Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 163

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #163

…Such terms of endearment are harmless among friends…

dummkoph

John Ferrell now confides his unilateral decision to include Maggie Lou in his newly drafted will. to his friend and neighbor, caretaker of his unforeseen burden.

"I speak German"

“Ziggy?” He regains the attention of the doctor turned logger. “I need to tell you about a change in my last will and testament.”

“Vhat?  Vhat ezz dis nonsense. You are as healthy as your finest horse, dummkopf.”

Such terms of endearment are harmless among friends.

“No, I’m not foretelling my demise. I am merely concerned about Maggie Lou’s future.” He doesn’t have to tell Ziggy of his plans now, but disaster seems to lurk beyond every turned calendar year.

“Proceed.” Ziggy puts down his saw, conceding that all the windfall wood will not be collected and cut-up in one day.

Property  “This is a legal document which I am leaving in your care. To make a long story short, it bequeaths the listed land holdings to Maggie Lou upon my death.”

“Vhat about Martha unt James unt Agnes… unt Laura? Does not Laura deserve za same consideration?”

“Maggie Lou represents the future. I do not want the magistrates to decide the exact line of parentage; leaving this portion of my estate to my blood child should not cause the smallest stir… except from my family, which will be richly taken care of. We are speaking of a million dollars or more of business and personal holdings, to be split among them, as compared to patches of mostly unoccupied land in the currently less desirable sections of Tallahassee.

          “Mind you, that yes, they do not have prior knowledge of these properties, but neither have they legitimate rule over whom I leave them to.

          “Princess Olla, or as we refer to as, Laura Bell, will have insurmountable difficulties in administrating her part of my will; too many doubts and lingering bitterness will surround my passing. That is why I have established a living trust, appropriating this portion to Maggie at and not before the age of 21.

  Ziggy-001       “And until then, please live a long life, for the sake of Laura. Her very essence is life on San Luis Lake. In Frenchtown, she will be just another black woman with a light-skinned baby. In your house, she is family.”

The proceeding soliloquy is awakening legal propriety in a previously unenlightened cohort. “I am afraid that eet eez me wheech eez zee dummkopf. Of course I vill guard that vich you leave, Maggie Lou – or Frieda vill for zat matter. You can count on us, Johann.”


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Maggie Lou-001

Episode #163


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #162

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #162

…Danke shoen, Johann, zere eez two years vorth of vood down…

woodpile

In the aftermath of the nearby tornado, “There is a lot of good kindling wood.” John comments upon seeing Ziggy using his cross buck to cut branches to a length compatible with the chamber of the wood burning stove.

drafthorse

Blue Boy by Jan Perkins

“Ya,” agrees Ziggy, scraping the humidity from his brow. He points to his wood lot. “I hope zat za storm von’t keep Alpha and Villy from today. I could use their team to drag za deadfall closer by.”

John can sympathize with Ziggy, having graduated from wood heat to fuel oil recently. “I’ll send Joseph over with Blue Boy,” one ton of aging draft horse, still very strong and always willing to serve.

Danke shoen, Johann, zere eez two years vorth of vood down.

Doc Ziggy and Frieda are not getting any younger, a fact not lost on their grateful neighbor, the beneficiary of their kind gestures. Neither does he overestimate his own mortality and what effect his death would have on the welfare of Olla and especially Maggie Lou.

  John Ferrell is seriously considering a very radical thought about the financial security of his neo-illegitimate daughter. It pertains to his will and possible alterations to it, the one something and only thing that will take other survivors of his death by surprise.

   Over the years, close to 25 to be exact, John Ferrell has done business in the greater Tallahassee area. It is his groceries that are the marquee of his presence here; Ferrell's Grocery-001three stores that have served two generations with the necessities of life. Amidst the workings, of what is no small miniature empire, comes occasional and rare opportunity to acquire property from customers who have little trouble confiding in a community-friend like John Ferrell, yet have no other perceived place to turn.

There are times when profits from meat, vegetables, Empirecanned goods and the newest of consumer fare need to be siphoned off. Real estate is the safest of auxiliary investments, least likely to be scrutinized by the uninformed. 31 such parcels are part of a larger plan of a more aggressive businessman, at a time when he considered rivaling all comers for the title of “King Tallahassee”.

