In 1973, my husband and I lived in a sweet, little house near downtown. It had 420 square feet of living space! The house is still there, unchanged, including that it has not been painted, but the paint seems to be holding up – haha. It was a great location because we could walk downtown easily to shop, go out to eat, just wander around, stop for ice cream, browse in a bookstore.
One particularly nice summer evening, we headed out the door, no destination in mind. After walking around downtown, we decided it would be good to have dinner. We went to a restaurant, The Royal Inn, which then had really good food for a reasonable price. We had a great dinner and then the bill came.
Oops! Neither of us had brought our wallets! We told our waiter that we were in a predicament. He went to get the owner as we sat and joked ‘now we’ll have to go wash dishes’. The owner came over to our table and greeted us with a friendly smile. He just simply stated, “You came to dinner without money?” We laughed with embarrassment as we confessed ‘yes’.
He then took my husband’s hand and shook it. He said, “You two have been here before. I know you will pay us. You go home tonight, don’t worry about it. Come back tomorrow or the next time you come by and pay. Also, if you ever have your parents visiting, but don’t have the money to take them out, you come here, order your meals, and let me know. I know you’ll pay when you can. Enjoy the rest of the evening.”
This to me was the epitome of living in what then would easily have been called a small town. Forty thousand people, now probably close to 100,000. We returned the next day and paid our bill, with a hefty tip. And you can bet, we often returned to eat there, always with money in our wallets.