``I'm coming out of retirement to work for Obama as a speech writer,'' Uncle Chet announced as we sat down to Easter dinner.
``I've got an Obama hat,'' said Buddy, our 7-year-old newshound.
``Obama's doing pretty well on his own,'' said Alice. ``He's the best speaker we've had since Bobby Kennedy.''
``Even better,'' I said.
``He is,'' said Uncle Chet. ``But I could be his redneck speech writer, help him reach the under-educated.''
``What would you write?'' asked Hon as she served steaming roast chicken.
``Oh, I think I'd go after Hillary this week,'' he said. ``Something like `Liar, liar; pantsuit's on fire!'''
``Now that, is absolutely awful,'' Alice shook her head, long silver hair waving back and forth.
``Can you hear him saying that?'' I said. ``He'd lose 10 percent in the polls in the first hour.''
``I think I could do better than that,'' said the little miscreant, our ninth-grader.
``Go ahead, try,'' Uncle Chet challenged her and she started thinking.
``Afraid all we have is red wine today,'' I said, driving the corkscrew into a bottle of merlot.
``I like red with everything,'' said Alice.
``Me, too,'' said the little miscreant.
``Me, too,'' said her little brother.
``You guys get grape juice,'' Hon passed them the Welch's and started the serving bowls in motion around the table.
``Looks delicious,'' said Alice.
``Chicken, potatoes, cauliflower, celery, homemade rolls; this is a feast,'' Uncle Chet pronounced. ``And we ought to give thanks before we dive in.''
``Go ahead,'' I said and put down a serving spoon.
``Thank you, Lord, for this food and friendship, and please kick the devils out of Washington by the end of the year,'' said Uncle Chet.
``Amen,'' said Alice.
``It might actually happen this time,'' I said, ``unless people fall for the line that the surge is working.''
``The splurge,'' said Uncle Chet. ``Obama should say, `The splurge is working; every kickback's being paid, but meanwhile 4,000 Americans are dead, 30,000 are injured and we, the people, have been bilked out of a trillion dollars. We, the people, still don't have health care. We ...'''
``Remember, we caught Saddam, and he was a bad guy,'' I interjected.
``True. We got one bad guy,'' said Uncle Chet. ``And we only slaughtered a million people, and displaced another four million, to do it. Now, I wonder what a cost-benefit analysis of this war would show us, Mr. MBA President?''
``There's a speech. Let's see you top that,'' I challenged the little miscreant.
``Uh, well, could we say the war is `Clinton's trillion-dollar mistake?''' she suggested.
``Not bad,'' said Uncle Chet. ``Let's team up. We've got to be better than the Clintonistas. Yesterday, I saw James Carville on TV comparing Bill Richardson to Judas for endorsing Obama.''
``Heard that,'' said Hon.
``So if Richardson is Judas, who's Hillary supposed to be?'' asked Uncle Chet.
The conversation wilted; the only sounds were the crunching celery, the dog's light snoring, the faint ticking of the fan by the wood stove.
It was a clear sunny day, looked like spring out there, but it was still winter. Inside, it was cozy, close and it seemed somehow that I'd remember this Easter dinner for years to come.
``If Bill Richardson is Judas, Hillary Clinton would have to be Jesus,'' Hon concluded and poured herself a glass of wine.
"Exactly,'' he said. ``Carville's telling us that Hillary Clinton, former Wal-Mart lawyer, artful dissembler, sits at the right hand of the Father. And any Democrat who stands in Her way is a traitor, like Judas.''
``More of that Clinton entitlement stuff,'' I took a big helping of roast potatoes.
`` I think that one's below the belt,'' said Hon.
``It's blasphemy,'' said Alice. ``Christians should be up in arms.''
``It's corporate code,'' said Uncle Chet. ``What they're telling us is no matter what we want, we're either getting another dose of Billary or endless war with John McCain.''
Cooperstown News Bureau Reporter Tom Grace is traveling with his Uncle Chet, who he says is imaginary. Grace's column appears every other week.