This afternoon I was watching an episode of "Keeping Up Appearances" on TV. In this episode, Hyacinth serves Elizabeth coffee in a toddler's "sippy cup," and gives Emmett a roll of tape, saying, "I'm sure you have the requisite Boy Scout qualifications to deal with this." (he is supposed to tape the lid to the cup.) Emmett salutes with a two-fingered salute (which in the U.S. is for Cub Scouts--Boy Scouts use a three-fingered salute) and says "Dibb, dibb," to which Hyacinth replies, "Dobb, Dobb."
So what's that all about? I've known a lot of Boy Scouts in my life, including my brother, my sons, cousins, friends, etc., and was actually a Cub Scout den mother for a couple of years, but have never heard those expressions in my life. Do they refer to some song or skit or story in the British Boy Scout tradition?
It's a call of the cub scouts. I was never one such but I seem to recall it is actually DYB DYB DYB and DOB DOB DOB. Standing for Do Your Best; Do Our Best.
Thanks, Richard. That makes sense. The Cubs had a byword of Do Your Best in the US too, just not the Do Our Best, and never the acronyms.
I've never heard of it, wordmatic, and I couldn't find much about it on Google.
Googling Richard's spelling (oh dear, there's Margaret again!) brings up a lot more ghits. Here
s a quote from a scout glossary page from Edinburgh:
This one says DYB DOB is basically obsolete.
Some of the pages refer to an opening or closing ceremony in which everybody shouted DYB, DYB, DYB, DOB, DOB, DOB. We never had that in the U.S. There was the reference to Kipling ("A Cub Scout Follows Akela,") but not the rest.
I was a Cub for a couple of years. I have a memory of us all standing round in a circle yelling, "DYB DYB DYB", "DOB DOB DOB", "We'll do our best". I think it was both an opening and closing ceremony at the pack meetings. As mentioned, the Cub salute used two fingers. but the "senior" scouts (over 11) used three fingers.
The three-fingered salute was supposed to remind a scout of the Scout Promise:
To do my duty to God and my country;
To help other people at all times;
To obey the Scout Law.
Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes)
I am speaking of half a cenutry ago...
I know the Scout Oath over here was either word-for-word the same or possibly only very slightly different. As a former Den Mother, (but it's been 23 years since) I can vaguely remember that the Cub promise was something like, "The Cub Scout follows Akela. The Cub helps the pack go. The pack helps the Cub Scout grow. The Cub Scout gives good will."
Robert Baden-Powell founded the scouting movement in 1908, though he says, "As a matter of fact I didn't actually start the Boy Scout Movement, because the blooming thing started itself unseen." He organized the program for the younger scouts around characters from The Jungle Book, by his friend, Rucyard Kipling. Here's an excerpt from the 1924 British Empire Jamboree:
That interview with BP was very interesting! My son and husband are Scouts and enjoy it all very much. I was a Girl Scout for many years while growing up, but have never heard all of this background. We learned about Juliette Gordon Low, though, which was interesting to us.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
Me too, CW--I was in Girl Scouts for a long time, and worked at Scout camps two of my four college summers. Of course, when fate dealt me boys and no girls as a mother, instead of getting to go camping with my kids, I had to settle for being a Den Mother (in those days--20+ years ago) the Boy Scouts were very sexist about what they'd let female leaders do. A woman in Connecticut sued them for that and they lost. My cubs were so rambunctious, I had no desire to go on with them through Webelos and into scouts as their leader, but did get conscripted to serve on the troop committee and ended up participating in a number of boards of review, where the troop committee quizzes scouts up for promotion in rank. That was very corporate and made me think, no wonder boys are so much better prepared for corporate games than girls: we never had to be grilled by some old codger who wanted things done his way--when we were 10 years old moving from Tenderfoot to second class!
I enjoyed the Baden Powell article also.