That night I celebrated. I really did. I raised an imaginary glass to everyone who had fought so effectively and so brilliantly, and I toasted them. I stopped shouting, "Let me at 'em!" Then I cried. Not a sobbing outburst, but a few tears made their way up from the ducts in my eyes and rolled over the barricade of my lower lids to thread down my cheeks.
Mixed in with exhilaration was - what? - a little disgruntlement. A little more disbelief. A slight case of why doesn't someone come along to give us a medal, even a tiny medal? Why doesn't someone acknowledge that we've fought back the powers of would-be darkness? I expect poor old Gandalf, Aragorn, and the hobbits felt much the same when they arrived home from their journey. And everything inside them was changed, and everything around them was changed.
I'm talking about a bitty while ago when the CSF Bill that we, home educators, would pay heavily for was washed-up and swirled away after ALL THAT STUFF we did and said and wrote and read and felt and struggled for and protested against.
And now I feel... aged... betrayed... tired... colder... more determined NOT to let stuff like this keep happening.
If Lord Lucas is right, at some time in the - hopefully - distant future, like Dracula the same blood-drained arguments will arise from their washed-up coffin and, like the poor brutalised humans in True Blood, we'll be having our necks forcibly bared to accommodate the bureaucratic fangs again.
We will be advised to wear collars of invincible arguments; we will be polishing our children's fine minds faster than ever, including studs of law, politics and how to win an argument arguments in their customary neckware.
It may be sooner. It may be later. But it will come. Because people are just like that. Because orcs never quite die out. Because, although they don't mind freedom for themselves, a lot of bureaucrats and sinister movers and shakers in the power circle don't want it for other people, let alone other people's children.
It's a lot harder to fight evil that is unrecognised as vile.
It's a lot harder to fight the failings and leanings of society towards totalitarianism.
It's lovely when the fight is, for this moment, over.
But you still miss it. It has changed you. You can't go back. You reflect. You think on it. You recall when. You shiver at what if it had.
Be good if I could go down to the Grey Havens and potter aboard one of the ships with the white sails and set out for the West.
But life isn't like that, and there is subtle evil still to identify and counter.
"Let me at 'em!"