The first time I ever saw a naked woman was at a bar with my Grandpa.
My Grandpa, Keith Lynch, owned the McKinnon pub [about 1/2 mile away from where Mum & Dad live today], and brought up Dad and his 3 brothers here; as a result the Lynch men are a very colorful bunch...our family get-togethers are always fascinating affairs!
The misadventures of the Lynch boys growing up in and around the pub would make for a great novel: pet snakes escaping into the neighborhood, unexpected overnight stays in the walk-in fridge, fast cars, and the girls next-door to name a few...but these are other stories that will be told another time...
This is a Grandpa Keith story [of which there are also a great many tales of misadventure], and I digress.
In 1985, the year before we moved to Oz, Dad took me on a scouting trip to Melbourne to prepare for the family's move the following year.
Grandpa was, of course, tickled to see his eldest son's eldest son come to Melbourne for the first time and took it upon himself to show me around. He booked us an all-day bus tour [highly recommended!] which included, among other things, a visit to Healsville Sanctuary to see a real live kangaroo, and a stop at Ferguson's Winery for lunch and a tour. breakfast that day was my first Aussie four'n'twenty meatpie [no the ketchup did not look like that on my pie]...
Long story short, after the tour was over and Grandpa had charmed all the ladies on the tour bus over lunch at the winery, he says, "I want to introduce you to my girlfriend", and takes me to the famous Young & Jackson's Hotel, across from Flinders Street station at the entrance to Melbourne central business district.
Grandpa sits me down at the bar, my 8-year old legs dangling off the barstool as I peer over the countertop, and orders himself a pint of beer, and me a shirley temple.
We sip our drinks and then raise our glasses to toast his girlfriend, "To Chloe!".... who is the 12 foot high nude oil painting hanging on the wall next to the bar!
"Sweet things do not go well
with a bitter Aussie lager -
Chloe is an exception"
-Rafal Zakrzewski, Beer Historian (2001)-
Today, the bar is different that I remember. My feet no longer dangle from the barstools, and I can lean over the countertop to order my own beer. Chloe now lives upstairs, overlooking the busy intersection that is home to Federation Square, St Paul's Cathedral, and Flinders Street Station.
I take a moment to myself today and climb the upstairs to visit her; she hasn't aged a day. As I hoist my glass to toast her, an old digger and his wife wink at me and comment about the gleam in my eye.
Here's to Chloe!