Westport’s Christmas Card

It’s as much a part of Christmas as unbearable stress and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”:  the card/letter telling everyone all the amazing, remarkable, high-status stuff the sender’s family did during the past year.

Westport is, in a way, a family.  A dysfunctional one, sure, but a family nonetheless.  If we sent out a Christmas letter, here’s what it would say:

Hard to believe 2010 is almost over!  So much has happened over the last 12 months.  We’ve been on the go all year.  We’re sorry we haven’t kept in better touch, but you know how busy a growing community can be!

It was an exciting year on the college front!   All our kids got into schools — yes, every one of them!  Not all of them should go, of course — some should work, take a year off to travel or find themselves, or even join the military — but since when have kids known what’s best for them?  We’re excited to see them leave the nest, though we also look forward to hovering over it to make sure they make all the right decisions, and nothing bad ever happens to them!

An intimate vacation.

Speaking of travel, we enjoyed a number of wonderful vacations this year.  We took cruises in the Caribbean and around Alaska.  We went to Europe many times, as well as South America, Asia, the Antarctic, even Africa for the World Cup.   Do you know they have automobiles and roads in South Africa?  What a pleasant surprise!

We traveled so much, we were not around to protest that awful increase in the education budget.  How appalling that town officials wanted us to pay for things like small classes, art and music.  It would have cost us an extra 75 cents a day, which is totally out of line.  Hopefully, this year we’ll be here in town to say “enough is enough!”

One of our most enjoyable trips was to Guatemala.  We went on a service project, to build toilets for poor, starving people with quaint customs and delightfully raggedy clothes.  We learned quite a bit, and will never forget that those people are just like us, only browner.  We hope to continue our community service work next year in another, even further off, exotic land.  Thank goodness no communities near Westport need help!

Speaking of the home front, we are in the midst of an enormous renovation.  Well, not renovation exactly — we’re tearing our house down to the ground!  It was built way back in 2004, and has only 6 bedrooms, a 3-car garage and a very small bowling alley.  Needless to say we were the laughingstock of our neighborhood.   Our new home is still not too big — only 27,000 square feet — and we have worked hard to retain the warmth of our “old” one.  We look forward to having you all over, just as soon as we finish decorating it in 2019.

It’s not just picking out all the right furniture, accessories and envy-inducing appliances that takes time.  There’s the minor matter of the fact that we lost our job 15 months ago, and haven’t worked since.  Well, we’re actually “consulting,” so no one will know we’re unemployed (LOL).   Thank god for credit cards  🙂

Our new car!

Despite tough economic times, we did splurge on a new car.  We thought about getting a hybrid, because around here they are both cool and hot.  (Not to mention “environmentally friendly,” whatever that means.)  But we decided instead on a Lincoln Navigator.  It doesn’t exactly “navigate” well, but it’s sooooo much more effective at intimidating other drivers, cutting into lanes and zooming through red lights.  We know, we know, it’s pretty hard to park, but hey, you can’t have everything.  We just take 3 spaces, at whatever angle we want — that solves that problem!

So that was our 2010!  We really must get together soon!  Let’s do dinner in Fairfield.  We would say Westport, but there’s nothing here anymore.  Not even the Y, we don’t think.  Maybe it is, but we’re not sure.

We haven’t been downtown in a decade.

33 responses to “Westport’s Christmas Card

  1. Right on, Dan.

  2. Four days before Christmas and this is what you come up with?

  3. I agree. We all know about those attitudes you are portraying but how about a more noble sentiment at Christmas? It is so easy to dip the pen in bile.

  4. Oh my, that sounds eerily like our letter this year…

    The only problem with hiding important topics behind humor, it the only people who get it are the ones that don’t need to.

  5. Funny piece!

  6. katherine hooper

    that was hysterical!
    enjoy the holidays.

  7. Eric Buchroeder

    Except for the 20,000 sq ft tear down part, you’re pretty much on target for anyplace in the country. Who woulda thunk Westport had gone mainstream!!!!

    I would’ve added a little jab at people who never go to church all year and then pack ’em in on Christmas Eve (so as not to set a bad example for the kids) and feel pretty good abouddit.
    Happy Holidays from Ohio!!!!!

  8. Nancy Powers Conklin


    THAT was brilliant!! Keep up the great work!

    Happy Holidays!

  9. I think people, in general, are much kinder than you portray. We may do wonky things once in a while, but overall, we’re a good lot.

  10. Gee Dan, how special. Thank you for sharing that with us.

  11. The Dude Abides

    Bah humbug!!!

  12. We are entitled to make snarky comments about this great little town called Westport. After all, this town is nearly polluted with an air of a sense of entitlement. Cough cough.

    Good one, Woogie!

  13. I LOVE this. It’s funny ’cause it’s true. Thanks for the laugh 🙂

  14. That was good Dan…thanks for going out on a ‘high note’.
    Happy New Year!!

  15. Remember that many of the folks being skewered here are the same ones who provide generous support to Staples Soccer, for example.

  16. Dan,

    It just doesn’t get any better than this piece. Brilliant! And as to the gang that says you’re a Humbug, I that say until you learn to drive and park your oversized truck and can afford to furnish let alone heat that monstrosity you call home, Bahhhh.

    Thanks so much and a Healthy and Happy 2011.

