COLUMBUS _ ``To Mom, the great hunter,'' I said, and raised a glass of red wine.
``To Mom,'' said Buddy, lofting his cider.
``Good job, gorgeous,'' Uncle Chet joined in. ``May you bag another one tomorrow and fill that freezer.''
``It was a lucky shot,'' said Hon. ``He was chasing a doe downhill and I was standing where I usually do, between the pines. I saw the horns and waited until he crossed a lane through the trees. I knew I'd have line of sight in the next one, so I ...''
``We've already said congratulations.'' I winked at her.
``Shh! I want to hear,'' Alice protested. ``I've never been deer hunting.''
``This deer's already died five times,'' I said.
``Now don't be a sore loser,'' Uncle Chet said to me. ``Just because you didn't fill your tag and your wife shoots straighter than you.''
``You didn't get anything, either,'' the little miscreant reminded him.
``So, I fired and got him in the spine,'' said Hon. ``I think shooting the .22 this fall must have helped, because I didn't flinch at all.''
``Do you think you could teach me to shoot?'' asked Alice.
``Sure, some weekend,'' said Hon, then everyone clinked glasses and sipped in her honor.
``Speaking of sore losers, have you been following the post-election?'' asked Uncle Chet.
``Not much,'' I said. ``When Ohio tipped for Obama, I unplugged after a year of watching every micro-trend.''
``Well, some people are sore,'' he said. ``Palin, for one, went on a bad-will tour, but she bombed at the GOP governors' conference.''
``I think Palin's history,'' I said. ``They're even hinting at that on `We distort: You decide.'''
``I know, and it's too bad,'' he said. ``Maybe we should start a Palin support blog, keep her in the running for next time.''