A secret link with Ruuuben

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2003

If you’ve been living on Mars and were unaware, Ruben Studdard is the new American Idol. Studdard, known as the Velvet Teddy Bear and the Round Mound of Sound, is from Birmingham.

He’s captured the nation’s attention with his recent victory on the reality television show &uot;American Idol.&uot;

Since his win over a fellow Southerner, Clay Aiken of North Carolina, Studdard has been everywhere, from &uot;Entertainment Tonight&uot; to the &uot;Today Show.&uot;

Ruben, who’s a large fellow with equally oversized dimples, wears shirts sporting the numbers &uot;205,&uot; the area code for much of central Alabama including Shelby County.

In Ruben’s words, he’s &uot;representin’.&uot;

From all those who know him, this sudden success couldn’t have come to a nicer guy and a better family. His mother looks so proud, she’s about the bust. And while everyone is suddenly going through Ruuuuben Mania, few people are aware of the secret link that Ruben and I share.

So I’m here to let the cat out of the bag and when you really look at all the connections, you, too, will be amazed.

Consider this:

Ruben is from Birmingham. So am I.

Ruben’s name has five letters in it. So does mine.

Ruben’s grandmother lives in an area known as Princeton Towers. My mother works at Baptist Medical Center Princeton.

Ruben’s area code is 205. My area code &045; for about 28 years of my life &045; was 205.

Ruben graduated from Huffman High School. I graduated from Huffman High School. (P.S. – to the announcer who said Ruben’s orange and green 205 shirt was in honor of the Miami Hurricanes &045; you’re wrong. Go Huffman Vikings!)

At Huffman, Ruben was a member of the concert choir. I, too, was a member of the concert choir.

Ruben’s vocal teacher at HHS was Allen Gillespie. My vocal teacher at HHS was Allen Gillespie.

Ruben has said when he comes back to Birmingham, he’d like to live in the Greystone community (where Michael Jordan lived while he played with the Barons.) I’d sure like to live there, too.

Ruben has an older brother. I have an older brother.

There are some differences, though. Ruben can sing. And he’s famous and he’s going to be really, really rich.

I can’t sing, am certainly not famous and unless shoes count as an investment, won’t qualify as really, really rich in this lifetime. So close, but oh, so far.

Leada DeVaney is the publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and the Madison County Record. She is the former managing editor for the Shelby County Reporter