Thank you for the replies!
It is not a rotating noise, and there is not much play when pushing and pulling the wheel. It bounces up and down when I go over certain kinds of bumps and rattles. Sometimes it is loud enough to hear, but but mostly, it feels loose.
My steering wheel seems to be on tight (no wheel-to-shaft movement) and as far as I know, the column is original and has not been in a crash. I bought it in 2008 with 7900 miles and it now has just over 50k miles. This rattle is a recent development.
The shaft is in a tube, so I am not able to see it move, and I can't see the upper bearing (??) because I did not remove the wheel and all the other stuff that is behind where it attaches to shaft.
Does anyone have pics of the area where the shaft come out of the tube? I would prefer to fix it myself, but want to know exactly what it is in case I have someone else do it!
Btw, ToyoTech8811...I think you work right down the street from me. I can't believe we haven't seen each other driving around!