CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Most of us would feel pretty proud to pull off one nice holiday party - making sure the house was decorated, the food perfect and the mix of guests just right for a festive evening.
Multiply that by five, with a guest list topping 4,000. That's been the holiday season - so far - for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and first lady Joanne Tomblin.
On Sunday, artists who created ornaments for the tree in the mansion's grand foyer were invited for brunch. Then the Tomblins host other smaller groups and family members during the season.
Joanne Tomblin also schedules holiday parties at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, where she serves as president. Throw in other events, such as a trip to Tamarack to sign Christmas ornaments and their son Brent's graduation from Marshall University this past Sunday and it's clear the Tomblins have one busy month.
"I have two jobs, so my calendar is extensive," the first lady observed.
And just as they catch their breath, the Tomblins will get ready for the governor's inaugural ball Jan. 14. There already are meetings three times a week on that.
Fortunately, the Tomblins have an able and willing team to help pull off all those parties.
It also helps that they enjoy entertaining.
Guests invited to one of five holiday parties at the Governor's Mansion - the last was this past Saturday - were treated to a menu organized by Joanne Tomblin and mansion chef Nelson Bell that included two of the first lady's personal specialties, Caesar salad and broccoli casserole.
The first lady headed onto the dance floor last week for the Electric Slide (the governor does not do that one), and the couple danced along with guests from Southern West Virginia, who were enthusiastic dancers.