The Home Team: The benches of Fairfield County
Published 11:12 am, Friday, December 2, 2016
Picture this: It’s Thanksgiving Day, and sons Matt, Greg, and Robby are slouched on the green couch in the den, watching the Lions vs. the Vikings. Then Cowboys vs. Redskins. And then Colts vs. Steelers. Along with them are Carol (my wife), Kelly (Greg’s wife), and Alison (Matt’s girlfriend). As well as Kemba the Duck Toller. Along with assorted pillows and afghans.
Me? I’m alone on a hard-backed chair I’ve brought in from the kitchen. Not because there’s no room on the couch; it’s a very large couch. I sit on the hard-backed chair because I prefer it. One of my weirdisms is that I don’t enjoy getting comfy and cozy reclining with blankets on a nice soft couch or chair. In my mind comfy and cozy and reclining is for sleeping. At night. If it’s daytime, you sit up.
Here, some of my favorite local benches:
Southport Harbor: Beyond the peerless, picture-postcard beauty of the location, this bench, looking out over the sailboats moored in the harbor, the yacht club, and the golf course across the water, is packed with nostalgia. The day in June we relocated from New York City to Westport, almost 30 years ago, frazzled by the stresses of moving, I went for a run, and totally by chance, I wound up in this magical spot. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Since it also happens to be a Halloween trick-or-treat destination, I connect it to a time when my three sons, now in their 30s and 20s, were more like 7 or 8. I remember showing off the area to my parents, may they rest in peace, on one of their early visits to Westport. And Ricky the Beagle, who’s also resting up there with my parents — he could sniff the rose bushes there for a half hour, easy.
Greenfield Hill Church: Take away the pretty water scenes, and this spot, for my money, is the most gorgeous around. From the bench on Bronson Road, just before it intersects with Old Academy, you’ve got a commanding view that includes the triangular green with its ancient trees, the classical colonials of Meetinghouse Lane, and, of course, the Congregational Church — one of the handsomest I know. Throw a little snow on the ground, and you’ve got magic.
Soundview Drive: We celebrated Matt’s girlfriend’s birthday last Saturday at Pearl at Longshore, and you can bet I drove there via Hills Point Road. This, of course, to let Alison have a peek at everyone’s favorite water vista in town — that stretch as you round the curve where Hills Point, Soundview, and South Compo all come together. You’ve got the sound out in front, Compo Cove to your left, Compo Beach to your right — bench views don’t get a whole lot better than this.
Devon Road: There’s a simple wooden bench, near a pair of old white Adirondacks, under a stand of graceful, mature trees, that a lot of people probably haven’t noticed. That’s because it’s in my yard. The yard where Matt and Greg and Robby and hordes of Westport boys congregated for Wiffle ball tournaments and rough-tackle football games over the years. Where I held impromptu Little Leage practices. Where we threw sports-themed birthday parties. Very cool spot.
So James Waller can have his Bridges of Madison County. I’ll take my benches. But here’s the glitch. I always eyeball these benches while I’m doing something. I never actually do seem to sit down in the warm sun and read that good book. Maybe some day, when I slow down just a little bit, I will.
“The Home Team” appears the first Friday of every month.