NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

U.S. Authorities Arrest Salvadoran in Newark for Participating in Extrajudicial Killings
Celebrate World Circus Day in the birthplace of the American Circus

Peyton and Me,

Plus Connie Head to Myrtle Beach



William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews

MYRTLE BEACH, SC--On February 27, we joined the "Snow Bird Migration" like we have done every February for over a decade and headed south on Route 95 towards South Carolina. The March weather in that state is perfect for us. Temperatures range between 65 and 75 degrees, and after spending months in New Jersey's damp, cloudy, and cold weather, we are ready to get away. Another incentive, rental prices are half what you typically pay during the spring and summer seasons. Usually, we would stay in Hilton Head, but that island has become so crowded you can't walk down a bicycle path without being run over by a bicyclist. Downtown auto traffic is the same, bumper to bumper, making maneuvering a few blocks on the main street hard. The biggest reason we left that beautiful area is that rental prices tripled. A home we rented from BeachBum property increased from $3750 to $11,000 over one year. 

Screenshot 2023-04-12 at 22.07.58Some of our visitors this year include these lovely ladies.   CNBNEWS PHOTO CREDIT

We rented the Myrtle Beach property from Pete through https://www.airbnb.comPete was the perfect host; he went out of his way to please us. His rental price for the property was very affordable, too, especially when you considered how close it was to the private beach. It was just a 10-minute walk or even shorter if you drove the golf cart to the ocean included in the rental. The three-bedroom home was on a secluded street, surrounded by trees. 

Even though it was just 10 minutes from the Myrtle Beach International Airport, air traffic was nil. The planes that occasionally flew over were mainly military, as an Air National Guard airport was nearby. The house was a short drive to every Myrtle Beach attraction and close to fabulous restaurants. 

Screenshot 2023-04-09 at 19.16.21CNBNews photo


During our first weekend there, we saw several custom pickup trucks like the ones in the photos. The top one was parked out front of a Walmart. We double back after riding by it to get a better look. Because the windows were dark, you couldn't tell if it was occupied. As I snapped some pictures, the front passenger side window came down halfway at first, then all the way. The guy, who looked to be 16, was drinking a beer. He said something, but I didn't understand what he said. My first thought, I should consider the hearing aid Connie keeps lecturing me about. 

Screenshot 2023-04-09 at 19.24.13photo courtesy of Philip Van der Fossen


When Connie asked if either young man was 21,  the driver yelled from the other side of the truck that he was. He also mumbled something that neither of us could understand. A few seconds later, a cloud of smoke, with a heavy smell of marijuana, came pouring out of their truck. It was now clear that one of the reasons we couldn't understand these two guys, they were both blown away, and it was early afternoon.

Connie asked the driver again, "What is the name of the design of your pickup truck. "Madam", the driver says, "it is called a Carolina Squat. As we continue to ask about his vehicle, he is packing a pipe or a vape with marijuana. To our surprise, the back window opens, and two young women sit in the rear seat. They are bleary eyes, and they are stoned. These two look even younger than the two guys in the front seat. The blonde hair teenager says to Connie, "You are pretty." In return,  Connie tells her she is pretty too. It reminded me of the lovefest at Woodstock, New York, that I wished I had traveled to back in the day. To be exact, August. 15 to 18, 1969. 


As we continued the conversation, another truck just like the ones in the photos arrived, followed by another and another until there were 20 trucks parked near us in a semi-circle. One truck has these giant speakers in the bed of his vehicle. The music starts playing or blaring. More beer and pot are being shared among the participants. As for the music (do you call it music or do you call it rap?), the guy who was rapping over the loudspeakers kept dropping the F-Bomb. No one seems to mind but us. Most partygoers who look underage are drinking beer and smoking marijuana; some are driving and drinking. We kept looking for the cops thinking someone would call them because of the loud music and the teens drinking beer in public. But during the short time we were there, we never saw them. 


I wanted to interview some of them as I was curious about the Carolina Squat design. Specifically, since the modification makes the front of the vehicle so high, how can the driver see a smaller car or a child in front of them? The South Carolina legislature in February introduced a bill to ban that design for that reason. The video at the end of this article, edited by Philip Van Der Fossen, gives more details about these vehicles.

Screenshot 2023-04-09 at 21.49.21

Our granddaughter Brianna Woods (center), her friends KAT (left), and Zoe flew to Myrtle Beach airport to visit us. It was fun having them there. Bri and her Possee, who visited us in Hilton Head (HH) years ago, said Myrtle Beach had more entertainment for their age group than HH. Think of Hilton Head as the southern version of Cape May, NJ, and Myrtle Beach as Wildwood, NJ.


Myrtle Beach, like Hilton Head, was very clean. As any New Jerseyite knows, you can't say the same about Wildwood or Cape May. Another sign that we were out of New Jersey was the lack of vagrants. 

Screenshot 2023-04-09 at 21.24.35
Jose Lezcano

One day the five of us were eating at an outside restaurant. Two men were sitting nearby whittling wood. Both had a pile of wood shavings on the pants and shirts. Curious as always, Peyton wanders towards them with me right behind her. The men fussed over Peyton, and as they did, I asked what they were making. The one man looked like Jose Lezcano, the famous jockey. He was the same size as Lezcano, with a dark tan and a large cut on his nose. The other man, hunched over, had a salt-and-pepper beard and long salt-and-pepper hair. In some way, he reminded me of the sociopath Charlie Mason.

Jose said he was making a drumstick as he played the drums.

"It could also be used as a defensive weapon," he said.  

"How so?"

"I could poke someone's eye out with the end of the stick.

Charlie said he tried to make something similar, but his stick kept breaking. The knives they were using to whittle had large six-inch blades. During our brief conversation, I learned they were homeless but homeless by choice. They liked Myrtle Beach, and they considered the community their home. They slept where ever they could find a spot, some nights under the boardwalk. Charlie M. said he was in a severe traffic accident resulting in a neck operation. That led to him getting hooked on Percoset; it crippled him for life. He can no longer straighten his head. Charlie said he had family just 40 miles away. He said again he was homeless by choice. Both men were personable. I would have never talked to them if Peyton hadn't wandered to their location. As we walked away, I couldn't help thinking there for the Grace of God could go me.  


As we packed the van to head home, Peyton waited outside the rental for her turn to load up. We could take her everywhere we went during our time in Myrtle Beach. We would never leave her alone; she is part of our family.


IMG_2800CNBNews photo credit

Peyton in front of the Myrtle Beach 9-11 Monument


CNBNews photo credit

Throughout the community of Myrtle Beach, plaques like the one above are situated with photos of local veterans who served in the various wars that our nation fought throughout modern history. 




MYRTLE BEACH, SC--The day the following three photos were taken started outScreenshot 2023-04-09 at 22.56.21
with a cloudy sky. But, over a short period of time, as we walked along the ocean, the sun burst out of the clouds, and the sky opened up. For a moment, as the sun's rays shined and twinkled on the water, there was a period when I expected GOD to appear. If only that had happened, I would have had my first Pulitzer photo.   

Screenshot 2023-04-10 at 08.55.14


Screenshot 2023-04-09 at 22.41.56

Screenshot 2023-04-10 at 09.06.20