There was a message on our answering machine. Edited version. Hi Andrew and R. Just wondering if you are working on Sunday Andrew. It is Fathers Day, and none of L's, your stepfather, eight children have made any effort. Just wondering if you Andrew are working on Sunday. If not, I would like to see Docklands before I die.
Ok Mum. See what we can work out.
Sunday time line.
9.30am, travel to new South Melbourne Coles Supermarket in car. Park one hour for free in underground carpark. Buy lots of food to put on an afternoon spread. Already troubled by the cost of a visit from Ma.
10.10am Buy three Sunday Saver tickets from newsagent in Clarendon Street.
11.00am Home and groceries unpacked. Place tidied.
1.30 Mother, step father and brain damaged brother arrive. Brother some how missed out on lunch and so R made him a nice sandwich.
2.pm Board city bound old Z tram. Bad tram driver. Very rough. Seats comfortable. Validate Sunday Saver tickets by four and realise my transport travel ticket has expired. Must fix that up in the next week. Although hard work, mother managed to haul herself onto and off the steps of the tram.
2.30 Arrive Docklands via W class City Circle tram. Very busy, but not too crowded. Note silly old German tourist woman who did not hang on and fell up the minor tram step. Many hands reached out to drag her upwards when I think she would have happily got up in her own time. Point out places of interest along the way to Mother and step father.
"That is an ugly building", commented Ma. I said it is quite a nice building. It has some environmental award and our old building manager's wife worked there for a time and there is a totally hot guy who lives there who grew up where you live Ma.
Walk along past Shed 9 and Shed 14 where there used to be the most wonderful dance parties. I told Ma that we used to go to huge 6,000 people dance parties here. I did not add that we consumed huge amounts of alcohol, dabbled with drugs and fornicated shamelessly in the boat shed at the end of the wharf.
Eventually after walking past almost all the Docklands buildings, the almost 80 year old step father suggested we stop for a sit down and coffee. I took no note of the name of the place, but we all had coffee and chips and wedges. Food places at Docklands go broke on a weekly basis, so no point in bothering about names. Note, old crippled men have been dragged to Docklands for Father's Day.
Caught Bourke Street B Class tram back to city. Pointed out significant places along the way to Ma. Ma strung off all the shops that used be along Bourke Street. The last time she went to the city, about ten years ago, and she used to go often, she was stalked from the Pakenham station when she was walking home. She lost confidence and has never been on public transport or out alone since. It was a big deal at the time and police were involved.
After such a long time, she was very interested to see the changes in Melbourne City. Step Father doesn't say much, but I think he enjoyed himself.
We were home at the St Kilda Road smart apartment by four thirty and then sister, the bone doctor and little Joanna arrived. R had set up a fine spread of food. Dips, biscuits, party pies, sausage rolls, nibbles, cheese, cabana, cakes, biscuits, endless cups of teas and coffee.
'Ma, if you need to smoke, go out onto the balcony or in my en suit bathroom and switch the lights on so the exhaust fan is on. No smoking around Little Joanna, Joanna, little Jo, Joey, Skippy, Goanna.
The bone doctor bashed orf back to Wangaratta, sis back to Geelong, Ma, Step Father and brain damaged brother back to Pakenham and suddenly all was peaceful and back to normal at the highrise.
Most of my mother's friends are probably dead now, but I think that there must be one or two left who she can tell about her visit to Docklands. Like her son, she does like the bragging rights.