COLUMBUS _ ``Not long ago, they were talking about a `permanent Republican majority,''' said Uncle Chet, who was helping Buddy and me split wood.
``Karl Rove said that,'' I said.
``Ole Blossom,'' he said, tipping up a 20-inch ash log.
``I want to hit it,'' said Buddy, who's eight, but sturdy.
``This is heavy.'' I held out the fiberglass-handled splitting mall.
``I know.'' He stepped forward to take it.
``Okay,'' I said, ``but hang on tight and don't hit hard the first time.''
``This is my second time,'' he said. ``I did some with Mom.''
``Take it easy, anyway.'' I stood back and watched as he raised the mall, then brought it down near the center of the log, making a dent.
``Not bad," I said.
``Regular Paul Bunyon,'' said Uncle Chet.
``I know who he was,'' said Buddy, who was lining up another shot. ``He had a blue ass.''
``Ox,'' I corrected.
``Probably both,'' said Uncle Chet.
``Watch what you're doing,'' I warned the boy, who had the mall over his head and started to laugh.
``I meant ox,'' he sputtered and put the tool down.
``Settle down, Samson,'' I said.
``Now with Specter and Franken, the Democrats are in the driver's seat,'' said Uncle Chet. ``And it's hard to see the Republicans dislodging them. I mean, who wants to join the party of torture and war, of Michelle Bachman and Rush Limbaugh?''
``Anyone who does is already enrolled,'' I said.
``But we need Franken seated ASAP _ all 60 votes in the Senate _ so they can reform health insurance this fall.''
``Open up Medicare to everyone,'' I said.
``Absolutely,'' he said. ``Let people keep their private plans if they want, but give everyone a chance to enroll in Medicare.''
``That's the one thing I really hope they do,'' I said.