The aroma was killing us.

It was Thanksgiving morning.

Over the past several years, that would have meant we were in Boston to visit two of our daughters and all of our grandchildren. Thanksgiving morning would have found us navigating “The T” on our way to Maggie’s place in Watertown or waiting for a ride to Emily’s place in Waltham.

But this year — for a wide variety of reasons — was different. For one thing, there’s another grandchild on the way, this one in Bloomington, and that translated into a trip to daughter Sally.

Based on the weather forecast, it looked like a smart decision. Boston was dealing with yet another rough winter storm, while temperatures in southern Indiana were climbing back into the 50s for the weekend.

So Thanksgiving morning found us by ourselves at home in Jay County for a change.

And that provided us with an opportunity.

We’d talked for years about taking part in the annual community Thanksgiving dinner, but family gatherings had always taken precedence. This year, it was the perfect fit.

And to make the most of it, we decided to volunteer to help deliver Thanksgiving meals to the home-bound on the holiday. After all, I’d written something like my umpteenth Thanksgiving editorial about the meaning of the day. It was time to match my words with deeds.

We arrived at Asbury United Methodist Church just before 10:30 a.m. and were amazed by the operation in progress. Dozens of turkeys had been cooked. The kitchen was bustling with the second shift of volunteers; the first shift had already been at work much earlier.

The whole thing was moving with a degree of precision that would impress any engineer or military field commander.

Scores of hot meals had already been assembled and packed in little boxes covered with aluminum foil. Scores of bags of desserts, including pumpkin pie, had been put together. And a precise number of bags of sweet treats that would meet the requirements of diabetics had been assembled as well.

None of this should have been a surprise. After all, the folks who put this thing together have been doing it for 28 years. And yet, the sheer scope was jaw-dropping.

Here were hundreds of Jay County residents pitching in, giving their time, their labor, and their treasure to provide a Thanksgiving meal for hundreds more of their neighbors. The warm glow wasn’t just coming from the kitchen; it emanated from the event itself.

Reporting in, we were given about eight slips of paper with names, addresses, and the exact number of hot meals, cold food sacks, and/or diabetic- appropriate sacks of food to deliver.

College-age young people, home for the holiday, sorted out the count, double-checked it, then sent us off to my wife’s CRV with several boxes of food.

And it was after we closed the doors and set out from the parking lot that the problem arose.

The incredible, intoxicating, desirable, delicious, hypnotic aroma of those turkey dinners filled the car. It was as if every Thanksgiving we’d ever known had been distilled into a single perfume.

At first, we did our best to ignore it. But after about the third delivery, we both had to admit we were hungry.

And by the time we wrapped up our deliveries, we were just short of drooling.

To our credit, even though the count was off and we had a couple of extra meals left over, we took those back to Asbury rather than digging into them by the side of the road.

Instead, we waited. And the wait was worth it.

A couple hours later, we went back to the church for the community dinner.

There, we added old acquaintances to the sweet aroma of well-cooked turkey: Terry and Rosetta Sosbe, my old buddy Louis Johnson from Jay-Randolph, ’66 classmate Doug Lewis, and maybe a couple of dozen more.

Add it all up, and it was a perfect way to celebrate the holiday.

Next year, we may be back in Boston or we may be hosting the Bloomington contingent at our house.

But we’ll always treasure this particular Thanksgiving, all those volunteers, and — of course — that overwhelming aroma of perfectly cooked turkey.