Having had three days in Minnesota during my concert visitation/book signing, I made it a point to reconnect with old friends.
The day after the Bob Seger concert, my friend Pat and I went out to eat at Perkins. Back in the day, we spent many late nights at Perkins, usually after a night out. It was our go-to location to catch up on life and share a meal. Our discussions over food were always deep, but were also sprinkled with lots of laughter. Neither of us knew what our future life would look like, so all we could do was talk about what was going on at that point in time, give advice and show support. But most of all what we did was listen. Neither of us needed to dominate the conversation, so we went back and forth as friends do.
At this particular outing, we pretty much picked up where we left off, even to the point of Pat ordering his trademark Omelette and me ordering a strawberry croissant french toast platter. It seems the more we'd changed, the more we were the same.
We talked and managed to go through the usual pot of coffee.
After breakfast we went to shoot a little pool at the place we used to play. When we were in high school and our early college years, we spent hours in Lee's Billiards shooting pool. It was our way of killing time back then and Pat thought it would be cool to revisit the place.
The ownership has changed and now it is called Al's Billiards. When we walked in it was like going back in time thirty plus years. The place hadn't changed much at all. The tables were the same and as I chose a cue, I laughed at the thought that it might be the same one I used in 1982.
I can't say enough about how fun it was to spend the day with a friend doing the things we did as a couple of young guys so long ago. I'm a nostalgic nut, so these kinds of things resonate with me. We put My Sharona and George Thorogood songs on the "iTunes" Jukebox and it was like getting in the Delorean and going back to '82.
The next night I spent with a bunch of friends I used to work with at Montgomery Wards. One of them owns a Tiki bar in Stillwater called the Tilted Tiki. We met there and reconnected with each other. It is a fun establishment with lots of delicious tropical drinks and cool decor.
This was the first time a couple of us had seen each other in years. It felt so good to talk about where we were, what had happened over time and what our kids were up to. These guys have always been a fun group, so we had some laughs - to the point of near tears at times for myself.
With both of these outings, it was like picking up exactly where we'd left off last time we were together. I think that is how you can tell a good friend from a more casual friend.
On my drive home I reflected on how lucky I was to have these friends. We share a past that wasn't perfect, but it made us who we are.
And I can appreciate each of them for who they've become. Old friends!