Opinion

Charles: Let the chewing continue

So, have those waistbands started feeling a little snug yet?

No? Well, good.

Congratulations on completing the first leg of the longest marathon of the year.

We’re talking of course about the longest season, which had its first stop here last week, but will continue throughout this year, and well into the next.

You know what it is, and you’ve participated in it, even if you’ve never actually named it.

Of course it’s the Eating Season.

Now we all know it begins in earnest with Halloween, although some of us actually started “pregaming” (and everyone under 40 knows exactly what that means) somewhere around September, when the first pre-Halloween candy goes on the shelves newly cleared out from those pesky school supplies.

And so the eating begins.

Now All Hallows Eve is just the first leg of our journey. Hang tight, the best is yet to come.

Because Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many of us, because it’s all eating, no pretense of presents involved.

Sure, sure, we’re gathering together friends and family, with all the stress and drama that entails. But whether you are planning on a time with loved ones, hated ones, or the ones you grit your teeth and just endure, let’s be real. It really is all about the food. And, if some gatherings are as contentious as the ones following the 2016 election, you may also be treated to dinner and a show.

So, my fellow marathoners, start getting rid of that Halloween graft now, the next leg is coming up fast.

And of course, following Thanksgiving, before we can fully relax in our stretchy pants, we have to prepare. It’s not just Christmas Day, which is food with credit card debt. ‘Tis the season for all the parties and sweets one can pack into a month of good cheer.

There are office parties, family parties, church parties, free samples, cookies, cakes, pies, fudge, and drinks, everywhere you look. Don’t forget about the bake sales accompanying all the holiday fairs. And it would just be rude to say no. We’re nothing if not polite during this most sacred season. (Burp), excuse me.

And of course we’re welcoming in the New Year with a party or three. Bring out the bubbly, the eggnog, and the party platters. And yes, right around this time we’re thanking the heavens above for the invention of elastic waistbands and spandex.

Following the New Year comes the short breather of the season of regret. That’s when we finally take a minute, resolve to lose those few (?) extra pounds that have mysteriously packed on, and again, give thanks that the whirlwind foodfest is finally over.

Not so fast.

For one thing, that New Year’s resolution may only last about a week (if it’s longer than a month, you’re a superhero). Because it’s also football playoff time. And it doesn’t really matter if you’re a football fan, if you don’t know a touchdown from a touchback, Heartbreak Hill is on the horizon.

The Super Bowl is coming up.

And guess what they serve at all Super Bowl gatherings? Food! Sandwiches a mile and a half long, the world’s greatest ribs, chicken wings, chili, quesadillas, tacos, finger foods you’ve never heard of, but of course it wouldn’t be polite to say no, and for many football fans, drinks galore. You party when you win, you party when you lose. But the four-letter word for party is actually — food.

Now somewhere around the middle of February, you’ve told your beloved how much in love you are with lots of chocolate, or drowned your sorrows over not having a beloved with, again, lots of chocolate. And when it’s too cold to go out for that daily walk you promised you would do, oh, somewhere around Jan. 1, you’re noticing your fat clothes have been shrinking, most likely from the washer or dryer — or the closet.

You may have decided — oh let’s face it — deluded yourself that packing on the pounds is Mother Nature’s way from way back in the Stone Age. We say it happens naturally so we can get through the tough winter. These pounds will fall off just as quickly in the spring when we get out and move, and walk, and run, and bike, right?

Except.

We haven’t gotten quite close enough to the finish line yet. It’s a marathon and the only sprinting we’ve been doing since October is to the buffet tables.

And don’t forget to hydrate, somewhere around the middle of March, after more than our fair share of corned beef and cabbage. And we all know, for some, that special hydration is the thing that keeps us moving along.

Now if you’re religious, you may take a short break from the incessant chewing for Lent. That means you get to deny yourself something for 40 days (some of us are allowed to take the weekends off from that countdown and we take advantage), and yes, you are in the homestretch.

But Holy Chocolate Bunnies, Batman!

Suddenly, you’ve reached the last leg, you’re crossing the finish line in front of the Boston Public Library, and there’s cheering everywhere. Of course, the cheers are for Easter Sunday dinner and you’re back at the table with delicious lamb, ham, roast, deviled eggs, and all other Easter treats (and let’s not forget all the goodies in the Easter baskets).

You sigh, sidle up to the table, wearing your newest stretchy pants outfit in bright spring colors, and unhinge the jaws one last time.

This has been a good run. And we know that now will be the time for those actual runs.

Because the next week, they’re going to start advertising summer clothes, bathing suit season, and how to get back that beach body.

Sob.

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