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Life with Jiggs and RC

Watching the sun sink into the Gulf of Mexico from a 22nd-floor perch atop a Panama City Beach condo makes a guy perceive the planet as extraordinarily expansive.

However, make no mistake. It is not. In fact, it can be infinitesimally intimate.

All too often I’m reminded of that Disney declaration: “It’s a small world after all!”

Years ago I penned a column about one of my childhood heroes. His name was RC Hunter, a neighbor and dear friend. RC invited me into his home on Saturday afternoons to eat lunch and view “The Game of the Week” with Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese.

RC and I shared several interests — baseball, fishing, food, laughter and dogs. A legendary high school football player at Evansville Central, RC was among the Pocket City’s more popular personalities, attracting multitudes to his pub, Hunter’s Hideaway, headquarters for the best damn cheeseburger ever grilled.

A few days after the column was published I merited a visit from my pal Jiggs Sherrill. Turns out Jiggs and RC were boxing buddies during their respective stints in the military.

Imagine the educational value of spending an evening in the company of two such charismatic characters. Like my old pal Ray Manis oft advised, “Be quiet and listen, you might learn something.”

Here are just a few noteworthy nuggets I gleaned from these masterful mentors: Life is a blessing, and dogs are immeasurably valuable creatures to be treated with respect and reverence.

Be kind, but stand your ground. Don’t intimidate; but never — ever — be intimidated.

If you smile at someone, there’s a good chance you’ll get a grin in return. Laughing is good for your soul and spirit.

Loyalty begets loyalty.

I can’t remember dining at Golden Corral without spending a few special minutes with Jiggs. At 87, he was sharp as a tack. A fountain of knowledge, his tales were informative and interesting.

The old cliche “he never met a stranger” was designed for Jiggs. Invariably inclusive, he engaged anyone and everyone, intent on making new friends.

I learned of his passing while in Florida. The obit identified him as Ira Franklin Sherrill.

Guess what? I didn’t know his name was Ira. To me, he was Jiggs.

I began to ponder: What does RC represent?

Nary a clue.

They were simply Jiggs and RC, members of a rare breed, two magnificent men who made this humble life of mine so much more meaningful.

Contact Columnist Bob Bridge at 276-9646 or

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