Saturday, September 19, 2009

a permanent good-bye and a temporary farewell


The protagonist purposefully turns and walks toward the aircraft.


He pauses. Looks over his shoulder with a bittersweet smile.


He climbs the ramp to the aircraft. The door closes.


Scene fades to black. Music swells. Credits roll.


If this last week had been a film, that is how it would be ending today.


I am on my way to Oregon to get a new driver's license and to join my colleagues in celebrating the grand opening of the Salem Salvation Army Kroc Recreational Center. My friends have booked my full stay with various activities. I will not be burdened with too many choices.


But before I board what will not be My Last Flight to Lisbon, I have a bit of unfinished business.


I want to thank each of you who left comments on this blog, message boards, and FaceBook, in addition to the people who left telephone messages and sent me e-mail.


According to the statistics, the post announcing Jiggs's death had over 500 hits -- by far, a record day. And that post had a record number of comments.


What struck me most about each of the comments is how much Jiggs had come to mean to each of you. Several people who had never left a comment felt compelled to let me know how much Jiggs's tales meant to them.


Just as aside, for the past five months I have been working on a better title for this blog. "Jiggs's Tales" was quickly becoming a favorite. At some point, I may begin another blog simply to tell more stories about my friend.


Each of your comments brought tears to my eyes. Not because I will miss Jiggs, even tough I will. But because each of you thought enough to share your love of him.


I did leave one tale untold. When I closed out my tribute to Jiggs on Monday, I did not know what I was going to do with his body.


I considered digging a hole deep enough in the beach -- because he loved lying on the sand watching all of the activity, as if he were admiring his pride. He acted as if his mane had never been shorn. But the wet sand made digging too difficult.


Instead, I decided to drive his body to his veterinarian's office in Manzanillo.


His veterinarian was shocked at the news, but not surprised.


He asked me if I wanted Jiggs cremated. Apparently, that could be done in Colima -- another hour's drive away. I thought about that, but rejected it.


I asked him to dispose of Jiggs's body as if Jiggs had died there -- and not to tell me what that meant. Even though I thought I could guess.


He then conferred with his wife-assistant. And, as I knew he would, because he had always managed to do it for Jiggs, he came up with a perfect solution.


He asked if I would mind if he buried Jiggs behind his house with the rest of his favorite pets.


There are moments in my life that I will remember until I die -- and that is one of them. It was one of the most generous gestures I have ever received.


But I knew the reason why. Jiggs loved his veterinarian; and his veterinarian loved him. It was a very fitting place -- a noble place -- to be buried. The canine equivalent of Arlington Cemetery.


This chapter (my life with Jiggs) is almost complete. That does not mean that it never occurred. Only that I have more life to live -- starting with this visit to Oregon.


I will do my best to post as often as I can from the Pacific Northwest.


Because it is almost time for the aircraft door to close behind me.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now I am crying. Have a safe trip, and don't forget to hug your Mom!
Debbie

Steve Cotton said...

Debbie -- All very good ideas.

zannie said...

That brought tears to my eyes. I am going to miss the Professor.

Diego said...

Steve,

I haven't had the opportunity to tell you how sorry I was to hear about Jiggs. That veterinarian story was priceless. I'm sure he'll rest very peacefully among other loved pets. Hope you have a good trip and I wish you the best in this new chapter of your Mexican adventure.

Karen said...

What a wonderful and thoughtful thing for your vet to do. He is a special person the kind you want treating your animals. Enjoy your trip and keep us posted.

jackie said...

My daughter’s and my dog Molly’s ashes are in a specially made hand blown jar from Alder House Glass shop in the Siletz Bay area just past Mossy Creek Pottery. Tara has the beautiful hand-blown unique jar on display in her living room. Not something I could or wanted to do.
You will really like the cooler Oregon nights. Friday the temps got to the high 80s but now at 4:50 AM it is only 56 degrees.

Anonymous said...

Heart will never loose,memory and love...
Talk to you soon.
min

Anonymous said...

As long as you are a live,Jiggs will live with you.safe journey!
min

Tom and Debi said...

buen viaje!
Debi

Felipe said...

Thanks for this update. I had wondered what you did with the late Professor. Sounds like a good end.

DanaJ said...

I'm surprised by how often I think about your dog. For example, this morning on the drive to the shop, I was calculating 13 x 7 = 91.

Anonymous said...

This is the blog that brought the tears to my eyes. You brought closure to this chapter in such a beautiful way. I am happy that Jiggs is resting peacefully for eternity in a perfect spot. I know you will love your two weeks in Oregon. When one door closes another opens. I can't wait to see what this new open door has in store for you. I know they will be amazing adventures and experiences. Thanks for sharing with us.

glorv1 said...

My Chorizo was cremated and one day I will put her ashes in her garden. She had her own little area out in back where she would lay under all the trees and eventually we made it into a garden area for her. It's a beautiful area and her ashes will go there one day. For now they are still with me. Jiggs is resting now and he probably met Chorizo. We all will miss My. Jiggy. A handshake to your Jiggy's vet and have a safe and great trip.

Canadiangrl said...

