...or maybe I should say as normal as they get here at Toad Hall. For those of you who had been here today - note the clean as new floor..& Jonathan calling around to see if he could find a home for the leftover soup...So when I said 'Not to worry about the floor to come in get warm and have some eats' it was with good reason. The paper runners (along with the blue/green reversable tarp) were a nice touch...Jonathan said all we needed was a camero and el camino(maybe on chocks) in the circular driveway to make the scene complete. BUT we had a blast...it could have REALLY rained and instead we just had a steady drizzle. It didn't seem to daunt the 180 or so people who were here making ~200 lighted Christmas balls. You brought food for us to eat (Thanks Justin and MIllie for heading up all that in the dining room) and you brought food for the food banks (more than last year) and $$ for the food banks...$418 total ( $285 for 2nd Harvest & $183 for Greensboro Urban Ministry) Kathy, Lee, and Beth did a 'souper' job of 'womaning' the stone soup and everyone had plenty to eat and we had 3 gallons leftover to take to Pathways/Potters House. We took some of the leftover rolls which Gardner contributed and the folks there seemed MOST appreciative. I will say that having the incredible host families to help was the greatest gift of all to Jonathan and me. From all the early birds who selflessly came and cut the 1/3 mile of chicken wire beforehand to Jane and Janet laying what must have seemed like a 1/4 mile of brown paper on the carpets with tape no less to the girls 'womaning' the light kit distribution and coming out with the right amount of $$ for the supplies used...thanks Dava, Marlene, Janet, Linda, Brenda, Susan, Lee, Cindy, and GOODNESS I hope I haven't missed anyone. The full compliment of tarp/tent installers: Gardner, Jeff, Drayton, John, Scott, Phil, Jamey, and Emmett just provided the shelter we needed - did I thank all of you for bringing the tailgating tents and the tables (Linda secured 6 from OLG - WOW picked them up delivered them and is taking them back - can I say WOW???? I DO THANK ALL OF YOU for that...we couldn't have pulled it off without those. The expert ball makers John, Marcia, Beth, Clay, Ali, Claire, Phil, Jamey,Daniel, Bethann, and Ferd were all here to teach everyone how to do it and even make a few for folks. We had lots of new neighbors, old neighbors, some folks who had called who didn't live in the neighborhood (5 from Winston Salem) and a couple of drop-ins who were just driving by and joined the fun. I saw several of you (Scott, Millie and Marlene for sure) taking many photos so when you send those over....I will post lots of them and as your creations grow in your yards/trees, send some photos of those over as well. Finally thanks for the fire barrels - and Gardner the music was over the top. Most of all and the most important part is that all of you made everyone feel welcome and you are just the greatest Hosts/Hostesses including all the kids - David, Graham, Liam, Rowan, Sabine(aka Sabine the soup girl), Scott, Izzy, Miles, Walter, and Marlee + I know there were others...shoot me their names and I will include them. All of you guys give a great party - thanks for being part of this wonderful day. Let there be LIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!