And what about William?  What does David’s brother have to do with this other than vague remembrances of learning to count in a bath tub his death in that he was born that way and that he always lived with his mother Cleota learning the hard way about being alone how every song goes?  Because David went home in 1951 too.  He saw William this for the last time.  He saw his father for the last time alive.  David left Austin after his second record was cut by Night Owl first making a visit in Hemphill to see his children his journals marking it around Benjy’s third birthday about at that time of the Nashville ice storm one of the worst in history causing a complete shutdown in transportation and power failures.  Even Bethany worried wishing him safe travel and assuring him his children needed him this possibly the opening he saw the hope the chance of a renewal in their relationship after three long years of hardship three years of them both scraping by Bethany a woman with a mindset now forgetting to remember the love affair which began in New Orleans culminated in the spring 1946 when her first husband Pete Southhouse was killed and all those times she made it over to the West Bank to knock on David’s door how that was five years ago now and all that happened in between when in your mind and heart with time separated you say goodbye to a lover to a time of love and you make up your mind that it’s over now and a new life all forged on the foundation that that one life is over and a new life has begun the person in the old life gone and all the reasons why you’re better for it the one thing the only thing holding you to the past with this person the children—and David’s children loved him…  So, in a way, David’s brother is the reason Bethany decided to give it another chance.  What William had to say what he had to tell his brother in the shadow of the words of their father both of them still alive but for another four years, and how this hope this chance wasn’t wasted but it wasn’t taken either.  It was the hope the dream of their children, of Dulcinea in particular, the child-like faith William still had bestowed on his brother, but David and Bethany were adults.  They weren’t born that way anymore.

So maybe to understand why Bethany and David still loved each other but they never got back together you must go into that phrase—born that way—to know what faith is.  What hope is.  And love.  Bethany started reading the Bible after she and David tried to get back together.  She started taking the children to church.  The same church her mother went to in Hemphill.  There are a lot of begets in the Bible.  To the unobtrusive it may seem trivial, unnecessary, and boring.  But just saying you’re born that way takes away the responsibility.  For why were you born that way?  History is our first lesson.  Our only lesson.  So when so and so begat so in so who begat so in so you are led into those first things that are unintelligible, but they are the reasons for who you are.  And so what about William?  What happened in 1951 which is a precursor for where things stood in 1955 and later in 1966 what David returned to at that crossroads in Mississippi in 1967?  Who was David’s father?  The countless lives before us that lead up to us.  And Bethany too in how she was born and what she was born into?  The intangible effects in our adult education running in parallel to our children’s hopes and dreams.  Maybe William should answer.  In the words of his mother—Cleota’s journal—for there’s an entry there, in late February 1951.  A predated haunting of what happened fifteen years later when David lost his hearing in his right ear, what was mourned four years later in the death of their father…

Advertisements