But times have indeed changed. An 1896 lapse in judgment, encouraged by the tempting of the flesh, has placed a solid brick wall in this path of assertive city dominance. His afternoon of fantasy and passion has now officially laid claim to that once youthful goal.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #162


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #161

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #161

…John Ferrell has already assessed his estate and has negotiated the storm/tangle to check on his extended family…

tornado-ii-torrie-smiley

Tornado II by Torrie Smiley

  A branch is considered a stick and many of them are scattered across a quarter mile wide, five mile long path that began to the southwest, in the vast expanses of the Apalachicola forest. It had to be a twister at least that is the consensus of those left in its turbulent wake that marched steadily northeastward to rural Tallahassee, in the early morning hours of a warm early spring night, including a brush with San Luis Lake, which is usually spared any of the real weather. A direct hit surely would have razed the only two man-made compounds on the quaint body of water.

San Luis Lake-001      Now, in the post-dawn calm, with dew points equal to the 65 degree temperatures, everyone in the Endlichoffer household is wielding big sticks; cypress and jack pine strewn on the huge garden whose ground is sustaining seedlings of carrots, beets, potato and squash.

The garden is a family project, a source shared responsibility and pride. The 2000 square foot plot is ever in need of weeding, fertilizing, protection from vegetarian rodents, or watering, though this morning has provided 2 months’ worth of moisture deep into the subsoil. That a bountiful harvest is a bi-yearly event is a miracle in itself, considering that the native soil was mostly sand, without a favorable pH.

As is usually the case, in times of potential disaster, John Ferrell has already assessed his estate and has negotiated the storm/tangle to check on his extended family. Laura Bell and Maggie Lou have not gone away and no matter how convenient it would have been if they did, Ziggy and Frieda would rather give up breathing than part ways with their chalet.

 John has witnessed an evolution, from desperate refuge, in the days of Princess Olla’s pregnancy, to absolute integration into the lives of the dearest old Germans you could ever find. That is why he makes the trek down a well-worn path on a daily basis, under the auspices of a morning constitutional, when it is breakfast he shares… Martha knows.


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Well worn path

The Well Worn Path

Episode #161


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #160

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 160

… It is not like Theodore Roosevelt has not had his hands full in 1906…

Teddy Roosevelt-001

The telegraph lines have been scorching forth and back between Rochester and Tallahassee, Boston, Quincy and Washington, whose resident president insists on hosting the real Eastman-Pearson union; a somewhat shorter trip for the Southern contingent, who are far from strangers to the White House.

Alice Roosevelt

Alice Roosevelt Longworth

The fact that Roosevelt’s daughter from his first marriage, “Princess Alice” as she is affectionately called by newspaper reporters assigned to Washington, is getting married there two months before the Pearson-Eastman’s, will make for a nonstop, romping-stomping celebration of family and friend. If you were not invited and you consider yourself one of the beautiful people, you would not dare admit it, for fear of becoming a social has-been.

 But it is not like Theodore Roosevelt has not had his hands full in 1906. There are hints, led by a dwindling money supply that is pointing toward an economic crisis. Ten or more years of prosperity and growth are threatened by a war between Russia and Japan, which we’ve had to play both sides to the middle, the enormous cash vacuum in the wake of the San Francisco earthquake and unprecedented railroad expansionism.

Big stick-001

Big stick-001

For the first time in recent memory, the United States has flat out outspent its income and banks do not have the money to cover the outflow. There is also a strange coincidence concerning the purchase of the rights to the Panama Canal, with all its burdens cast in iron; excavation equipment needed for the largest works project ever attempted.

Apart from the fray, the times when a leader must separate himself, Roosevelt is true to those who have aided his glorious run in the White House. No one who has ever held the nation’s highest office has enjoyed as much as he; the power, the prestige, the trappings. Someone heard him say once: “I can’t believe they are paying me for this job.”

