While packing and getting ready to go to the West Coast for the Thanksgiving weekend, it occurred to me that this is going to be an almost non-stop few days of eating. After all, we will have the traditional meal on Thursday and my uncle loves to go to the coast for a great seafood lunch at least once while we are there. Typically, depending on the season, we'd stop and get seafood to cook at home for the evening meal that day. And we always have to make a trip to our favorite breakfast hangout, known as Flapjacks, and another one to Gypsy Rose. We'll have to eat out at the golf course one evening and lunch is always an outing too.

Because of all that food, it will be critical to pack the antacids. That reminded me of a true story I had received awhile back from my friend in Detroit who is an unending source of entertaining, if not enlightening, articles. As she said, this just has to be shared; she added that she "couldn't stop laughing."

"Like everything in life, farts have a time and place. However, I never realized that in the wrong time and place, flatulence had enough power to alter my course in history. Well, it can if it's the third date with the man of your dreams. And if it makes his eyes burn. If God desired us to be together, I was one SBD ("Silent But Deadly") away from foiling God's plans. It was about five years ago. I was trying to lose a few pounds so I was staying away from the carbs. That's when I met my husband, Rob. On our first date, he booked the next two. He liked me. I liked him. Things were looking real good.

"He picked me up in a Cobra Mustang and his pathetic attempt to win me over with a car totally worked....We arrived at the restaurant and Rob was ordering food I hadn't allowed myself to eat in years. I didn't want to be 'that girl' so I ate, drank and, oh, was I merry. Later we shopped a bit. Rob surprised me by buying an expensive pair of shoes that he caught me eyeing. Was this love?

"That's when it happened. Gas strikes in two different ways -uncontrollable toots or sharp, shooting pains that feel a lot like dying. I thought I was dying. Not to make a scene, I told Rob I suddenly wasn't feeling well and probably needed to head home.

"On the way home in his Cobra, he tried to hold my hand and asked a lot of questions, but I wasn't having any of it. The pain was so bad it felt like I was being stabbed with a bunch of forks. Then I realized...My God, help me. I have a horrendous fart on deck. I'm in trouble. Big trouble. The more I held it in, the more pain would shoot through my stomach and down my legs. I was even having to raise myself off the seat, gripping on to my door and the dashboard. 'Seriously, you need to hurry. I'm in a lot of pain.' I managed to say through gritted teeth.

"'Wow, it's that bad? What's wrong? Do I need to take you to the hospital?' How do you tell a man you've just started dating that the reason you're writhing in pain is because you have to fart? Well you can either tell him, or like me, let the fart speak for itself.

"People, hear me. There was nothing I could do. As impressive as I am with sphincter control, this was out of my hands. Slowly, it eked out. The more I tried to stop it, the more it forced its way through the door. However, to my pleasant surprise, there was no sound. I sat silently, sweat accumulating above my upper lip. OK, maybe I got away with it. Maybe I'm home free. Then it hit me. Not an idea, a cloud. A horrific fart cloud. Not in an 'am I smelling something?' sort of way. More like an 'is someone dead and rotting in your trunk and am I in hell?' sort of way.

"Suddenly I panicked. 'Roll down the windows!' I screamed. (Yes, I literally screamed it like I was in a horror movie.) 'What? Why?' Rob asked, starting to freak out because I was freaking out. I yelled, 'I can't roll down the windows. UNLOCK IT!'

"'What's going on?' Rob yelled back to me. 'Why are you....' Then it hit him. I could see it in his eyes. Was it surprise? Horror? Water started to accumulate at the base of his eyelids. 'Oh, my God, I CAN TASTE IT!' he screamed. 'Roll down the windows!'

Then the toots started to flood out uncontrollably. I scratched and clawed at the window like I was being kidnapped. Rob, unable to see either by fart cloud or panic, kept turning on the windshield wipers instead of unlocking the window. It was chaos. We were acting like we were under siege by gunfire."

As is easily imagined, the story goes on. But it ends up well, because Rob was not daunted by a little-or a lot of-flatulence. They married and are living happily ever after.

My friend did not cite the source for this wonderful tale, as so often happens on the Internet, so I cannot give credit where credit is due. But it does put some things in perspective: I am going to be sure to keep plentiful antacids handy this weekend, and if the unthinkable does happen, it is good for a lot of laughs.