Steve, I was happy to read your post today. Like many other readers, I have been thinking lots about the professor and was happy to hear he will be well looked after. It was also good to hear that you will soon be surrounding with family, good friends and the comforts of home. Take care.

Arnie B said...

Wet and rainy in the Pac NW. It is like you never left. It is going to feel real good getting off the plane. Sleep with your windows open. The smell of life.

Doggie Arlington, I like that. For a hero.

BoBo's Mom said...

You have just given me another reason to visit Manzanillo again.

Islagringo said...

Once again, you are forcing me to comment through tears. My vet in Minnesota did the same thing for my first dog. Such a touching gesture and unselfish act. Take care of yourself.

mdoneil said...

Godspeed to you both.

I'm a pleased you found such a wonderful vet.

1st Mate said...

What an honor for Jiggs to be included with the vet's favorite pets. Says a lot for our boy's charisma, considering they only had those few months to get acquainted. And today's shot was by far the best one of Jiggs yet. I'm going to save it, to remember him by. Thanks for making him so real for all of us. And enjoy your trip to Oregon. It'll be considerably cooler and more comfortable when you get back to Melaque.

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

what a wonderful place for jiggs to be. have a good trip to the PNW. LL

Mic said...

Well, Steve, I'm hoping you find a little golden puppy to bring home with you. Believe P. Jiggs would like that for you also. It's the absolute best way to heal a sad heart...and he'd want the best for you.

R.I.P Professor. The body that housed your notable soul is well honored. We'll enjoy your spirit visits.

Anonymous said...

Well done - "Here's looking at you, kid"

Rick

Jonna said...

Oh... I'm so sorry. I'm just starting to read blogs after my hiatus and this is the first entry I've seen.

My thoughts are with you.

Brenda said...

Vaya con Dios.

maria luz said...

Tears were rolling down my cheeks the minute I saw that wonderful picture of Professor Jiggs. Then, as I read your lovingly crafted post, I started to wonder why this dog and this man have so affected me. The only thing I can come up with is the fact that you shared something very, very special together, and your wonderful writing and your candor about your life with him, over these last months, made him real for all of us out here. He was real and the love you showed for him was real. It is human to long for love on any level and we soak it up from where ever it comes from. Vicarious pure joy.

Thank you for that. I love my husband and I love my son, but I have always had a special love for my dogs and while the pain of losing them diminishes over time, that love never changes.

Your vet should be getting a great big group hug from everyone about now. What a wonderful thing to do for Jiggs and for you!

Enjoy Oregon and don't be a stranger while you are gone.

ml

Cindy said...

Have a wonderful time Steve. Thanks again for sharing Jiggs with us. Enjoy your stay in Oregon.

Cindy Hawthorne
New Orleans LA

Tulum Living said...

What a beautiful post. And know that you will feel him around you soon. Enjoy your visit to the PNW. I miss home and wish I were back in Oregon now.

lavachickie said...

Aw, dammit, I'm crying again! :-) Bless your vet.

We have Bijou and Darwin in urns on shelves in the living room. We intended to place their ashes in one of the many places they loved, but we just can't do it. I have no idea what we'll do; perhaps just cart them along with us as we go. =-)

Irene said...

Welcome back to Oregon. Enjoy every minute of your time with family and friends.

Brubor said...

Have a saif...uhhh..safe trip.

Jodancingtree said...

I've missed reading the last few days, so this is the first I've heard of Jiggs's death. I'm so sorry! But what a wonderful life he had with you, what a wonderful friendship you shared - and it seems to me your Mexican beach house was the perfect setting for the Professor to finish his days on earth. God bless your vet for his sensitivity and kindness, and God keep you on your trip back to Oregon. I hope you do write more Jiggs stories - I'd love to read them.

DanaJ said...

yes, write more Jiggs stories.

Calypso said...

Whatever you do hombre DO NOT get another dog for a while - of course there will never be a replacement and there needs to be a time between best friends - I guarantee it.

Have fun in the Northwest - if you are like me it won't take long to want to get back to Mexico.

DanaJ said...

Not much of interest in the blogosphere when you're on vacation.
Miss the metaphors. And literary reference.
Masters and Commanders is one BIG book, so I have that to read. but...
Hurry back to the captain's chair of this blog, Mr. Steve.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to your blog morning. I am going crazy without it! Glad you took some time off Steve but your readers miss you terribly. I am guessing you are having a wonderful time being back home for awhile. Our weather has been gorgeous so hope you are enjoying ideal Oregon temperatures. Hope you get bitten by the blog bug again real soon.

Christine said...

Ditto regarding missing your blog. I still open it every morning hoping for your return.

Irene said...

Hey, stop having so much fun in Oregon and get to blogging! How can I enjoy my morning coffee without your stories.

mdoneil said...

I've made the picture from the 14th my desktop wallpaper on my laptop. I hope you and Jiggs don't mind.

aighmeigh said...

Steve,

I have been in my own little world and I am so ashamed to say that I am just finding out about The Professor. I am so sorry that your time together in this world has come to an end. I understand well that words, even supported with the best of intentions and sentiments, bring very little comfort when you lose a member of your family... but I know how much your words of support touched me in my time of need. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you... and perhaps Jiggs will meet up with Mi Amor and they can run and play in the surf together :)