  Dutch by birth, a Van Roosevelt original surname, he had led the comfortable life to this point, except for a pre-teen period when he was puny and in ill health, resulting in torments from cruel mischievers. Training at the family gymnasium took care of that problem and is chiefly responsible for the rugged bravado he has displayed ever since. Wherever he goes, whoever he is with, his “big stick” is always close at hand.


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1900_Teddy-Roosevelt

Episode # 160


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #159

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #159

…”Now get out of here, while I teach Miss Judith that the rooster rules the henhouse…

“Harv, Judith? Uh, here is the world of Emmeline Pankhurst.” Stanley,the copy editor lays the photos gingerly on the desk.

 Pankhursts“In all her rebellious splendor?” Harv remembers the spirit of the woman they had met in London two months before. “And those daughters of hers, what pistols they are.”

“Christabel and Sylvia.” Judith was deeply moved by these women, to the point of feeling just a bit timid by comparison. If only she could carry out her convictions like that. “I admire how they function as a unit.”

“And drove Mr. Pankhurst to an early grave.” It’s a man’s inalienable right to defend his own, in this case, a short effort.

“I am surprised to find you here, Mr. Pearson, with that earthquake in San Francisco and all,” mentions Stanley, who has watched them leave the office, to parts unknown, with bags that are perpetually packed, without so much as telling a soul.

Quincy Reporter-001

“San Francisco! We almost forgot!” It had been overshadowed by something more significant to them. Revisiting that moment, Harv shifts to lower gear. “We’re going to let the Quincy Reporter have first crack at that story. Jackson (its new publisher) deserves a good start, right Miss Judith Eastman-Pearson?”

She smiles with a heart which has peace, at long last.

“You two are final… uh… getting married?”

“That is why we like you, Stanley, you’re the brightest candle-on-the-abra,” jokes Harv, wrongfully assuming that their imminent nuptials are obvious to even the most casual of observers.

“That is great! Can I tell everyone?”

“I don’t know, can you?”

“Oh, Harv,” he relents, “may I?”

“Yes, you may, Stanley and don’t let this one give you a hard time. And if the truth be known, I practically had to drag it out of him… one stuttering word after the next.”

Now get out of here, while I teach Miss Judith that the rooster rules the henhouse.” Tongue firmly in cheek. “And stay on top of San Francisco for us. We may have to call the wedding off if things heat up.”

“It’s already on fire, no water to put it out, they say.”

“There will be nothing left for us to report about. Give the Wright brothers a call, see if they have a three-seater that will travel 2000 miles or so.” Harv had actually talked Judith into taking her camera up for one of Wilbur’s test flights, during their expose on the Dayton duo. Her knees knock at that very thought.

“Enough nonsense!” Judith screams. “Send the best available photographer out there, as soon as possible. At least the Journal will have a presence there.”

“How about me?” asks the new presence here, standing in the doorway, an Eastman himself.

“George! How long have you been there?” his sister wonders.

 “Just long enough to offer my blessing and my services, you rascals.”

Hugs, handshakes, kisses break out in epidemic proportions, as rest of the staff begins their Thursday workday with the best news they’ve heard since the unexpected size of their first bonus. Instead of advertisers waiting in line, they look forward to a reception line. No greater respect and affection can co-workers have than these.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #159


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #158

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #158

…You were going to ask me a question, Harv. When you are at a loss for words, it is invariably serious and probably very personal…

Harv Pearson is not as dense as Judith thinks. He knows that he can never be a publishing giant, not with his love for the field and his newfound passion for their magazine. Selling out to Jackson, his editor at The Quincy Reporter, is the right thing to do… but so too is marrying the woman he loves. That makes two important items he hasn’t made time for. Should either or both grow tired of his procrastination, it would literally be a crying shame.

“Judith?” He stops his preparation for a transcontinental commute to a burning San Francisco, to prevent a fire at home. “What would you say; no… I was wondering if, I mean… we haven’t really discussed this, but…”

Pop-the-Question3     “Yes!” she says with assurance.

“Yes? But I didn’t ask you a yes or no question.”

          “You were going to, Harv. I know that when you are at a loss for words, it is invariably serious and probably very personal.” It is the unspoken task for women to pry the truth out of creatures who are inherently incapable of doing it well, if at all. “So, my answer is, yes, I will marry you and it is high time; I passed the spinster line some time before I met you.”

