grafton to spit on the sidewalk. This was a disgusting law that Burt just had to break. “Whatever will the neighbors think, Burt?” Aunt Clara would admonish, but to no avail. Aunt Clara thinks this law is a good one and should still be enforced, but the police just don’t seem to feel the same way.

Burt was always writing and scribbling on our milk cartons as soon as we purchased one. Of course, it is illegal to deface a milk carton. Aunt Clara always made sure Burt did not have any markers when we went to the market lest he defaced all the milk containers in the grocery store. Burt loved to draw a milk mustache on the milk girl’s face or make the cow into a horse on the carton.

Burt refused to bathe before retiring to bed. This was, of course, because there is an obscure law on the books that states one must bathe before going to bed. Aunt Clara feels this is a good law and should include flossing but the State Senate does not seem to agree.

When any of our friends were in the hospital Burt always made sure to visit them every day. Not because Burt was so caring but because he just had to bring them a beer — it is illegal to bring a hospital patient beer. Burt did not care if they drank it or not, his part was done as soon as he walked in the patient’s room with that illegal substance. Aunt Clara did forbid Burt from bringing beer to my saint of a mother when she was on her deathbed. Aunt Clara told Burt in no uncertain terms that if he ever brought that woman a beer while she was in the hospital, then Aunt Clara would be breaking a law of her own. Since it is illegal to beat a rug in front of a house, Aunt Clara is sure that beating a recalcitrant husband on the doorstep would be breaking some silly law.


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