Several years ago, I had just gotten out of the hospital after having my knee scoped — another wonderful reminder of the joys of carrying a rucksack with 100 lbs of “lightweight gear” around for years. A torn meniscus, all kinds of loose cartilage and junk floating around in there made Steve a very unhappy boy. 

Originally the surgeon told me that they’d make two tiny holes on either side of my kneecap so they could “clear out all of that loose crap,” which had caused my knee to swell up to nearly twice its normal size. “Stay off of it for about two weeks and no prolonged standing or walking for about a month,” he said. Well, that wasn’t to be. 

Because I got a phone call that day from a film producer that I had worked with on a war film in Morocco. She’s a wonderful woman and very easy to get along with. She needed two personal security guys for the star of a spy film during two weeks of shooting in Israel. They had been filming in Europe and were originally scheduled to shoot in Israel in about two months. But due to some reason, they were heading for Tel Aviv quickly.

As I was the overall security advisor on another of her films, she was interested in hiring my bosses’ company again with the stipulation that I run the show. Would I be interested, she asked. Absolutely interested, I said. She wanted to know if I could be there and ready to go in five days. Sure thing, I said. She got in contact with my boss to work out the details and I was jetting to Tel Aviv out of JFK in business class four days later. Stay off the knee be damned. 

My boss in L.A. loved those kinds of deals: he didn’t even have to bid on it, he just had to say yes and send me and one more guy to Israel. That guy turned out to be my friend, and, 99 percent of the time, boss Jack B. Jack is a former Special Forces officer who began his career as a brand new 2LT replacement with Hal Moore’s battalion in the Ia Drang Valley, if memory serves me correctly. 

I love Jack, I consider him part of the family. And he loves me too. Every year when I call him on his birthday or on St. Patrick’s Day, he is invariably surprised and happy to hear from me. He usually sees my number on his caller I.D. and answers with, “WTF do YOU want?” Ah, the warmth of close friends. What would we do without it?

As I arrived in JFK from Boston, I went to the international gate for Tel Aviv and was waiting for Jack flying in from hot ‘Lanta. “Jesus Christ, they’ll let anybody on this plane,” I heard from behind me. Have I mentioned how much he loves me? 

We were on a fairly empty flight in Business Class and although the office manager from our company had booked us seats next to each other, the flight attendants said if we wanted more room, one of us could slide over to the seat across the aisle. “Good, I don’t want to sit next to him anyway,” Jack drawled. Slightly taken aback at first the flight attendant winked and said, “well you two obviously know each other.” We all laughed and after a steak dinner and a few doubles of that fine French wine from Monsieur Jacques Daniels, it was sleepy time.