By 9:30 Saturday night, it was all over.
The folks had gone. The driveway was empty. The jugs of egg nog - leaded and unleaded - were dry.
The 2007 Tour of Homes was a resounding success, with car loads of folks traipsing across McDuffie County to gander at a variety of homes - from the eclectic to the elegant, from modern sophistication to historic simplicity.
At the Smith house, it was nice to see some familiar faces, like Mary Edna Dudley, Frank Powell - who somehow managed to pull a banister off my bed, and others.
So, other than keeping Frank Powell out of my bedroom, there are a few other things I learned during the tour:
• Apparently, there are a lot of naughty folks in Thomson. Why else would the Santa Claus stationed outside my house tell so many of them that they could expect coal for Christmas?
• There are a lot of folks who read this column each week, but really don't want to ever see their name in this space. I had to promise Liza Marler she wouldn't show up here this week. Oops.
• Others just wanted to meet my wife. I think they wanted to make sure she was real and not convenient column filler. And then they wanted to know how she put up with me. I still haven't found an answer to that question.
• No matter how much work went into getting the house ready, it was worth it when the first person from the tour stepped inside. And it was even more worth it when the last person left.
• When Miriam gives a decorating direction, I should take it. I "forgot" to take out the tab that activates the singing floor mats at our front and side doors. Miriam remembered it just after the last group left, so I've had to deal with Christmas carols every time I walk in or out of the house. Trust me, if you were on the tour, silence really was golden.
But seriously, to everyone that organized, drove and participated in the tour of homes, you deserve a huge pat on the back. I was honored to be a part of such an outstanding event. I also owe a debt of gratitude to the folks who helped out around the house during the tour - Vicki Ussery, Misty Gleason, Angela Medina from Star Aquatics, Jetta and Judy from Cornerstone Bakery, Granny and Pete.
And while I'm handing out gratitude, I'd like to thank everyone involved with the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce. I'll be coming off the board of directors in January, and it is something I'll dearly miss. I am extremely proud of the things the Chamber has accomplished in recent years, and I know it will only continue to grow. However, the group's success is contingent on an active membership, and I hope that more folks will take the opportunity to serve their community through the chamber.