COLUMBUS _ "I have to go, but I want to do it myself," Buddy announced from the recliner.
"OK," I said.
He lowered the footrest, reached to the wall and grasped the aluminum crutches.
"I'll have to do it tomorrow, anyway," he said.
"True," I said.
"You'll be fine; you're getting pretty good with those things," his big sister told him.
"Better go now; you've got visitors," Hon said from the kitchen where she was making subs this snowy, Sunday afternoon.
"Who?" said Buddy.
"Alice and Chet," she said.
"There's a guy who knows when it's time to eat," I said as the couple came in the back door.
"I've come to see the patient and to let you take a push poll," Uncle Chet announced, putting down a six-pack and stomping snow off his rubber boots. "I'm going to poll 100 people and put the results on my blog."
"Want a sandwich?" Hon asked.
"We've already eaten," Alice said.
"I'd love one, no mayo," Uncle Chet said as he made his way over to Buddy.
"I hear you've been studying the effects of gravity," he said as he leaned over to the fourth-grader, who was reading "The Big Book of Boy Stuff."
"What? Oh, yeah."
"How far did you fall?"
"About six feet," Buddy said. "I broke three metatarsal bones."
"Does it hurt?"
"Not much," the boy said. Lifting his foot gingerly, he got up on his crutches. "I'm getting a cast Wednesday," he added, then excused himself and swung out of the room.
"He's pretty good on those things," Uncle Chet observed.
"He's going to school tomorrow," I said as I glanced out the window where the snow was flying. "Weather permitting, that is. So what's this poll about?"
"Tucson. Here's the first question," he said. "Does Sarah Palin bear any responsibility for the shootings in Tucson?"
"Don't we all, in a larger sense?"
"That's not the question."
"Try the next one."
"Do the cross hairs on Sarah Palin's map of targeted Democrats make you think of guns?"
"After yesterday? Yes."
"Do you consider this phrase -- `Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: Don't Retreat. Reload' -- to be a reference to guns?"
"Do you consider the Tucson murders a terrorist attack?"
"I have no idea what was in that guy's head," I said. "What's all this going to prove?"
"Depends what people say," Uncle Chet said. "I'm taking a little dip into polling to see what I can find out."
"I'm surprised you aren't still celebrating that lame-duck Congress," I said. "Everything Obama and the Democrats did: a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, gays in the military, medical care for 9/11 heroes, unemployment for the needy -- all for extending the Bush-Cheney tax cuts."
"It's really Republicans who deserve the credit," Uncle Chet said. "The Democrats had been trying to accomplish all that for months, but the Grand Old Plutocracy blocked everything until it got tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Then, with the base appeased -- a tax code that guarantees the rich will get richer -- they went along with everything else."
"Because all they want is the money?" I asked.
"The money and a Supreme Court that equates money with freedom of speech, to be spent liberally making sure they continue to get the money."
Cooperstown Bureau Reporter Tom Grace is traveling with his Uncle Chet, who he says is imaginary. Grace's column appears every other week. For more of his columns, visit www.thedailystar.com/tomgrace.