It was time, once again, for the annual Christmas play and my granddaughter was singing.

I glanced at the program and noted that it said, "Bows of Holly" and not "Boughs of Holly".

{Must be some kind of play on words}, I thought to myself, while also observing that a large banner ran from one end of the stage to the other across the back. This same elementary school stage where the Annual County Spelling Bee had taken place just two weeks earlier. BOWS OF HOLLY, declared the banner.

The Wickes Elementary School Christmas play was pretty well done but I kept waiting for the teaching moment when the faculty would reveal the reason for such a glaring typo.

The teaching moment never came. Slowly it dawned on me. None of the faculty, none of the administrators, none of the students and none of the other parents and grandparents knew or cared that "Boughs of Holly" had been misspelled.

On our way back home my stepdaughter, a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school, rode with us. I took a deep breath and said, "I have a bone to pick with you teachers".

"What's that?", she asked.

I laid out the whole tragedy in considerable detail. She asked, "How is 'bough' supposed to be spelled?"

I patiently explained that "bow" and "bough" present one of the trickier spelling conundrums in the English language and would have presented an excellent teaching opportunity.

I must have made quite an impression. When I brought the subject up a week later at dinner, she didn't remember the conversation.

Almost everyone to whom I have told the above story asks, "How is 'bough' supposed to be spelled?".

I've always explained it when asked. The more I see our language being butchered, I am tempted to reply, "It doesn't really matter, just spell it however you want".

Is that wrong?

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