Nothing sets the tone for Thanksgiving Day like the scent of skunk assailing your nostrils as you step outside in the morning. Our dogs will never learn to stop messing with those black and white “country kittens.” But back in the house, the aroma of turkey and pies baking in the oven diminishes the unpleasant outdoor encounter.

Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks for all our blessings and travel long distances to grandma’s house to gorge on food the nutrition and diet know-it-alls believe are bad for us. To them, we say, “Go stuff your face!”

What but the anticipation of seeing family compels us to drive 15 hours with restless children or to fly and experience the joys of long airport check-in lines and the intimate frisking by those friendly TSA folks?

Of course, the mountain of food awaiting us at the end of our journey is the least important reason for our efforts. If you believe that, your low carb diet has scrambled your brain cells. Who can deny the pleasure of eating a meal you did not have to cook? All you have to do is show up and eat.

The time spent with family renews the spirit, adds inches to the waistline, and reminds us why we see some relatives only once a year.

It is not the day you fell off your diet wagon, but rather the re-enactment of the Roman orgies where people ate, threw up, and ate some more. And if you are adept at multitasking, you may even manage to squeeze in a bit of visiting between bites.

On this day, we set aside our problems. Be with loved ones. Revisit familiar annoyances and sometimes encounter new issues. For example, childless couples may be overwhelmed by nieces and nephews. The noise all those children generate will have them wishing children came with lip zippers. They may also seriously reconsider having children at all.

Some prying aunt or cousin will ask why you and Bubba are not procreating. The standard response of “We’re not ready to have children,” or “I want to get further in my career,” just prolongs the intrusive conversation. The short answer, “None of your business.”

With the COVID, there are fewer televised sports. Instead of arguing about one team’s merits over another, new topics of conversation or arguments appeared.

Some grandparents risk injury and, at times, months of pain and discomfort when they join the kids in various games such as touch football and push the envelope of endurance and common sense. Amazing the things people do in the name of love.

Following the face-stuffing, the family experienced the fellowship of “misery likes company.” If you bypassed the overeating syndrome, you still felt the need for a nap.

After the food-induced coma came the unrepentant nibbling or grazing of leftovers. Inevitably, there were family members who used this time as a re-enactment of the earlier feast.

This annual event often exhausts those who cook all the food for the munching horde. After wrestling with frozen bags of innards stuck inside the turkey in inappropriate places, cooking and baking for hours on end, these stalwart Thanksgiving Day warriors often lack the desire or energy to partake of the feast they prepared.

Hubby’s mother often said the time she spent cooking and baking killed her appetite. She would grab a piece of cornbread and a cup of coffee and watch with satisfaction as the fruits of her labors vanished into the expanding bellies of loved ones.

There is a price we pay for the Americanized version of a Roman orgy. All that food has established residence on our bellies, thighs, and behinds. But this can be a good thing. All that extra fat keeps folks in colder climates warm through the winter months. Another benefit of eating all that food, we can place exercise machines or spa memberships at the top of our Christmas lists.

Elizabeth “Liz” Cowan is a freelance writer and author. Check out her suspense novels on amazon.com. Website: www.elizabethcowan.com.