Good thing he had a quarter and a penny

Published 1:50 pm Saturday, March 10, 2018

It’s funny how things that are meant to be have a way of working themselves out. My good friends John and Madge Tidwell recently told me a story that illustrates this perfectly. John and Madge are two of the best people I know. If there is such a thing as a textbook marriage it’s theirs. After many years of being together they still like each other’s company, are staying active in the community and sharing their zest for life with their friends.

John recently told me a story of how having 26 cents in his pocket bailed him out of a tight spot and kept him from disappointing Madge.

It was in the late 1940s when John was living in Fairfax and Madge in Lanett. John’s dad let him use the car one night, and he couldn’t wait to call Madge to see it she wanted to do something with him. Madge said that sure she would and she was just getting off from her job at the local phone company.

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John picked her up outside the phone company and asked her what she’d like to do.

“I’m starving,” Madge said. “I’d like to go eat somewhere.”

“How about Roger’s Restaurant?” John asked.

Madge agreed, and they were off to one of the more popular eating places around. It still is.

At that time, Roger’s was in West Point’s Forest Park section, in a big curve on Highway 29.

While en route, John got to thinking, “I don’t have any money on me.”

He felt in his pocket, and all he could find was a quarter and a penny.

How could two people eat on 26 cents?

John thought about what to do and made the right decision. He would treat his date and then eat when he got back home in Fairfax.

Madge told him that she’d like a hamburger and a Coke. John ordered it and was wrestling with himself on what to do if it was more than that.

“I was prepared to tell them that I was in a fix, and that I would do whatever I could to make good on it. I would wash the dishes, clean up the place, whatever,” he said.

When the order was ready and he was called to the counter, John was ready with his “What can I do?” routine.

Amazingly, he didn’t have to do it.

That hamburger and Coke cost exactly 26 cents.

He gave them the money, satisfied them and went back to Madge and made her happy, too.

That’s what happens when something is meant to be.

When John told me the story I couldn’t help but ask Madge what she would have done if John had kept the food for himself.

“I probably wouldn’t have gone out with him again,” she said with a laugh.

It’s clear the Tidwells have had some wonderful years together. At one point in his business career, John traveled a great deal. Sometimes he was able to take Madge with him. On one trip to the west coast, their flight back home was delayed for four hours. That would have been a huge disappointment for most people.

John and Madge saw it as opportunity. Luckily, they were in San Francisco, one of America’s truly great cities,

Rather than being bored waiting for their flight, they had a chance to explore the town. They rode the cable cars, went to Fisherman’s Wharf, saw Golden Gate Bridge and had a most memorable experience.

It was like being kids again, but they got back to the airport with plenty of time to spare and didn’t miss their flight.

Thank you, John and Madge, for sharing that story with me, and thank you for being such good friends to so many people.

Yep. Things that are meant to be have ways of working themselves out.