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.
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.