So began David Threnody’s days as a provider.  They’d cleaned out his apartment on the West Bank before making the trip to East St. Louis in the spring of 1947.  Driving a Chevy coupe.  Bethany riding beside David as they went down the highway.  Duke Threnody had long turned over his ownership of the pawn shop to David’s brothers—two still worked in it.  David was now the third, helping in an expansion, the pawn shop becoming sort of a thrift store, some items given in good will, David helping with the stocking and inventory, and in giving some of that money back to the community.  David worked every Monday through Friday—8 am to 6 pm.  Bethany finding them a little apartment on the other side of the river, in Soulard.

There’s fear in providing.  Not only fear in not being able to provide, but fear in what you provide for.  That it will be taken away.  That it has been taken away.  It’s natural to feel what you provide for is yours, and no others.  David had something to come home to, and he was afraid.  Afraid if he didn’t provide—what would happen.  Afraid what if, if what he provided for wasn’t his.  This is the fear of a man.  And it has to be overcome—you must overcome this fear—and live your life…  Fear is the begetter of jealousy and hate.  It is the fruit of it—fear over time making you hate yourself if you fail, jealous that what you have is not yours, that someone else has had it.  At first it is basic—this fear.  And you don’t really overcome it by your own strength.  It’s more age and experience mixed with time and that fear.  You remember to remember where you are, and if it be a stage or not—you’ve had plenty of practice.

Despite the new work ethic, not much was really different.  Their neighborhood in Soulard French buildings reminding them of New Orleans.  They settled in and Bethany made it a home.  These were still good times.  The seeds of the fear had already been planted before their betrothal, in what happened to bring them together, and all it takes for the fear to take root and bud through the surface of the soil is one misplacement, that first chink in trust when you suddenly feel alone with your lover.  Then it grows, and that’s what’s funny about it, the fear—how it doesn’t happen at first, but you know—you just know—you look at your future, and by looking you’ve changed it.  You can see what’s coming.  You wise up, in those moments alone with your lover.  You know what you have to lose…  One thing did change though.  After the bust of his homegrown the night Popovitch and Pete Southhouse were killed, Bethany and David both vowed never to smoke again in public.  They still looked at the searches, like David’s walk with that wino, as an adventure, even the times when it was dry.  And they didn’t really do it from some moral or ethical dilemma, or because they were really afraid to.  They just didn’t feel like running—good or bad—that’s what it was…  David was sober in his father’s pawn shop, and in his gigs around town (for he still had friends, music buddies, from his time in the tenement housing before the war) David only smoked after a show…  And maybe that’s how you overcome it, the fears you learn, man or woman, in that age and experience of plenty of practice—you make friends with it.  Like one of those friends you don’t call back when they call you.  You know where you are with it at all times.  And no matter what—it’s your life.  And only that…  David was a provider now.  He had become his father.  It didn’t really make him different.  He just took more looks at it—the future—and in doing this his past changed, helping him…

Advertisements