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A Way of Living

—for Dave Philips

In the early years, there used to be grids of flat choices,
And every crossroads led to a farm somewhere in central Illinois
Until one led to college and its newsroom and late night beers
With the society editor after they put the paper to bed. 
Between fall and spring semester, Dave and Jan snuck in a wedding
When Dave knew he wanted to do everything. So he learned

To fly an airplane, to almost speak Russian, to distinguish 
A good single malt whiskey, that small kids could overcome
Even his patience. And he said yes—when the paper needed
A farm editor. Yes, when Ag Extension called; yes, 
When a radio show needed someone to lead a How-to show for farmers, 
Yes, when Penn State called and asked him to work at their new TV station.

He travelled the world, Jan by his side. They sailed, touching
Most of it. And the one cruise, when the ship pitched, sending 
Dinners sailing into laps and the lounge chairs scuttling across the decks, 
Jan grabbed at tables, herself skittering, Dave headed to their cabin 
To lay down, knowing that even as his head hit the wall behind him, 
The next time the vacation planner called, he would say: yes.

©2021 by Camille-Yvette Welsch