Let us go back now.  Back to 1955.  To the time of David’s father’s death—Horace Threnody.  The man folks called Duke.  It was a strange time for David.  It put a strange impetus on his career.  As an artist.  As a musician.  He received word that his father was dead just after the New Year.  On the catholic celebration of the Epiphany–January 6th.   A Christian festival commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi.  The Twelfth-day.  And maybe it became such as it was—an intuitive perception, an insight into the reality and essential meaning of his life all brought about by a commonplace occurrence or experience.  This commonplace occurrence, this experience—his father’s death.  Not necessarily a manifestation of a deity, some deific, evanescent moment, but perhaps it brought him back to that first question and the revelation of answer.  For his father was going somewhere he hadn’t been.  His father, as in commonplace, was going first.  And for some reason this blew his mind.  He couldn’t wrap his previous perceptions of his father around it.  The unresolved question of whether his father just sought his son’s happiness or the continuance of a legacy.  Something David had already mourned in the death of his firstborn at the hands of his twin brother—what a divorced father sees in his children, Dulcinea, his daughter, just starting school.  And it wasn’t a long death.  It was sudden.  Duke Threnody already had lung problems from a chronic smoking habit—COPD—suffering the same symptoms as Bridgette, Bethany’s grandmother, but it was deep vein thrombosis—a traveling blood clot, which led to Duke’s sudden death of a pulmonary embolism in his sleep in the early morning hours of January 6th, 1955.  David was in Austin when he received the phone call from his mother, and therein are the accents to David’s epiphany.  Why we must go back to 1955 to understand David’s later career as a musician.  For he was soon to be 37 years old and he returned to East St. Louis to live with his mother.

And of course we don’t have it.  We don’t have David’s journals that document his ten month stay with her, with his mother.  Any journal entries from this time were burned by Benjy that fateful day, a Friday, the first of April, 1966.  We have only a last entry dated in late November, 1954, the day after Thanksgiving.  And as luck would have it I have Bethany’s journal, a few entries from that time relevant even if written from an estranged point of view as David’s ex-wife.  But neither gives a facile understanding to what inherently can be deemed a man’s regression.  To what role he played with his mother after his father’s death and what a wife, a former lover, sees in this under the burden of raising his children, but it must be examined for it was about at this time David Threnody cut his third record under a label lost in obscurity now and only rediscovered a decade later when in the late sixties of Gaslight Square the beatniks and bohemians who congregated in what is now the Central West End of St. Louis came to hear David play the music that inspired him, what came from his youth after the flood of ’27 and those hard years through the Great Depression—his meeting with ‘Ol Scratch at a crossroads in Mississippi before the war.  When he was nineteen at it was 1937, and what brought him back to that crossroads thirty years later, an anniversary as such, which almost doesn’t seem coincidental to the rediscovery of his songs.  But the epiphany perhaps was there.  A spiritual manifestation and maybe even a predestined foresight that led David Threnody to write what he did, not only in those last journal entries we have of him in 1954, but in the songs he composed then, his third album, what some musicologists esteem as his magnum opus now some sixty years later, whether it be in the vulgarity of speech somehow captured in its dissonant recording, or of some gesture in it, or in a memorable phase of the mind itself—a light shining in David’s mind.  It was for a man of letters (as I am not) to record this epiphany with extreme care.  It is delicate and yet invulnerable.  In it are the mistakes exposed in his father’s death which need not have consequence.  For they neither define hero and villain.  And good and evil are an abeyance lightly weighed in them…

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