The last time our American grandparents visited Australia was in February 1998. They spent a week in Melbourne since Kim, Paul and I had by that time moved to Melbourne. Paul and I had moved only in the last month, so we had a vague concept of Melbourne geography. Kim had lived there for two years, so she knew about as much as Paul and I about Melbourne geography.
One day we planned that Kim, Paul and I would meet up with Mum, Dad, Penny and the grandparents the following day. “How about we meet in the city, at Princes Bridge,” suggested Mum. “Do you know where that is?”
“Yeah… I think so,” said Kim, gesturing towards a passing cloud for emphasis. “One of those bridges at Southbank… we’ll find it anyway.”
The next day, we wandered in, and following Kim’s directions, arrived at the bridge at the appointed time. Actually, contrary to our methodical upbringing, we were slightly early.
And consistent with our upbringing, the “other group” was nowhere to be seen, even after twenty minutes had passed. At this stage, Kim remarked, “Hmm… this is Princes Bridge, isn’t it?”
“We thought you knew!” said Paul and I, in rough stereo. “Alright,” said Paul, “I’ll go and check.” He wandered off purposefully.
Soon he returned, and shook his head. “This isn’t Princes Bridge. It’s Fat Harry’s Bridge.”
“Oh, no,” I said, “then where is Princes Bridge? Mum and Dad and co. could be wondering where we are, and…” I stopped, and replayed the last 10 seconds of dialog in my mind. Realisation struck. I felt stupid. Kim and Paul were mighty pleased.
And that is how there is a proverb in the McQueen family to this day: “Ha! Fat Harry!”