Sidetracked by words, definitions and bees

June 02, 2011|Lisa Prejean

Have you ever been so excited about an opportunity that you forgot to do something very important?

Earlier this week, I was checking my to-do list for our school's field trip to the National Spelling Bee. We had been invited to bring students to the bee to cheer on their classmate, Tyler Reese, in the competition.

All the permission slips were in. The students had been given details about departure, dress code and lunch.

We had been told that the restaurants around the hotel were quite pricey, so we decided to pack our lunches.

Tyler's mom emailed a list of words that were on the written test in round one, so I wanted to take those along. Why not? The students could look at the list on the way to Washington, D.C., to get their minds in gear for the bee.

Of course, I wanted to look at the words, too, so that I could bring them to my "remembrance" — which just happened to be one of the words on the written test.

At first glance, remembrance appears to be an easy word to spell, but some spellers may confuse the -ance ending with an -ence ending. One vowel can make a difference.

With the word list tucked safely away, I turned my attention to other matters, such as how to get to the bee.

The directions were printed and placed in my school bag.

I wanted to know where I was going and didn't want to end up with a "vitelline" face. (vitelline — having to do with egg yolks) While I like eggs, they just weren't in my plans for Wednesday morning.

Oh. That's when it hit me.

We were planning to travel on a Wednesday morning. It was the night before, Tuesday night, the night I write my column. I quickly jumped up and shook the cobwebs out of my mind.

A very warm "calenture" seemed to form across my body. (calenture — any fever caused by exposure to great heat)

I had not even given my column one thought. How could I forget something that I do every week? Perhaps it was the Memorial Day holiday. It was hard to think of Tuesday as Tuesday.

Yes, that was it. Might as well get down to work. No sense acting like a "bonobo." (bonobo — a small long-limbed chimpanzee)

Within no time, a column started to form. Thank goodness it came together so I would not fall apart the next day.

I didn't want to be a "drowsy" driver, so I wanted to go to bed early. (drowsy — sleepy or half asleep. This was an easy one, except for the speller who might confuse the "ow" sound with an "ou" sound, like that in "foul.")

If only I had thought of this earlier, my "unswerving" devotion to work would not have been tested.

 Hmmm ... at least I eventually remembered.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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