Steve Morris stands outside the old El Cid bar with half of a dollar bill that 40 years ago he and Joe Whitehead wrote “4/4/2016” on, ripped in half and kept. The two friends vowed to meet and have a drink at the Cid 40 years in the future. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Photo: Lannis Waters
Photo: Lannis Waters

Two friends reunite after making promise in bar 40 years ago

Like, why not plan to meet in 40 years at this very spot, “when we’re really old,” to see how life has treated us?

To seal the deal that night at the El Cid Bar, a legendary West Palm Beach dive, Joe Whitehead took a dollar bill from his wallet, ripped it and gave half to his pal, Steve Morris.

On one side of each half they inscribed that day’s date, 4/4/76. On the other half they wrote a date so far in the next century it seemed unfathomable: 4/4/2016.

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Morris was 23; Whitehead 24. Still unmoored from responsibilities like marriages, mortgages and children, the years stretched ahead, long and rich with possibility.

“We just decided, no matter what happens, sometime in the future we’ll meet up again. So we shook on it,” recalled Whitehead.

>>Read what happened to Morris and Whitehead over the past four decades

Forty years is Monday.

The men lost touch over the years until last Christmas Eve when the phone rang at Morris’ house in the Acreage.

“Steve, it’s Joe,” said Whitehead, not bothering to give his last name.

It had been 25 or 38 years since they talked, depending on who is doing the recounting.

“4-4-2016,” Morris replied, like it was some kind of code, a password to the past.

Neither man had forgotten. Each still treasured their half of the dollar bill.

Morris’ was as fragile as old parchment, kept in a box of important papers. Whitehead always kept his in the window pocket of his wallets.

Will the El Cid be the same when they reunite Monday? Click here to find out.

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