Yesterday I went to the school to watch Sydney in the spelling bee. It was a full circle moment watching her compete because – don’t be jealous – I hold the title of 1983 Walker County Spelling Bee Queen of the World. The Queen of the World may be a little exaggerated but I’ve never won any other individual competition in my life and so I hold to my one glory tightly and like to relive it in my mind when I’m feeling unfabulous. Which is more often than I care to admit.
I will never forget the feeling of winning the County competition and my elementary principle going on and on about how proud he was of me. This came in handy for me later when I threw a rock at a mean boy who kept hitting me with his umbrella while we were walking home from school one day. He took off running after he’d whacked me on the legs and I picked up a rock and threw it as hard as I could not ever believing it would actually hit him. Not only did it hit him, it stuck in his head. I didn’t realize how bad it was. All I knew is that he stinkin’ deserved it and I was glad he was crying. (Who was the mean one?) I ran home and never breathed a word about it to my parents. The next day the boy’s twelve foot tall daddy showed up in my classroom door and yelled at the teacher, “WHO THREW THE ROCK THAT HIT MY BOY??!!” I peed my pants. Like really, I did. And then I had to take the long walk of shame to the principal’s office trying to hide my dampness while my dad assured the stupid mean boy’s dad that he would pay for the stitches. The only thing that saved my reputation with the principal that day was that I was Spelling Bee Queen of the World. He comforted me, said he was sure I was only defending myself and so I shouldn’t worry about it any more. Can you spell r-e-l-i-e-f?
Unfortunately, Sydney misspelled the word “talons” (poor baby) and didn’t win today so at least for this year the legacy will not live on. More importantly, I really hope she doesn’t cause harm to anyone in the near future but just in case her principal is our church choir director so maybe she’ll find some favor without a prestigious title.
When I went on to the state spelling bee I ended up getting out on the word ‘lasagna’. Totally missed the ‘g’. Who knew? If the mini-conversation we had on my Facebook is any indication, Syd and I aren’t the only ones scarred for life. It seems like everyone is traumatized by the word they missed in their Bee’s.