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February 26, 2008

Travels with Uncle Chet: Obama is worth big spending

On Sunday, I decided to reload the shed with enough firewood to carry us into spring.

It wasn't an emergency; the logs stacked along the rear wall would have lasted another week. But the day was sunny, and a little voice told me to get it done.

I moved the dry, checked logs from the back of the building to the sides and front, where we could pick them first. Then I started wheeling loads of ash and maple from the yard to the shed.

I parked the wheelbarrow by the door, went inside, and Buddy, our sturdy first grader, was waiting for me.

``Mom said to help,'' he reported.

``Thanks. I'll give you $2 an hour.''

``Is that good?'' he asked.

``More than I'm getting.''

We worked steadily, and the shed began to fill. The stove burns half a wheelbarrow load a day, I figured. Fifteen loads, 30 days of heat. Sixteen loads, 32 days. Seventeen loads ...

``How much allowance did you get when you were my age?'' Buddy asked.

``A quarter,'' I said, and watched him think about this while we finished up. ``Of course that's back when a quarter would buy five candy bars.''

``How much will it buy now?'' he asked.

``About one bite, ' I said, and we looked out the doorway, because a vehicle was slowing down on the dirt road.

``It's Uncle Chet and Alice!'' said Buddy at the sight of the silver pickup truck.

``Must be lunchtime,'' I said, and we threw the last few logs onto the pile.

Soon we followed our guests into the kitchen, where the aromas of fresh bread and roast chicken mingled. At the table, Uncle Chet wore a new black ballcap, and when he turned it my way I saw the white ``Obama'' insignia.

``You've foresaken the Jets,'' I noted. ``Hi, Alice.''

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