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Back when I was a young sports writer at The Tennessean in the mid-1990s, one of my colleagues was a guy named Harold Huggins.

His nickname, for reasons I don’t know, was “Bunny.”

Everyone called him “Bun.”

I, being a jackass, called him “Huggins.”

Huggins and I used to sit next to each other in the sports department, filing stories and talking shit. We could not have been more opposite. I was in my early 20s. He was in his early 50s. I was from New York. He was from Tennessee. I was a crappy writer. He was excellent. I was a die-hard liberal. He was a die-hard conservative.

That last one … yeah. That’s what made our relationship special and, all these years later, meaningful. Huggins loved Reagan and Bush. I hated Reagan and Bush. Huggins loathed Clinton. I loved Clinton. Because of these differences, we’d have it out all the time. When I say all the time, I mean alllllllllllllllllllll the time. “Pearlman,” he’d say upon greeting me, “Clinton sucks.”

“Bad news for you,” I’d reply. “Because he’s president.”

This was our thing for about 1 1/2 years, and I loved it. Why? Because I loved Huggins. He was a gentle man, and the words were always delivered with a smile. There was never anger or even hostility. We jabbered, talked smack, exchanged insults—all within the confines of what I felt was a genuine bond of friendship. Huggins felt like an uncle. Yeah, the type of uncle who you never agree with. But a beloved uncle nonetheless.

Anyhow, I left The Tennessean in 1996; left behind most of the friendships I’d made. I’ve probably spoken with Huggins twice over the past two decades, which didn’t dull the shock and sadness of reading a story in today’s Tennessean headlined LONGTIME SPORTS WRITER HUGGINS ENDURING CANCER TREATMENT.

The man was always feisty as hell, which leads me to believe he’ll somehow find a way to emerge stronger and more defiant than ever. I sure hope so.

I also hope Obamacare is helping him out.

It’ll lead to some tremendous shit talk.

2 thoughts on “Bun”

  1. Jen Goode Stevens

    I just called him Harold. So sorry to hear he’s ill. Will get in touch with folks to see if we can help.

  2. Harold is one of my dear friends and has been for nearly 30 years. Jeff described him perfectly. Conservative, great writer, kind soul. Jeff you did a great job. Say a prayer for Harold.

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