The “Senior Spelling Bee”. Nope that’s not seniors in high school but real life, honest to G-d, senior citizens (or at least those aged 50+). It seems that shuffle board, canasta, and arts and crafts aren’t enough to keep our elderly friends busy these days. The folks at the Association for the Advancement of Retired People, better known as AARP, has rounded up the country’s best (and oldest) spellers and bussed them up to Cheyenne, Wyoming (where it’s always an early bird special) to battle it out denture to denture until a winner can be declared.
Your champion speller (or at least the guy who stayed awake the longest) is a local to the Nations Capitol, Michael Petrina Jr., 64, of Arlington, Virginia. According to the AARP press release, “ Petrina won the championship by correctly spelling “woad” and out-spelled 45 other spellers from more than 25 states who competed in the record-breaking Bee that lasted 46 rounds.” (30 of which were the final rounds between Petrina and second place finisher Scott Firebaugh, 55, of Knoxville, Tennessee.)
Well done Mr. Petrina, you’ve earned $500, a trip to New York (to appear on TV) and a life time supply of sugar packets from Denny’s.
Let’s hear it for our senior spellers....(insert applause here)...wait what were we talking about?
Seriously though, I think that all the contestants should be congratulated. Winning a spelling bee at any age is a tremendous accomplishment and I should know. I have personal experience in the heartbreak of not winning one, when I was in the fourth grade, I was eliminated early on (in the first) round with a misspelling of our. Go figure! (for the record I spelled it h-o-u-r).
And while this is a great accomplishment perhaps the seniors can next flex their mind muscles by doing other things, for example, they could come in and tidy up my office desk, or maybe the can visit Al Rava over there in San Diego and deliver a little message for me, or even better, they could take the dog out for a walk. This is senior living at it’s best folks. You either love it or you live it.