I’m driving for Equinox one more time…

Your Thanksgiving tradition may involve dinner with family and friends, the kids fighting over who gets to pull the wishbone, your cousins fighting over whether the Dallas Cowboys will actually make the playoffs this year (they won’t), your niece wanting to know why there’s a big inflated Snoopy floating down a New York city street on the television, and how your uncle Fred will tell you his opinions of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez while he’s still gnawing on that side of turkey breast meat.

Yep, it’s the holiday season.

For all of you.

For me, there’s only one Thanksgiving tradition, and it’s one that I’ve kept as best as I could for the past decade.

On Thursday morning, I load up my car with prepared Thanksgiving meals, and chauffeur those meals to needy families as part of the Equinox Thanksgiving Day Community holiday tradition.

This is important to me.  It’s personal and it’s special.

My previous routine involved rising at 2:00 a.m. for a trip to the Empire State Plaza, the dispatch center where the Thanksgiving Day drivers would queue up – they would get addresses of families in need, they would then load their cars with turkey and stuffing and pie and cuplets of gravy – and then it’s off to deliver the holiday foods and holiday cheer.

Because I’ve been more than willing to drive to the far-off addresses – my past Thanksgiving day courierings have included New Lebanon, Voorheesville, Corinth, Cropseyville and Nassau (not in the same year, ha ha), I was put on a list of “long distance drivers,” those who would be willing to travel to the hill towns or to the boonies.  Instead of a queue at the Empire State Plaza, we actually drive to a separate location and our cars are filled to capacity and off we go.

Last year, that trip included several stops in the Schoharie Valley.  This year … it could be the deeper parts of Rensselaer County, or maybe the Catskills or Helderbergs …

It doesn’t matter.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m doing something important. It’s called Thanksgiving, and I’m giving thanks for the ability to help others in this time of year.

Oh yeah, and there’s some personal rules when I drive for Equinox.  These aren’t Equinox’s rules, they’re mine.

The car I drive must be cleaned of all dirt, trash and other unessential crap.  I’m hauling holiday meals, not leftover chewing gum wrappers and diet cola cans.

The car must have a full tank of gasoline.  Full to the brim.  You don’t know if service stations are open on the holidays.  They might be, but do you want to take a chance on this?

From the first mile on the journey until the  last meal is distributed, the car radio must play Christmas music.  Thankfully, my SiriusXM car stereo in Dracourage has several holiday channels right now, and I usually go with their “Holly” holiday channel.  Oh, and singing along is required.  Do your best nasally Alvin the Chipmunk voice.  “Christmas, Christmas, time is here…” (you’re welcome)

This is a time for joy and a time for family.  And for me … it’s a time to give back.

This is how I operate.

And I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving and are able to enjoy it with family and friends and loved ones.