Maybe the only way to erase a time is to see it as a mistake.  What Cleota goes on to say is how David did come home in 1951 how he left Hemphill after seeing his children but it was before Benjy’s birthday before his birthday and he didn’t brave no Nashville ice storm because he crossed the Sabine he went to New Orleans instead around Mardi Gras time that year.  He paid a visit to Piety Street his ties to Night Owl and the time he spent in Austin always a hazy subject and not really dealt with here in this account of his life not as an oversight but to David’s own reckoning from journal entries that account for his stays in Austin his ties to it as never a home away from home but a good town—a good town for live music.  His heart was always in New Orleans.  Even when Bethany moved to Texas after their divorce.  East St. Louis was where he was born and raised but he always declared his home was New Orleans and that second album at Night Owl and even that fourth album Bethany mentions in 1960 though recorded in Austin and much of his later life lived there are not in this account for even these albums—his second and his fourth—were later resigned to Piety and his final album the last record we have of David the fifth was cut at Piety in 1967 after David made the return to that crossroads in Mississippi.  And in 1951 after that second album was recorded he did return to Hemphill—true—but according to Cleota he went to New Orleans first catching Mardi Gras in his business with Piety and he came home to East St. Louis just before his birthday.  So he didn’t see his son turn three, and what Cleota goes on to say is how he played for them on his birthday not on some stage in town but in the living room of that upstairs apartment on Bond Street his father’s pawn shop closed for the day below and with Jonathon Bonnor’s guitar he played some of those songs from his second album maybe even some of those first songs from the album in 1945 maybe even the one I heard at my own crossroads some sixty years later and William was there the only brother present for his birthday.  The other brothers never named in this account and even Gerald and Dewey, who I later interviewed to gather facts about David’s childhood, absent and living their own lives even the ones who still kept their father’s pawn shop open.  And so maybe that’s the only way to erase time to erase people and places in your time—to see it as a mistake.  In that moment when short term memory isn’t translated into something else and you forget what you’re thinking about.  Maybe some math you’re doing in your head and you forget about what you’re calculating something William could understand because he lived without short term memory no bad memories ever souring what he could see and perhaps David bonding with his brother in this way remembering his childhood and how William watched him so many times and the counting they used to do in the bath tub this somehow translating in David’s mind to the six going on seven years he’d known Bethany and almost three years now since their divorce since Benjy was born and David was erasing time—he was erasing time with those songs he played in his father’s living room—he was seeing it as a mistake even the good times the love that affair on the West Bank when Bethany used to come to his door like she was just a girl and as Cleota tells it Duke was sleeping in his chair lightly snoring as David played and it was what William said what he said at the end of one of David’s songs—my ears are never full…  My ears are never full.  According to Cleota that’s what William said.  And so now maybe we can go back.  Back to where things stood later in 1955 after Duke’s death after Williams death and what happened eleven years later on that date April 2nd, 1966.  I’ll let David end the chapter.  In what he said in his journals in 1967 this twelve years after his father’s death.  I’ll end it with a PBS interview the televised documentary of David’s life aired in 1971—an account of what happened that April in 1966 when David lost hearing in his right ear from a shotgun blast aimed at him.

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