I wasn’t sure which was more humorous, the fact that the boy who was to spell “WALK” in the first round tripped on his way up to the mic to spell it, or that the girl who had the word “QUICKLY” took the longest pause of the evening to think carefully about its spelling. Maybe it was the fact that it was so silent you could hear my stomach gurgling and I felt like a school kid again since I wasn’t allowed to laugh, so of course I just wanted to. (I just spelled “allowed” as “aloud”. Thank goodness for edit icons.) My husband reminded me that his favorite “spell” of the night was our friends’ very tall son, who loomed head and shoulders above the other contestants and was given the test-round word “man”. He leaned over the mic and with great care and spoke loudly, in a great deep voice “MAN. M-A-N. MAN”. The bellowing sound grabbed a few extra giggles from the audience.
LB was an alternate who was able to participate in the city spelling bee. It was actually a very exciting process, and even busy Daddy-O who joined the audience that night, got into the fact that he could spell almost all the words until the brutal elimination round in which most adults present hadn’t even heard three of the words before. The saddest moment was the confident student who quickly busted out her spelling of “celebration” with an S, and knew she was done in the first 10 minutes of the bee (rule: no back-tracking and changing letters you already said).
The word that knocked LB out was “straightforward” (mispelled “straiteforward”) which we think has to set a record of some kind because the first syllable alone has eight letters. LB told me in the car later that his brain went to “straight” to the polar “straits” (Gee…would 40 inches of snow in two weeks have anything to do with that? This was the third time the bee had to be reschedule due to winter dumpings.) There were some really amazing little souls pouring their hearts and minds into spelling that night. The pressure was on, and most of us agreed that the stress would have determined our demise. But if you ask Cirque, the best part of the whole night was the punch and cookies. If you ask me, it was the fact that the bee was hosted at a Christian school and the night was opened with prayer entrusting all present to Jesus. What a witness! An honorable mention for the event was Daddy-O answering the spell of “anemone” whispering in my ear “N-E-M-O”.