First, I must tell you a little about Hubby's upbringing.
He grew up in a small, Hee-Haw salute-population town in the panhandle of our great state. I mean small. Nearby "towns" barely qualify as towns, as they are no more than five houses, a bar, and an itty-bitty post office. (When we returned there for his dad's funeral, everyone who showed up at the funeral home to pay their respects during the calling hours knew who I was. I knew very few of them, by comparison.) Didn't get a McDonald's until 1994, and it's the smallest McDonald's I've ever seen. One traffic light...until sometime in the last year and a half, when it got another near the school. Moons ago there had been a blinking yellow light at that location, but it was gone by the time Hubby and I married in 1996. (We were surprised when we saw the new light when we arrived in town for Thanksgiving last year.)
The two closest NFL teams to this humble little borough are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns.
Hubby, like his older brother and his late father, is a Cleveland Browns fan. Despite their abysmal win/loss ratio, they are his team. If the Browns aren't playing, he's rooting for whoever is playing the Steelers, their chosen archnemesis. When the Browns moved to Baltimore briefly and became the Ravens, he rooted for whoever was playing against both the Steelers and the Ravens, unless the two teams were playing each other. Then he was a Ravens fan. He was nearly ecstatic when the Browns returned to Cleveland.
Shortly after our marriage, we were back visiting his family, and Hubby's sister Lou informed me that, as a Henley female, I was now obligated to be a Steelers fan. All Henley women are Steelers fans, just to needle the Henley men.
Where we live now is solidly Steelers and Penn State territory, which makes Hubby something of a sports outcast, since he's not only a Browns fan but also an OSU Buckeyes fan. Hubby taught the girls to say they didn't like Penn State because "Joe Pa's too old!" And he's been raising them to not be Steelers fans.
Now, I told you that to tell you this.
I got an email from Small Fry's teacher late this afternoon. She explained that Small had been increasingly distracted today, pestering other students, and—the biggie—another student had reported that Small had used a "bad language word" during center time.
I read this email about 15 minutes before Hubby needed to leave for tonight's worship team rehearsal. Good thing we only live five minutes from the church, and I pulled both him and Small Fry into the kitchen when it was ten minutes until practice time.
"I got an email from your teacher today," I said to Small, focusing on her, even though Hubby didn't know where this was going to be going. He's a smart guy. He'll catch up. "She said you weren't focusing and staying on task today. And she said another student said you said a bad word during center time."
Hubby chimed in. "What did you say?"
Small fidgeted. "It just slipped out."
Exactly what her teacher had said Small had said when asked about it. "What did you say?"
"The s word," Small mumbled.
"What s word?" I asked. Where in the world did she learn that word?
Small clammed up.
"You're not going to get in trouble," Hubby assured her. "But we need to know what you said."
Small looked back and forth between us.
"We need to know, honey," I said.
"I said stupid."
Okay, that's better than what I was fearing.
Hubby asked, "Did you call one of your classmates stupid?"
Small's ponytail swung as she shook her head no.
"Then what happened?"
Small related that center time conversation had been about sports.
Specifically, the Steelers.
Hubby and I looked at each other, understanding dawning.
"So I said 'The Steelers are stupid,'" Small concluded.
I clapped a hand over my mouth while Hubby's eyes widened to the point I thought his head would explode with the effort of keeping his laughter contained.
"Yes, you probably shouldn't have said that. And you probably should not use that word again." Hubby was somehow able to talk normally. "And you need to listen to your teacher and focus on what she tells you to do. But thank you for telling us." Hubby smiled at her. "You can go back to the den now."
Small beamed and skipped back.
We waited until we knew she was in the other room before we let ourselves laugh hysterically (and as quietly as possible).
Of all the things...
"This is your fault!" I whispered through giggles. "She's heard you say that!"
"I'm happy to take the blame for that one," Hubby giggled back. "Hoo hoo hoo! That's just..." He broke off to chortle some more. "You've definitely got to email her teacher back."
Hubby wiped his eyes and tried once again to contain his laughter. "I've gotta go. Oooo, gotta love second-grade bad words."