I first met Israel Gohberg in a Mexican restaurant after he gave a talk at the University of Maryland, shortly after he emigrated from the Soviet Union. Since he spoke little English, I really did not interact with him at that time. Later he began to visit the University of Maryland for two months every year, his English improved, and I found his talks very interesting. Eventually we began working together and with David Lay on some projects, and our close collaboration continued for more than twenty years, not only at Maryland but also at conferences and other universities. The two-month annual visit always meant a period of maximal effort that excluded most other activity, the most notable exceptions being a few evenings of dinner and conversation at one of our homes. Even though our families always looked forward to Israel's visits, they experienced a certain amount of relief when he left, because life resumed a less torrid pace.