commentary by Janet I. Martineau
It sounded like fun -- a spelling bee for adults.
Bee for Literacy, it’s called -- sponsored by Saginaw’s chapter of Altrusa International and benefitting the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
Besides, an organization I belong to -- Rotary Club of Saginaw -- is a co-sponsor and this year we even rustled up a competing team. Since I am always looking for something new to do, I bought a ticket.
What fun! There was a chance to act like a kid again -- blowing on noisemakers and twirling other contraptions that made a raucous noise, eating cookies and brownies, cheering on our team and (yes, sadly) booing when it was well...later. And then I got to take home the table prize, a singing rotating bee (it is driving my cats nuts), as well as a pencil with a honeycomb and bees all over it.
Yep, I’d forgotten how much fun it was to be a kid. We adults need to do this more often. And, apparently, me and my fellow Rotarians are good at it. Jan LeCureux, who judged the team spirit contest, declared the Rotarians “the loudest and most obnoxious.”
This Bee for Literacy took place Wednesday, May 4, at Horizons and pitted 12 teams consisting of three members each. From Covenant HealthCare, Garber Automotive, PRIDE in Saginaw, the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office, HealthPlus of Michigan, Wildfire, READ Association of Saginaw and the Public Libraries of Saginaw among them.
Speaking of the Public Libraries of Saginaw.....heee heeeee.....called The Bookends, they were the first team to incorrectly spell a word and get their three balloons popped (sort of like how they extinguish the torch on the “Survivor” TV show). LIBRARIANS!
Master of ceremonies Roderick J. Bieber suggested gifts of dictionaries be given to them at Christmas......he said he was just kidding, amid the groans. But he does have a point (and yes we are kidding too....librarians are good READERS, not SPELLERS). We won’t name the team members, to avoid them further embarrassment.
The Rotary team (called Drone and the Queens and consisting of Bill Priest, Catherine McMichael and Linda Rasdorf) was sailing through the rounds with ease until a word confounded them. I think it was enthalpy. I got so mad at what followed I forget.
They took too long to confer, and did not hear the verbal warning of 20 seconds left to answer, and Linda had said two or three letters of it, and ZAP. They were disqualified. Timed out. She asked to finish it anyway and got it right.
We at the Rotary table booed and hissed and even filed a complaint. We heard no verbal warning! Neither did our team. Unfortunately others did. We had a real-life judge sitting at our table. I wanted her to stand up and shout “out of order.” She didn’t. Besides, this is just a fun game, right???!!!
At the end, and nearly 100 words in all, it was down to a back and forth between Wildfire”s Bee Dazzlers and PRIDE’s The Buzzwords.....and the words were ones, some of them, I had never ever heard of before. PRIDE won. And one of its team members is like 82 years old, people.
The team spirit award went to the Covenant cheering table. And they were good. Very organized. With words shouted and chanted, often rhyming, always clever and funny. Just what the doctor ordered. I still like that we Rotarians were the “loudest and most obnoxious,” but then I was on a sugar high from the double dessert.
I liked it, too, that I was seated between fellow Rotarians Jim Mitchell and Bill Koepke. Mitchell, I am pretty sure, got all the words spelled right given to all the teams (we were doing own lists). He needs to be on the Rotary team next year. And Koepke, no dummy, pulled out his smartphone and produced the right spellings often before the teams. Ah, the power of Google. Maybe we can figure a way to link Google transmission feeds to our team next year!
As for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, it provides 12 books a year to selected children, from birth to age 5, with the hopes parents will read those books to their children. Each month a new book is mailed to the home.