Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #109
…John Ferrell can hardly contain his jubilation, but this glee will fade when the steady stream of balloons comes to an end.…
There, and anxiously waiting at the rescue staging area at City Park in New Orleans, waits John Ferrell. The balance of his group has located the harried and distressed Tallahassee Junior Women’s Club. The girls have been denied the opportunity to sample the potential pleasures of their trip, having contracted all manner of local disease. There is certainly no shortage of suffering in any category of humanity.
Fifty or more miles from the devastated delta, John has watched three balloons float silently in. Each successive disembarking leaves him disheartened, no James or Abigail among the rescued. He does notice that most of those arriving are his age or older.
He finally summons the courage to ask about them, getting the attention of a middle-aged woman. “Did you meet the young married couple on your cruise? Their names are James and Agnes Ferrell.”
Even though she is still recovering from the scary, yet spectacular flight, she responds kindly, “If they are the youngest passengers, sir, they should be on the last balloon.”
“Oh my, yes… I just feel sorry for the three lifeboats taken by the storm….. About thirty poor souls did not have a chance….. God rest their souls.”
“Many thanks to you, good Madame — for the news of my son and daughter, I mean.” He can hardly contain his jubilation, but this glee will fade when the steady stream of balloons comes to an end.
The pilots convene on the makeshift tarmacadam, speaking demonstrably, and fingers pointing to the northwest horizon. It seems the military has a better handle on weather conditions than the Weather Bureau, probably because they stay in constant radio contact. Forming dark clouds are the object of their concern.
“We just talked to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Those clouds movin’ in,” he points, “wiped out half the barracks there an hour ago. Twisters don’t make for good flyin’ weather, sir.”
John almost said something ignorant, ‘Can’t you fly over the top of them?’, but the grocer thinks his science through and reconsiders, “Will the boat be safe in a storm?”
“It’s stuck pretty good in that delta mud, but a stiff wind might blow it over…”
“…or a good rain may flood it back into the river. Say mister, would you help us tie down our rigs here?”
Not really. It makes more sense to panic, but as hopeless as the situation appears, he has overheard whispers of those rescued. “Alligators”, is frequently heard. He becomes determined not to allow his children to become the ancient beast’s next meal.