  17. Perfect. The only thing missing was a picture of the kids with perfect teeth, (why do parents think that we don’t want to see them???) the dog(s) and all wearing Notre Dame scarfs or similar insignia.

  18. Brought a smile to my face! Great to see that Dan, who is the #1 fan of all things Westport and Staples High School, if you count the events, plays, concerts, students he supports can also poke fun at our town. Also nice to see Karl Decker is a fan of 06880!

  19. The Dude Abides

    For those who are feeling most joyous and generous this holiday season, I suggest the following: After you have tipped the postperson, garbageman, barber, driver, nanny, babysitter, cleaning woman, nail salon, pedicurist, FEDEX guy, UPS driver, gardener, pool service, tennis court maintenance, exterminator, hot tub specialist and your kid for getting good grades, drop a check off to Professor Woog who works for nothing and entertains us every day. The address: 301 Post Road East, Westport 06880.

  20. this blog is offensive to read. you are always bashing westport, and stereotyping the people that live here. it is appalling that you work at a high school and that your students are reading this. there is a difference between controversial journalism and just bashing a really great town.

  21. @Westporter

    When you actually have the ability to write as if you had ever studied with/under the Amazing Karl Decker then perhaps you might have earned the right to comment on this blog. You have obviously been around Our Town all of perhaps 30 minutes.

    As to the Marvelous Woog–what can one say? Two of my kids as well as my wife were students at Staples when Dan was faculty. He is as much a Westport treasure as JoAnne & (the late) Paul, Max Wilk, Eve Potts & Molly Donovan and the late Julius Gold. Among so many others.

    This blog does more for Westport than The Levitt, The (fka) Nature Center, Longshore and Compo Beach (well, maybe not The Beach).

    Thanks Dan. You’re the best. And may I join in Congratulations on this at long last momentous day. Better late than never.


  22. Thanks for capturing the worst spirit of Westport..and altho there are many exceptions to the rule, there is a preposterous in your face entitlement that is pervades life here….Can’t forgot those folks who blamed the cyclists for taking up too much room on the roads for their SUVS this past summer…the nerve of those eco-crazies who have the nerve to ride bikes!!!

  23. Former Westporter

    Our family left Westport for the the South over 10 years ago, but the 06880 blog helps greatly with keeping us connected. Your “Christmas Card” piece really touched a nerve, somewhere near the elbow (maybe the funny bone?). Illustrating that this genre is indeed universal, or at least alive and well in our neck of the woods, below are “sanitized” excerpts from a 2-page Christmas letter that arrived in our 30327 mail box the same day. Have a great holiday season, a healthy 2011, and keep blogging!

    “Dear Family and Friends,

    What a fast-paced incredible year this has been! We hope this note finds you happy and healthy as we give you a quick recap of the highlights of 2010 for our family.
    January: Happy New Year: Mom and dad ring in the new year Vegas Style. Once again, Lady Luck proved to be an illusive little chick. We had a blast on our first last-minute trip of the year. Planning…it’s so overrated!
    February: The girls’ church basketball team, led by Coach dad and Asst Coach mom, wins the regular season basketball championship.
    March: Our son’s church basketball team wins the championship for the winter league. We travel to Atlantis for Spring break, and attend the Art Museum Wine Auction, winning a trip to Napa. Our youngest turns the ripe old age of 12. Her friends gave her books and stuffed animals, and she donated them to a homeless shelter.
    April: Travel to NYC for a fun weekend including some Broadway plays, and meeting the Jonas Brothers. We spend Easter weekend at Cumberland Island.
    May: Attended Steeplechase in Nashville with good friends.
    June: A very busy month. Our eldest son’s team captures the spring basketball league trophy, and our two daughters go to the CMT festival and meet their role model, Taylor Swift. Mom and Dad go to NYC and see a really cool, small venue Elton John concert. The girls head out to their favorite summer camp. Mom’s sister completes a 100 miles bike ride around Lake Tahoe and collects over $4000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Like sister, like sister….what can I say?
    July: Oldest daughter celebrates birthday. Mom and dad go on a second honeymoon in Italy.
    August: Middle daughter has a birthday. We take our Napa trip, and the kids all return to their private schools.
    September: Our 8th grade daughter joins the high school choir. Mom and daughters unveil their terrific new charity idea, a kid/teen program raising money for leukemia, cancer and AIDS research. Oldest son continues the family basketball hot streak, as his team repeats as the church league fall champions.
    October: After many months of hard work, mom enjoys being a part of a foundation’s “Best Cellars” dinner.
    November: Mom and her sister hit the CMA’s in Nashvegas. Mom holds a meeting at a famous person’s office, with her fund-raising group. They were responsible for securing 100 toys for the childrens’ hospital and providing 50 turkeys with accompanying items for a turkey dinner to the underprivileged. Their group held their first telethon and it was a huge success.
    December: Incredible football month for our favorite teams. Younger daughter completes her confirmation classes, truly a highlight of the year. And now dad’s company is completing a record quarter to cap off a great business year.

    So, these are a few highlights of a year that really flew by. We are truly blessed as a family, and look forward to another action-packed year in 2011….”

  24. Merry Christmas Dan! You Rock!

  25. Actually, I live in the Greens Farms area, and I really HAVEN’T been downtown in a decade.

  26. westportersince1970

    Lots of pain beneath the humor.

  27. No pain, no gain.

  28. Bah humbug!!!