On Tuesday, I rode down to northern Rhode Island for dinner with a Bryant University AIS instructor.
The first time I drove any distance to have dinner with her, she was 17 and an early college admission to then Clarkson College. This continued with each change of season through her college years. The last time we had dinner she was 21, had her degree, was a new Army wife, and pregnant with their first and only child.
The "child" is now a sophomore at Rose-Hulman, and several inches taller than me.
There have been gaps caused by our zip codes being in different timezones and the general process of living our lives. A overnight stay with them while job hunting in Maryland, working by chance with her father-in-law at IBM in Kingston (NY), an Army change of command ceremony in Tennessee, a wake for the father-in-law in Maine 15 years after Kingston, an overnight stay while on vacation in another Kingston (Ontario) -- these are the intersections of 20 years. In between, mail, phone calls, and more recently e-mail & instant messaging.
She calls me a persistent friend. It is kind, and it is true.
When the seasons change again during this academic year, we will have dinner again. So it is with persistent friends.