NORWICH _ ``I'm not ready to close Guantanamo,'' said Uncle Chet as we turned at the light in New Berlin, heading toward Norwich.
``A year ago you were screaming about it,'' I said.
``True, but lately I've been thinking it might be fun to hang onto it.''
``You've got to be kidding,'' I said. ``It's a public relations nightmare: America's concentration camp!''
``That's because of who's in there,'' he said.
``A bunch of Arabs,'' I said.
``And they're not guilty or they would have been tried,'' he said, and shifted into four-wheel drive. The hill was icy and we were climbing slowly, gliding past Mill Brook Pond.
``Doesn't look like they plowed here,'' I noted.
``We're in no hurry; we don't have to be there till nine.'' He took a sip of coffee. I sipped too, contemplating the icy view and our mission, helping a buddy move into an apartment at the end of his marriage.
``I was just thinking that before we close Guantanamo, we ought to round up the Bush Administration, hold em on suspicion of treason,'' said Uncle Chet.
``Bush is going to pardon anyone at risk,'' I said.
``True,'' he said, ``but those pardons won't have any weight outside the United States; will they?''
``So if we keep Guantanamo and put the right people in there, we can use it as a civics lesson.''
``Or start a civil war,'' I said as we curved round the pig farm.
``We could open it up to the media, waterboard Rumsfeld right on TV. Probably lead to a lively discussion about the pros and cons of torture.''
``People would watch it,'' I acknowledged.
``And set the Dobermans on Cheney,'' he said. ``Just for a minute, of course, just so he understands to be the prey, for a change.''
``Now you're being dangerous.''
``As for W., I see they're already throwing boots at him.''
``One man expressing what billions think.''
``And toss in the Illinois governor, too,'' he said. ``Don't let him sleep for a month, then put him on trial, see what he confesses to.''
``You're reaching out for bipartisan support,'' I noted. ``You may be on to something.'' ``Then after a year or so, we could fine everyone their net worth, deport em and return Guantanamo Bay to the Cubans.''
``Do they still want it back?''
``Of course they want it back,'' he said. ``Won't we want the Chesapeake back after the Chinese take it?''
``Let's not pick on the Chinese again.''
``I'm not,'' he said. ``Just using them as an example of someone big and strong.''
`` I hear their economy is as bad as ours, now,'' I said.
``Not as bad. They've been stockpiling dollars, while we've been run like Arbusto Oil for eight years.''
``Into the ground,'' I said as we stopped at the main road.
``Bush has done to the United States what Reagan did to the Soviet Union,'' Uncle Chet said, and turned right. ``He's bled us with a war we can't win and a debt we can't repay. He's made Uncle Sam into an angry pipsqueak.''
``So where is this place?'' I asked, surveying the fine old homes in the area.
``Over there, where those trucks are.'' He pointed to the driveway beside a large Queen Anne, where four men were setting a couch onto a pickup bed.
``Wow, this place is huge,'' I said as we pulled up front, joining the armada.
``I think that was part of the problem,'' he said. ``From here, he's going to a one-bedroom apartment.''
``Downsizing.,'' I said.
``Getting ready to ride out the depression,'' said Uncle Chet. ``And with four trucks, we can probably do that in one trip.''
Cooperstown News Bureau Reporter Tom Grace is traveling with his Uncle Chet, who he says is imaginary. Grace's column appears every other week.