Juggling Fire

S-O-M-E-body is Sad Today

I just returned from the girls’ first competitive spelling bee. It was gut-wrenching.

Our poor little Justine, who has been reading and spelling on two levels higher than her age since she was born (ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but she is a smart little cookie), was the first to get the dreaded bell ding. And when I say she was the first to go, I don’t mean of my girls, I mean of the whole lot of 40 spellers.

My poor baby stood up confidently to that microphone, after hearing four other competitors spell words like “away” and “paper,” to hear the homonym “some” said over the loud speaker.

I could see her brain twirling: “Is it ‘sum’ or ‘some?’”

As the announcer read the definition, which I’m pretty sure came straight from the pages of the Oxford Second-Level Scholars edition (or something equivalent and real that I didn’t just make up), I was wondering the same thing: “Is it ‘sum’ or ‘some’”? I, the writer and English minor, was as befuddled as my little fourth-grader.

I urged her through my mental telepathy, “Ask the announcer to use it in a sentence! Ask for a sentence!”

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