It was a hot day in mid-May ’77, Raleigh, North Carolina, when feeling the need for a cooling swim but, since the Hunsuckers were away for the weekend and I could not use the pool at their address, I decided I would take my beloved canine companion to the next best place: Walden Woods Clubhouse Pool.
My brother was headed there anyway, for an upcoming birthday gig rehearsal, so I asked him if I could get a ride with him to go swimming. Not a problem, he told me.
I put on a light blue two-piece swimsuit and then a pair of faded jeans I had meticulously frayed at their cut off point, thus turning them into shorts befitting the decade. I decided not to wear a tee shirt today because I wanted continue working on what would become my summer tan.
I clicked the leash on my silver German Shepard and slipping my feet into my sandals, then made my way to my brother’s clapped-out car. I let Garf in first to avoid him climbing over the top of me and to avoid his accidentally scratching my bare legs, torso, and arms. My brother and his closest friend, Mark, occupied the two front seats of this, my raggedy carriage.
As we made our way down the road toward our destination, I giggled at the sight of the asphalt appearing in flashes from the floorboard of my brother’s jalopy. Starving artists never enjoy the finer things in life, but for my brother and his friend, it was never about anything but "the music," even though they both had secret aspirations of becoming the next Jimmy Page.
Upon arriving at our collective destination and, with Garf itching to get out of the car to start sniffing the ground of unfamiliar territory, it was difficult for my slight frame to hold him back in his excitement.
“Wait!” I sternly commanded of him, pointing my index finger closely at his nose in a snap and, he obeyed me, his 16-year old mistress.
Out of the car and walking toward the pool area, I was happy to see that my friends, Gretchen and Colleen, were there waiting for me, having saved a sun lounger so that I wouldn’t have to lay uncomfortably on the concrete surrounding the pool as the sun darkened my skin into a gold-bronze tan. My mid-long strawberry blonde hair was flapping in the wind behind me, a result of my outstretched arm that was connected to the lead of Garf, his eagerness to do what dogs do, almost dragging me into a quick-paced walk behind him toward the pool and Gretchen, a familiar voice that called his name. “Garfie!”
I slid my cut-offs down my legs and stepped out of them, as we were chatting about things girls of that age do whilst slapping ourselves with our own brand of lotions and oils onto our nubile bodies to set the mood for our skin to welcome the Sun God. We then all three stretched out onto our loungers to let the worship begin, listening to the starts and stops of rock music being practiced from within the clubhouse.
Upon hearing the slapping of wet footprints on concrete approaching and, curious as to who it was interrupting our sunning session, I lifted my head from the lounger, shielding my sensitive blue eyes from the blinding sun, a grimaced strain on my freckling face due to the discomfort this caused them.
“Nice dog,” I heard the voice of a young man say, raising my torso into a sitting position to get a better look at its source.
The now clearing form appeared. He was in a squatting position in front of Garf, shaking hands. His swimming trunks were dripping from the underside of his soaked form, having just gotten out of the pool, muscular, tanned thighs lightly covered in man hairs rising as they quickly dried in the pre-summer heat. I could only guess that his wet hair was blonde from their colour. I had a sense that the dog was not his true intention for interrupting our appointment with the sun but I was not aware of exactly what that was.
“Julie, Gretchen, this is Scott. Scott this is Gretchen and Julie,” polite introductions made by Colleen, pointing to the individuals as she named them.
“Hello Scott,” Gretchen and I said in unison.
“And what’s his name?” Scott asked, his eyes focused on me with question, a broad smile stretched across his squared jowl, the dog’s paw still in his hand.
“Garf” I answered, “short for Garfunkel.”
“Cool name,” he acknowledged, standing and then turning away from us, making his way back into the pool in a dive.
“Is that the guy you were telling us about Colleen?” Gretchen quizzed my friend.
“Yep, that’s him”, Colleen clarified.
“He’s kinda cute, I 'spose,” I added with a shrug, my approval of Colleen’s taste in boys confirmed with indifference.
We returned to our collective sun worshiping, none of which who were to know what the coming days, never mind months and then very long years held for us.