Opinion – 5/9/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 9, 2006

The Panolian: OPINIONS – Rita Howell

From the 5/9/06 issue of The Panolian                

Don’t incur wrath of Bubba’s sisters

Oops. I knew it would happen. In a column I wrote last week I flippantly referred to the nameless beer drinker who litters my road as "Bubba."

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Now I’ve gone and offended all the upstanding, law-abiding, sincere, considerate, university-degreed Bubbas out there. And all their sisters.

I’m sorry.

Bubba is a noble name and one shared by a number of my favorite people.

It’s just that it is so common Down South, and it served my purpose to personify the ubiquitous drinker-litterer against whom I was ranting last week.

I remember reading a newspaper piece a number of years ago in reference to research on the topic of naming young southern men "Bubba."

The article was written by Yankees who could not figure out where the name came from.

We know, don’t we?

"Bubba" is a young child’s variation on the word "brother." So it’s a moniker given to the older brother by the younger sibling, or vice versa.

In my own family there were only two girls, but among my in-laws there have been several Bubbas. Most of them have grown up to prefer to be called by their given names, but every once-in-a-while, somebody slips.
We have a number of friends who have proudly stuck by the name.

Dr. Ed Stewart once admitted to me that he is known in some circles as "Dr. Bubba."

Bubba Waldrup was elected by his peers in Panola County to represent them in county government.

Whitten Brame of Batesville sold clothing for years in the finest men’s store in Memphis. Now he’s studying at the University of Mississippi. He’s always gone by "Bubba."

Oddly, the name is not limited to males.

Mark Larson’s late grandmother was known as "Bubba" and was a well-respected lady of Water Valley.
The Bubba trend shows no signs of letting up.

Rupert and I were eating in a restaurant not long ago and couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between a teenage boy and girl at the next table. They were comparing the lists of friends in their cellular phonebooks.

The names were in alphabetical order, of course. As the boy scrolled down his list, he called out the names: Allen, Amy, Andy, Becky, Bob, Bubba, Bubba, Bubba, Bubba, Bubba, Bubba…

That’s just how it is here.


Rita Howell can be reached rita@panolian.com or by writing to P. O. Box 1616, Batesville, MS 38696.


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