  ‘That was easy’, Pearson thinks to himself. Had he known what little effort it took, this proposing thing, he would have spared Judith’s sofa the imprint of his body.

“Well it’s a good thing we are doing this legal. I believe the common-law statute was just Common Lawabout ready to kick in.” Harv injects humor into a laughable situation, taking her perplexed person into his loving embrace. “You know that this changes everything, don’t you?”

“Yes, if you mean that you are losing that “big brother” camouflage… or that you will drop that nasty habit of squashing your passion. It’s not healthy, you know, having a lion inside the body of a pussy cat. We’ve wasted precious time in a cage and I intend to let you out.”

Emmeline

He responds to her metaphor, however corny, even to the point where it is she who must apply the brakes to their passion, which has found its way to an office settee. “Harv, honey, Stanley will be here any minute with the proofs of Emmeline Pankhurst.” She is speaking of English “suffragette” whom they are featuring in this month’s issue.

“I guess it is back into the cage.”

“Now don’t you pout,” she reassembles unfastened articles of her clothing, though she would have preferred not to.

Stanley, the lab technician, strolls into the tail-end of the compromising scene, unaware of how close he was to viewing his bosses in a new and revealing light. Fortunately his pupils are still dilating from the darkroom black.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Huckleberry Hound “The Lion Tamer”

Episode #158


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #157

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #157

…Harv Pearson is the nearer to the telegraphic news ticker, so he picks up the end of the two foot and adding paper ribbon, reading his way back to the busy machine…

Tickertape machine

Chapter Nine

SHIFTING SANDS

“What is coming through the wire?” asks Judith Eastman. “It looks unusually long.”

She is speaking to Harv Pearson, in a rare moment when they are in their Rochester office simultaneously. One or the other or both are on the road most of the time.

“Might be a test run. It’s a bit early for news and there hasn’t been anything worthwhile for weeks,” certainly not of the human interest variety, the kind that makes good pictures and good press.

They are at the mercy of the news and news makers. Beginning with their first issue of the Pearson-Eastman Journal, the blockbuster interview and pictorial of Teddy Roosevelt in the American West, they had set the standard for finding great stories, combining the two mediums into a must read for millions of readers, i.e. subscribers.

Harv is the nearer to the telegraphic news ticker, so he picks up the end of the two foot and adding paper ribbon, reading his way back to the busy machine. He keeps adjusting his reading spectacles like they must be distorting the words.

“Does the cat have your tongue?” asks Judith playfully; curious as to why his mouth is hanging open without so much as a peep.

“We’re headed for California,” he says simply.

“Another gold rush?”

“Only if the U.S. Mint isn’t earthquake proof.”

“You don’t say.”

“Read for yourself,” he hands her the start of a frightening account. “It’s on fire, Judith, my God, it’s only after 5 o’clock in the morning there. Most people were sleeping when it hit, I would think that casualties are high.”

“We wouldn’t get there for three days.” She recounts the train ride back from Yosemite, in the Journal’s inaugural days.

“There is nothing else going on.” He laments the fluffy content of their magazine of late, though no one in their right mind would wish disaster on anyone for the sake of news. “If I know Jackson (his editor at the Quincy Reporter) we’ll be lucky if we beat him there.”

“You mean your newspaper has room in the budget for that?”

 “He watched me chase stories for years, not standard procedure for a small town rag, but I own it. He does not take that into account. If I told him he couldn’t, I would lose my Quincy Reporter-001credibility. The Reporter has the reputation of getting a big story first hand.”

“So, why don’t you sell him the Reporter?” This is not the first time she has suggested that move, for mostly selfish reasons that include taking away the one threat to his continued and permanent presence in her life. She has passed that point where she has enough emotional fuel for a return trip to her once lonely world. If only he would take that final step concerning their relationship; a proposal of betrothal instead of status quo-sal. “I mean, he has been running it without much help from you for five years now, something he pointed out when you were too busy to buy those new printing presses. The poor guy is working himself to death while you are doing a scant imitation of William Randolph Hearst.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #157


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