Category Archives: Totally random

An Ace Customer At Crossroads Hardware

If you’ve lived in Westport for more than 12 seconds, you know that Crossroads Ace Hardware is the place — for any home-related item you could imagine, for fantastic personal service, and for that sit-around-the-potbelly-stove community feeling you can’t get anywhere else.

Ace HardwareIf you don’t know and love Jimmy Izzo, his father AJ and the rest of the Ace crew, you should crawl back into your cave.

But if you’re like me, you’ve probably driven by at night after they’ve closed and thought, “Wow, they leave a lot of stuff outside. They must really trust people.”

They do. And here’s why.

Yesterday morning, Jimmy went to open up. Under the door, he found a handwritten slip of paper.

Overnight, a customer had helped himself to some bamboo sticks, copper pipe and plastic tomato stakes.

Jimmy Izzo - Ace Hardware

The customer listed all those items on that sheet of paper. He also slipped a check under the door for the total amount.

Plus tax.

“People are good,” Jimmy says.

Well, yeah. Because, Jimmy, you’re good to them.

Once Again, Westport Drivers Think Perfectly Clear Road Signs Don’t Apply To Them

Alert “06880” reader Molly Alger saw this, while waiting patiently at the Post Road/Compo Road intersection this weekend.

Compo Road signs

“I kept waiting to see cars turn into the sky,” she says. “As usual, Westport drivers ignored the signs.”

Hey, Has Anyone Seen My Hula Hoop?

A few months ago, we learned — via an “06880” photo of shoes dangling mysteriously on telephone wires over Myrtle Avenue — that that signals drugs are available nearby. Who knew?!

So what are we to make of this latest scene, at a traffic light not far away? This was spotted — and photographed — by Bob Weingarten, at the Main Street/North Kings Highway/Myrtle Avenue intersection. (What is it with Myrtle Avenue, anyway?)

Traffic light

If you have any idea — or want to hazard a guess — click “Comments” below.

Happy Father’s Day — We’ll Drink To That!

Father’s Day is not till June 21.

But Bottlerocket — the liquor store by Stop & Shop — knows that if you’re like many Westporters, you’ve got a lot of booze to buy before then.

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

“Saugatuck Cures”: The Movie

Saugatuck Cures

I don’t know what’s weirder about “Saugatuck Cures,” a family-friendly comedy set for release on June 30:

  • The name, which won’t resonate with 99.9999999% of American moviegoers (and does not exactly roll off the tongue).
  • The plot: “Drew and his best friend Brett set out on a road trip to pose as ex-gay ministers using exuberant high jinks to scam churchgoers, all in order to raise money for his mother’s experimental cancer treatment.”
  • The only pre-release review I saw (“dynamic … whole-hearted” — Edge). When was the last time you heard a movie described as “whole-hearted”?
  • The fact that it was filmed on location in Saugatuck. Okay, not our Saugatuck. This is the one in Michigan. But still.

There is one Westport connection — kind of. The TV evangelist in “Saugatuck Cures” is played by a guy named Kurtis Bedford.

Bonus fun fact: The film’s budget was $200,000 — the caterer’s rounding error for major films. 

(Hat tip: Dan Lasley)

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But wait! That’s not the only Saugatuck Westport/Michigan connection.

Alert “06880” reader Kate Davis finally got around to watching “Still Alice.” In the movie, the daughter of Julianne Moore — a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s — performs at the “Saugatuck Theater.”

Intrigued, Kate googled it — and found a link to a “Red Barn Saugatuck” in Michigan.

Is that a Midwest way of remembering that before the Nisticos’ current restaurant by Exit 41, they owned the Arrow down at Exit 17?

Calling Bartaco. Sort Of.

Bartaco opened nearly 2 years ago. Almost immediately, Linda Gramatky Smith’s fax line rang.

Someone wanted to know something about the menu. That’s odd, Linda thought.

Then the fax rang again. There was a call about reservations. Then another, wanting to know if the restaurant offered takeout.

Linda Gramatky Smith

Linda Gramatky Smith

Linda and her husband Ken have had their fax number for 22 years. (She’s a 1960 Staples grad; together they run Gramatky Galleries, handling the works of her late father, “Little Toot” illustrator Hardie Gramatky.)

The Smiths’ fax number is 203-222-8220. Bartaco‘s number is 203-222-8226. There would not seem to be much confusion — except “8226” is actually the same as “TACO,” on your phone’s keypad. The Wilton Road restaurant paid some pretty pesos for that easy-to-remember number.

Unfortunately — even before a tequila or two — plenty of people read the letter “O” as the number “0.”

Uh “oh.”

You or I would get pretty angry after the first couple of calls.

Fortunately, Linda and Ken are not you or I.

For 2 years, every time the fax line rings, they’ve answered it. Patiently, they explain the situation. Always, the callers are grateful. Nearly always, they compliment the Smiths on their patience and pleasantness.

Bartaco is very popular. That means a lot of people call the wrong number.

Bartaco is very popular. That means a lot of people call the wrong number.

In fact, the Smiths do more than just answer the fax. If they’re not quick enough to pick up — and the caller hears the fax “beep,” and hangs up — the couple calls back and gives the correct phone number. That kindness is always met with awe.

“We like Westport’s restaurants. We want them to succeed,” Linda explains, as if every Westporter who received at least 300 calls in 2 years — her estimate — would be so sanguine.

Bartaco has been responsive. They’ve added the numerals “8226” to their website, which has helped considerably. But the calls still keep coming — a few last week, Linda says. She thinks there are still some places (“maybe Yelp?”) that say only “203-222-TACO.”

The Bartaco website includes phone numbers for all 6 restaurants. Each ends in "TACO" -- er, "8226."

The Bartaco website includes phone numbers for all 6 restaurants. Each ends in “TACO” — er, “8226.”

Actually, Bartaco has done even more for Linda and Ken. The other day, they invited the couple in for a complimentary meal.

The Smiths had a great time. They loved the lively river scene, and the food was great.

Linda and Ken thanked the staff for an excellent meal.

In person. Not by phone.

Ignore This Sign At Your Peril

Westporters are famous for ignoring all kinds of signs: Stop. Yield For Pedestrians. No Parking Here.

But please, whatever else you do, heed this sign:

(Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)

(Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)

Whatever it means.

Andy Yemma Has The Best Snow Gauge In The History Of Weather

Andy Yemma

It’s Friday, March 20.

The snow continues to fall.

We’ll drink to that!

Image

Happy 3/14/15!

Pie

Kunepiam

Ed and Cameron Castillo have lived in Westport less than 4 months.

But they’re discovering a lot about their new town. Thanks to “06880,” for example, they learned the history of their home: the carriage house for The Cockeroft family’s country estate on Stony Point Road, that hidden gem on the west side of the train station.

(The red door that separates their yard from the parking lot makes for a fantastic commute, Ed jokes.)

But one thing stumps them: an engraving just above the door, on the side facing the station.

Kunepiam

“Kunepiam,” it reads — surrounded by what look like Native American pictograms, and perhaps settlers.

Ed’s Google search for “Kunepiam” returned absolutely nothing.

So he’s turning to an even better source: the “06880” crowd.

If you know what the word means — or where the engraving comes from — click “Comments.”

And that traffic jam you see the next time at the station, near Ed and Cameron’s house? That’s the “06880” crowd too, looking even more closely at this mystery.