Savoring an afternoon with a longtime friend

"It's like nothing's changed."

He meant since we'd last met up for our last visit — but that was about 11 years ago.

But it was true. Despite the fact we'd grown older and wiser, we were essentially the same friends we'd become as college undergrads. We became sidekicks in college because we'd had so much in common — and still did.

That's not to say we are exactly alike.

In fact, I'm not exactly like any of my close friends. But we gel.

Summarized at best in Psychology Today, "The conventional wisdom is that we choose friends because of who they are. But it turns out that we actually love them because of the way they support who we are." (Click here to read the entire story.)

Those kinds of friends are hard to come by, and distance makes it harder.

That's why I am thankful my friend took the time out to come to town a day early and spend an entire afternoon with me.

I savored the oven-roasted onion soup and spinach salad I ate off-and-on during our conversation at the Italian restaurant we'd heard was pretty great. (If you're ever in Perrysburg, Ohio, you can check out Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano. Ask if they've made the spectacularly creamy oven-roasted onion soup.)

We spent another good hour with coffee at the nearby Starbucks.

It was good to catch up and to talk about the future. We were at a bistro in a shopping center, but it reminded me of our pancake breakfast conversations at Bob Evans during our college days — only we hadn't been up the entire night before.

I realized spending the afternoon with a wonderful friend was one of the highlights of my summer trip to my hometown — and making sure I slow down enough to spend time with my closest confidants is important.

With competing schedules, as well as job and family responsibilities, no one can spend every afternoon like today, but it doesn't have to be a once-in-a-decade irregularity. And shorter meet-ups can be just as rich.

He was sure it wouldn't be another 11 years before we managed to get together again — and I agree.