Saying goodbye, whether it's at the end of a visit or a vacation, is never easy.

No matter how many times you say goodbye, it never gets any easier. Such was the case on the last day of our West by Northwest vacation as we prepared to leave the home of my longtime friend, Dan Brecht, in Wheatland, Wyoming.

I have known Dan for 23 years. I met him while doing field research for my graduate thesis at the University of Wyoming. He had a bed and breakfast where he allowed students to stay for a nominal fee (sans breakfast). That was much better than the campground I had been considering. We became friends and have kept in contact, even though those graduate student days are far behind me and the bed and breakfast has long ago sold been sold.

Gordon Lightfoot perhaps puts its well in his song, Did She Mention My Name, when he sings “It’s so nice to meet an old friend and pass the time of day.”

Leaving is hard. You want to stay longer, but, alas, time marches on. Responsibilities await on the road ahead.

Dan definitely underscores the principle that life is a process of constant change. Since leaving the bed and breakfast behind 15 or so years ago, he has lived in four different homes in Wheatland. He buys a house that needs fixing, renovates it, sells it, and moves onto the next one. Recently, he has changed his modus operandi and is renovating buildings in downtown Wheatland. It’s all part of his goal of keeping the downtown area vibrant and relevant.

Through all of the changes that life brings, one thing has remained constant: our friendship. He visited Kathie and me here in Pratt several years ago. Now that he is retired (for the second time and maybe not the last), I hope that he will take me up on my invitation to visit us sometime in the fall for some mountain biking in the Gypsum Hills. Perhaps he will. Either way, I know we’ll see each other again somewhere down the road.