In the late 1970’s, Pawleys Island was still a place you could actually have fun. There were not signs everywhere saying you cannot park here, you cannot walk here, no alcohol allowed here and no loud noise allowed here. As far as the government went, there was one local deputy who patrolled the Island, occasionally and sensibly. He knew all the kids, their families and who was trouble and who was not.
We were a part of a group of friends who were locals or whose parents had summer homes, so they were semi-local. We had been friends since childhood. On the weekends we liked to party. That usually included whoever was around, alcohol, a guitar or two, “Harry Berry” the car and “Reddy” the dog and cruising the Island for hours, talking, drinking and singing.
“Harry Berry” was a local icon and no one was sure or could really remember exactly which one of the guys he actually belonged to. “Harry Berry” was a 1957 Chevy. He was red and white with the long pointed fins on the back and red and white stripes down his sides. He had wide a chrome grill on his front and HUGE round lights on the front-mostly crushed and broken. “Harry Berry” was pretty bumbeb-up all over as far as that goes.
“Harry’s” gear shift was a screw driver and the guys started him by straight-wire. He no longer had foot pedals, just little nubs of something that you pushed down on with your feet, so it hurt to drive him bare-footed, but everyone did. It was pretty important not to let the screwdriver/gear shift come lose because there was a large hole in “Harry Berry’s” floorboard and you could loose it to the road below in a second! Hey, a lot of stuff got lost through the hole! “Harry Berry” was the best car in the world.
A day of cruising in “Harry” was never right without “Reddy”. There is an Inn right in the middle of the island where “Reddy” lived. “Reddy” was a huge, red golden retriever. He was called Reddy for two reasons: because he was red and he was “ready to go”. We would drive up to the Inn, “Reddy would see us, we would open the door and he would jump right in. He preferred to ride shotgun. If you were an on-looker, you would think Reddy was a woman with long red hair sitting in the front seat of the car next to the driver. Reddy sat straight up, looked around, often looking at the driver as if he was having a conversation. It was just too much!
One of my best memories of a day on Pawleys Island was a day just like this. “Harry Berry” was running in rare form, the sun was shining, it was a cool April afternoon. A friend was driving, a very special guy was with me in the back with his 12 string and “Reddy” jumped in.
After a couple of hours of cruising, singing and sipping, the local deputy pulled alongside. What he said was that we were driving too slow and maybe we should speed up “if we could”. We ended with an “Okey Dokey.” and that was that.
A while passed and the guitar was getting into Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Eric Clapton. The sun was going down, the conversation was deep and the kind that comes only when three very close, trusting friends are together inspired by music, stinging environment, memories, hopes and dreams. We were flying and totally happy.
The deputy pulled along side us again. This time he told we were running some folks off the road. He thought it might be time for us to leave the island and go on over to the mainland to one of the dirt roads on the plantations, or we could go on home. We asked him what about “Reddy”. He took him back to the inn for us.
That is my best day on Pawleys Island.
That is the way it used to be.
That is the way I remember Pawleys in my heart: free, simple, open, fun, special
Home of the Fun