What is that smell?

It reeks of panic. And cinnamon.

Oh, yes. That is the scent of Thanksgiving wafting in the air.

Pretty soon, the day will be upon us. It is, as we know, a day to celebrate family. And that is a beautiful thing - the family gathered together from points near and far. But I think you'll agree that a holiday just isn't a holiday without a lot of tension in the house.

Hey, it's a joke. Who gets tense with their family at Thanksgiving?

Okay, then.

Personally, I think it is nothing more than a coincidence that Thanksgiving brings together a lot of family and a lot of drinking. Thanksgiving is the one day we gather to give thanks for our fam­ilies. And well we should, because we too rarely appreciate those precious moments past, such as those car trips as a kid when our sadistic siblings taunted and hit us until we screamed and our dad hollered, "Knock it off!" Or those indelible bonding moments when everybody teased you about your physical and emotional short­comings while you felt yourself turning into a puddle like the bad witch in The Wizard of Oz. Or the meaningful conversations when you opened up and were rewarded with psychological ravagings that left tire tracks on your psyche.

Ah, family. Ah, Thanksgiving.

Having everybody at the house means we'll have a chance to gather together and reminisce. We'll recall the occasion when, as a kid, I went down to the basement to fetch something from the freezer for my mother and I opened the freezer door to see in the shaft of light a severed baby's head with her eyes staring at me. My heart all but leapt from my chest and I nearly had a heart attack. Then I realized my brother had played a trick on me: That was a doll's head he put in the freezer. Good times, good times.