I got to do something Monday night that I've wanted to do for a long time: Hand out candy on Halloween.
I'm not sure why, but I've always been busy on Halloween night. Some years, I covered carnivals. Other years, I spent time babysitting.
Last year, Miriam and I intentionally avoided the evening - mainly because our house still looked like a bomb had exploded inside - and went out on a date in Augusta. But I spent the night complaining, and Miriam promised we'd do Halloween right this year.
So, after three hours of shopping and a two-foot-long Wal-Mart receipt, we were armed with candy, cupcakes, punch and other snacks.
By Monday afternoon, we had everything in place except for a few final touches. For example, I tuned in a station playing nothing by horror movie clips and music on XM Radio and hid the radio in the bushes, just to add to the ambiance.
And we had a ball from there. It was great to see the costumes - from princesses to Harry Potter to Woody and Buzz Lightyear to several Scream masks. And then there were the kids - and some folks who hadn't been kids in years - who wore street clothes and still collected bags of candy. I asked one kid in blue jeans and a sweatshirt what he was dressed up as. "A thug," he said as he looked down at me. "Yes, sir," I said, as I handed him an extra lollypop or two.
At some point, Jeanne Lewis brought her daughters over and I spent part of the time showing Hannah and Avery - and various other children that were passing through the house - our two Nemos and assorted other fish in the aquarium. (They also took turns helping pass out candy as kids walked up on the front porch.)
When all was said and done, we still had a couple of bags of candy left - including bits and pieces we found scattered all over the house thanks to Hannah and Avery. Of course, extra candy isn't really a problem around the Smith household. It's getting cold and I need to add a little more insulation anyway.
I'm looking forward to the Belle Meade Hunt this weekend. It's one of my favorite events, and not just because of the wonderful photo opportunities. The Hunt is one of those events that gives McDuffie County its wonderful local flavor. The scenery is great, the camaraderie is even better - and, more than anything, it's just plain fun.
The Wilson family, Charlie Lewis and all the other folks that do so much to make the Hunt part of McDuffie County's landscape deserve a huge thanks from all of us.