Out to K’s garden, clip fresh sage and rosemary, pull celery. Chop finely, sauté with onions and butter, now the house smells good. (Mom joking, paraphrasing Gram “if dinner is late, fry up a few onions, it’ll keep them guessing”).

Tear stale bread, saved up in the freezer. (Poor chickens, deprived of their favourite). Rinse the bird, stuff and truss, settle in the roaster, add a bit of water to compensate for left oven’s hot bottom, calculate timing, turn on oven, remove extra rack. (Ha! I remembered before it got hot!)

Peel potatoes, parsnips, carrots, yams and garlic. Chop into thumb-sized pieces. (All but the yams our own, so cool). Rinse Brussels sprouts (Ah Brussels, you were lovely) and mushrooms. Rinse cranberries, add water and sugar, set to boil. (Sure miss you Stuart, and your Arthur Awards, and all those Thanksgiving meal preps you kept me company. Shelagh Rogers will have to fill your air this year).

Dress rehearse the pots I will use, make sure they will all fit into right oven, and happy I thought of this while they were still empty and oven cold. (Batting two for two.)

Pull pies out, pumpkin and lemon meringue this year ( ❤️ C texting me to say she is bringing blackberry apple pie, perfect, the next generation stepping up, and we needed a fruit).

Choose serving dishes and wash the dust from them, get the family silver box out. (Savour that generational thing again).

Count heads, will we use both leaves? Yep, a nice easy nine this year, for still jet-lagged me. Dig out the autumn shaded table linens. And S’s centrepiece.

There! All done for now, the rest is for later, when the house is full of tall young people, and a few oldsters too, visiting and laughing, lending a hand.

Make a cup of tea, sit down in my chair, content, and thankful for ordinary.

So, so thankful for ordinary.