Cheryl and Patty Bennett are ‘street angels’ who regularly pick up garbage in their Cowichan Valley neighbourhood. (Gail Taylor photo)

Cheryl and Patty Bennett are ‘street angels’ who regularly pick up garbage in their Cowichan Valley neighbourhood. (Gail Taylor photo)

Sarah Simpson column: Dynamic duo make the world a tidier place

Gail Taylor calls them “street angels”.

Hello. If you’re reading this, congratulations, you survived spring break, too. I’m not sure about you but I feel like I’ve been put through the wringer with having the kids home these two weeks. I’m not even sure why. I’ve still got one not in school yet at all and with the whole pandemic thing, we stick pretty close to home anyway. But spring break seems a little more… intense.

I am still standing and that’s what matters. (To my children anyway, because they like to climb all over me.)

Anyway, I wanted to give you a bit of a break from my children — perhaps only to give myself a bit of a break from my children — and talk to you about another duo that I’ve recently learned about.

Gail Taylor calls them “street angels”.

They’re two lovely ladies named Cheryl and Patty Bennett and they wander the Jaynes and Tzouhalem-area neighbourhoods in North Cowichan, and pick up trash. It’s not a once-in-a-while thing either. The sisters-in-law do it daily.

“They’ve been doing it for several months and they keep track of some items, for instance 103 discarded masks so far,” Taylor explained. “They somehow keep a bit of track of it in their heads.”

Taylor lives within their collection area and figured the pair needed some recognition. While she doesn’t know the women personally, she was brave enough to stop them on their route past her house one day and have a chat; From afar, of course, COVID-19 safety and all.

Taylor was so bold to even ask Cheryl and Patty if she could take their photo so she could share their efforts with the Citizen. They obliged and Taylor brought the photo to the paper right away.

“They’ve been doing it for months and they clean up our streets! It’s all about getting exercise but it’s also about doing that,” Taylor explained. “They’ve got the proper sticks and everything.”

The sisters-in-law seem to have recruited a third now, according to Taylor.

”I’ve noticed lately, I think, a husband is going with them now. I think there are three of them now,” Taylor said.

Of all the gangs one could form, a garbage patrol in the neighbourhood seems to be one of the most genuine and kindest.

“I just think it’s really nice,” Taylor admitted. “I think their story would be good to share.”

I thought so, too, so here we are.

I tried to find the Bennetts’ phone numbers. I sent them a couple notes on Facebook. I haven’t heard back. Maybe it’s because they don’t really want the extra attention. I like to think that maybe it’s just that they’re enjoying their time outdoors so much they haven’t had a chance to see my messages. Either way, kudos to them.

I remember in elementary school us going for school-wide neighbourhood garbage patrols. I never really thought much of it but no doubt it makes a difference if everyone pitches in. Though, in this day and age it’s not just garbage anymore, around here trash can often contains hazardous materials so I am glad the women have good gear.

It’s such an easy thing to do, picking up garbage. It’s even easier not to drop it in the first place.

It reminds me of a telephone message I got from my good friend George Brewster the other day.

“The big things are just a lot of little things put together and if you do the little things right all the time, the big things work out better,” he told my voicemail.

Imagine if we all just did a little bit more of the little things the right way. Like not dropping our trash. Boy what a difference it would make.

In other news it is Mr. Brewster’s 98th birthday on April 5 and I wanted to wish him the happiest of days. I hope you’ll give him a moment of your thoughts, too, on that day, and I hope that it brings a smile to your face because thinking of him sure does bring a smile to mine.

He’s got a book of his adventures coming out soon and I am very excited to read it. Happy birthday, Mr. Brewster. Thank you for being my friend.

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