I love Thanksgiving! I love gathering with family and consuming traditional Thanksgiving foods like creamed onions and pecan pie and cornbread stuffing. These days, I trade off hosting Thanksgiving dinner with my sister. So, one of us spends hours in the kitchen while the other sits for hours in traffic. This year, it’s my turn to sit in traffic in one of the top five bottlenecks in the country according to the national news.

One year – before we were “grown up” enough to host our own Thanksgiving – we drove through that same bottleneck (LA freeways) with my sister and her husband to our aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. By the time we got past all that traffic, it was 2 p.m. We were all HANGRY!!! The last meal to pass our lips was breakfast. No one remembered when our aunt planned to serve dinner. We knew we couldn’t wait four or five hours to eat.

And seriously…what’s the first rule of good guests? You never show up hungry (unless of course it’s Thanksgiving, but we were too hangry to think straight and too young to host our own Thanksgiving dinner).

So what did we do?

We were thankful to find an open diner where we loaded up on big ole burgers and fries. Yummy! Feeling satisfied and happy, we drove the final twenty minutes to our destination. Our aunt greeted us at the door. “I’m so happy you’re here! We’ve all been waiting for you!”

She disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a gorgeous ceramic tureen brimming with corn chowder. Let the Thanksgiving feast begin!! I accepted the teeniest of servings – “one ladleful please!” My stomach protested. Then, we stood in line at the food-laden buffet. To be polite, I placed a small bite of everything on my plate. When I was done, my plate looked very much like those servings you get at a fancy restaurant these days: a beautiful mouthful of something in the middle of a vast acreage of china!

I was so disappointed I could only savor small bites of my favorite foods; foods that only come around at Thanksgiving.

I learned my lesson all those years ago. So this year, while we sit in traffic, I’ll sip water and nibble on a bar – just enough to stave off my hanger.

“Over the freeway and through the traffic to my sister’s house we’ll go! My husband knows the way to apply the brakes through the stop and go flow!”