Wild About Harry


It’s five thirty on a Friday. Rush hour. I drop someone off at the Rocks and immediately get a job further up the road at a five-star hotel. Two women climb in the back. I swipe my phone and Homebush appears as our destination. “Whoa – we’ve got a bit of a trip ahead of us – especially in this traffic.” “Yes,” replies one of the women, “we’re off to the Harry Styles concert. But no hurry. We’ve got plenty of time.” “Great. It’s saying it’ll take the good part of an hour. So, you’re fans of Harry then?” The woman nods. “Yes. My daughter and I have flown over from Auckland to see him tonight. It’s her eighteenth birthday present.” For the first time I notice the age difference between the two. “Wow – that’s quite the pressie – flying here just to see Harry.” The daughter pipes up. “Oh – we’ve already seen three of his shows in New Zealand. And after this we fly to Adelaide and then Perth for his concerts there.” Say what now? “Really – you guys are following his whole tour?” “Yep – most of it.” Then the mother adds, “And shopping too – lots and lots of shopping. After all, you only turn eighteen once.” I smile and start to wonder who this is really for – the daughter or maybe mum? I’m reminded of my trip to the US years ago around my twenty-ninth birthday. My dad had moved back to Albuquerque and offered to fly me over and take us on a road trip from New Mexico, through Texas, to New Orleans for New Years Eve and up to Memphis for my birthday. I wanted to dip down into Mexico but dad was determined that we go via Austin to see some blues. After all, he had already dubbed the trip: ‘The Blues Cruise.’ I remember being especially surprised when we got to our hotel room in New Orleans to discover that there was only one bed. Dad looked down and said, “Oh yeah, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell ya.” (I bet this mother and daughter aren’t even sharing rooms – let alone a bed). But maybe my strongest memory of that trip was from what normally would have been a fairly innocuous moment. We were on our way back, driving through the cotton fields of Mississippi. Looking out the window, I suddenly thought, “This trip will probably be the most special time I’ll ever share with my dad.” As I drop off the two Harry fans, I wonder if the daughter will have a similar moment of realisation.  I hope so.


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joe's cousin

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