I lost a buddy today.
He was injured fatally Friday afternoon when a car he was working on fell on him. He was kept on life support until his organs could be harvested which occurred this morning.
I was trying to remember when I first got to know Jez, and for the life of me I couldn't remember when it happened. It just seemed that he had always been around. As with most of my friends it all started out with reenacting. I guess in the early 80's I met him. He was in a group that while I wasn't a member of I worked with quite a bit. We developed a "Hey how are you doing?" relationship but later we both joined a different group and got to know each other and became friends. At the time, Jez was in the army based at Ft. Bragg. His nearest relatives were in Maryland so his weekends were spent a lot of time at Casa W. As he pointed out to me, my place was a lot better than the barracks. Pretty soon he became like a little brother to the goodwife and I. He would always leave something behind when he went back to Bragg, I always said it was because he was afraid he wouldn't be invited back.
We became close, close enough that I could start playing jokes on him. One of my favorites had to do with a road trip that we took to St. Augustine FL for the 250th anniversary of a battle that had taken place. I had taken my medical kit to portray a surgeon of that time and Jez had came along to give me a hand. They powers that be set us up on a island across from the city in the middle of the jungle. Jez who had not too long before come back from Panama when they went after Noriega, looked at me as we were setting up and said "This reminds me of Panama" Of course, that got the wheels in my evil brain working and I thought up a little gag to pull on Jez. I found one of the park rangers who was keeping a eye on the camp and pulled him aside and told him that my buddy over there (pointing at Jez) had just come back from Panama and his outfit had a rough time. I told the ranger that I didn't think there would be any problems but since the camp site was so much like Panama, if they could, how about keeping a eye on him? The ranger said he would, so all week-end long park rangers would stop by and ask Jez how he was doing and how things were going. Jez was delighted and kept telling me that these park rangers had to be the FRIENDLIEST Rangers he had ever met. I kept my secret until we were heading north home bound on I-95. When I told him the true story, I received a general cursing which made me laugh even harder.
Jez was a good companion and we went to a bunch of reenactments together. As a member of Special Forces he was deployed to Panama, and later went into Kuwait to liberate it. The goodwife and I sent him care packages and let him know that he wasn't forgotten. When Jez left the military, he had married by that time and things were not going well with that. When the marriage when down the toilet we put Jez up for a while on our couch until he could get his act together. He eventually moved back to Maryland to be closer to his family. Because of the distance, we grew apart to a degree but still remained friends. We saw each other at events and picked up right where we left off. Jez was noted for his ability to make the perfect Gin and Tonic in the field. I on the other hand had no such talent but was well known for my skills to locate things that no one else could. Jez always made sure that when I made the long trip north, that somehow there would be a large shipment of North Carolina Bar-Be-Que (with sauce, mind you) with me. I never let him down.
In the past few years, Jez found a lady that was just perfect for him. They ended up getting married and we continued to stay in touch. You know how it goes, we say will get together someday but that day never seems to come. Well at 05:05 Saturday morning I found out that day would never come.
Brian Scott Jeznach was my friend and I will miss him very much.