What began as a simple act of kindness is still yielding sweetness, eight years later.
It all started when Liberty resident Betty A. Calvert, now 84, broke her back and had to wear a brace, limiting her mobility. Seeing the brace, her weekly trash collectors from County Hauling told her not to worry about returning her garbage can to her backyard. Collectors Junior Wallace and Timothy Winters said they would do it.
To show her gratitude, Mrs. Calvert baked cookies for the two-man crew the next week. Even after the brace was removed three months later, the generosity of all continued: The haulers kept returning the trash can to her backyard and Mrs. Calvert kept baking.
"I do it because they are so kind," she said.
"We just love it and wish more people were like her," Mr. Wallace, 46, of Belle Vernon said. Mr. Winters, 53, of Donora, said when he and his partner are on vacation they tell their replacements about returning the can and about the sweets -- of which cupcakes are favorites.
Mrs. Calvert missed only one week, in 2008 when her husband, Harry, an Air Force serviceman who survived the Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor attack, was hospitalized.
Now a widow, she bakes chocolate treats or cheese puffs or some other sweet every Tuesday evening.
Her son, John Hvozdik of Port Vue, takes her garbage curbside the night before, and when she hears the garbage truck about 7:30 a.m. every Wednesday, she puts the carefully wrapped treat on top of the can, then goes back into the warmth of her kitchen.
As a result, she seldom talks with the men during cold weather months; but they exchange holiday cards, and she comes out to see them in the summer.
Regardless of the weather, the tie is strong.
"Whatever she bakes, we eat it," Mr. Wallace said.
Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: email@example.com.