Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #83

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #83

… Inventions, like the telephone and the motorcar are shrinking the size of the world. Those bicycle-making Wrights in Carolina are doing their part, as the railroads have already joined the coasts…

“Thank you for your prompt reply, Mr. Love. May I presume that this fine day finds you well and that you will rescue me from the vexing problem I am facing?”

God Fearing Man-001

“It is an honor to speak with you, Mr. President and as a matter of fact, I have discussed your proposal with my wife and we believe that the call of country is of the greatest import.”

“I appreciate a man who treasures the counsel of his spouse, good sir,” confirms America’s current first citizen. “We have been monitoring your expertise from afar and my folks agree that you are the best possible candidate to administer agricultural policy for these United States.”

“I am but a simple businessman, doing his best to make the most of the land that God has entrusted me.”

“A God fearing man and modest at that… the more I hear, the more I want to hear. Tell me, is it true that you have formulated an atomizer that foils the development of those cursed weevil eggs!”

Love Dairies-001 “We do not grow very much cotton in Florida, but here in Gadsden County, we take pride in quality rather than quantity and the weevil needs to be halted, to that end. The spray my men and I have produced seems to limit larvae numbers at an ever increasing rate.”

“Florida’s main contribution to cotton production is not in the number of plants grown, but in the efforts of forward thinking men like you.

“And your progress in the fields of refrigeration and milk pasteurization are a model for farms and manufacturing throughout the land. You are the quietest of pioneers.”

  Inventions, like the telephone, are shrinking the size of the world, just as the motorcar is starting to do so. And those bicycle-making Wrights in Carolina are doing their part. The railroads have already joined the coasts, linking the established east with the wild, wild West.

Most applicable with Tallahassee to Washington, “I will dispatch my train to fetch you this very day–if that suits your schedule. It would reach you tomorrow about this time and would expect Mrs. Love to accompany you.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

The President’s Train

Episode #83


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #78

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #78

…My son is in love with my adopted daughter, my daughter is in love with her brother, my invincible brother has been murdered by some cruel force in a far off harbor and I fear my husband has been lying to me for God knows how long… I do not wish to continue…

Southern Lady-001

John Ferrell looks over his shoulder to see for himself and reads further. It describes the horrific events of two days earlier, equally taken aback…

USS Maine explodes on February 15, 1898. Public Domain

..by the some 260 deaths reported. Reports of Maine survivors vary, but with an original crew of 325, one can rely on math and the missing list to fill in the blanks. Two of the four officers are dead and they know the Captain did not go down with his ship.

“Martha dear, we should not assume the worst,” encourages a comforting spouse, knowing Maynard is almost always topside.

So much for a perfect world, as it relates to John Ferrell. The last remaining thread in his wife’s hem seam seems to have unraveled. Brother Maynard has exited her reality, leaving no North American Gaskel left to commiserate with. So fragile is her current state of mind that the very prospect of Maynard’s demise searches out the darkest most recesses of a heretofore dormant state of consciousness.

hell_hath_no_fury“My son is in love with my adopted daughter,” she states without hesitation. “My daughter is in love with her brother.” There is a good measure of regret in her voice. “My invincible brother has been murdered by some cruel force in a far off harbor.” Tears are streaming from her heart. “And I fear my husband has been lying to me for God knows how long… I do not wish to continue. Please take me home, my Lord and my God, to the peace and quiet of heaven.” Martha Gaskell Ferrell retires to the foyer settee, to take rest from all the dizzying concerns.

John plays second base for the amateur baseball team in Tallahassee, the Panhandlers. Back in 1890, they played the Cincinnati Red Stockings, a professional team from the National League of baseball, in a spring exhibition game. The unpolished laymen played a spirited game, but still came out on the low end of a 15 to 7 score.-

Panhandlers-001

–It now appears his wife has taken up the sport, at such a late age. Her undoing has come from deep left field.

Just like the coward that lurks in the soul of every man, John Ferrell of the unsavory list Martha had spewed, acts as if he does not hear a thing. “Let me get you a moist towel for your forehead, dearest.” He had been witness to a similar sudden brush with reality when his adopted daughter recognized Willy Campbell, a horrifying piece of her sorted past, in November of last year. Shock surely triggers a process that exhumes buried or repressed memory. In Abbey’s case, her perception, no matter how skewed, is her reality. Martha, on the other hand, could not be more correct.

“I am going back to town and try to contact the Navy. James will be home from school soon. Let me take you upstairs. You should rest a while.” His only chance to save face is to divert her attention, refocusing on matters concerning brother Maynard.

The late afternoon trip back to Tallahassee will not be necessary. There is a report from the heavy brass knocker on the front door. John responds to the unknown beckoning, to find a Western Union agent with a message labeled for Martha, sent by the Department of the scorned-001Navy. He signs for the cable in her stead, fumbling through his pockets for a proper gratuity for the likely grim messenger.

Martha views the note without outward expression. Her manner is cold and calculating, withdrawing to catatonic solitude.


Alpha Omega M.D.

“Have you heard about poor Martha Ferrell?”

Episode #78


page 71 (end Ch. 4)

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #75

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #75

…Amanda Campbell can only hope that her husband will return before his oldest son Hosea vanishes into the filthy cracks of life in the big city…

.Hosea-001

A worried mother keeps all those fearful imaginings to herself, taking sole comfort in the company of her faithful daughters, Agnes and Francis cuddling in bed like baby birds in a nest.Debauchery-001

Light sleeps falls hard, extending to the dawn of a new day, when Amanda Campbell hears feet clamoring through the door of her house. She thinks it is Willy safely returning. Instead, she discovers Hosea, strung out and hangdog from a long night of unimaginable debauchery.

“You’re a disgustin’ sight, Hosey!” she proclaims. “How are yo goin’ to work in your soory state?”

“It’s Saturdee, Ma, ain’t gotta milk ‘em ‘til Mondee–goddam cows’ll have some udder damn fool pullin’ their tits.”

“There’s no talkin’ like that in this house. God’ll strike you dead some day, you’ll see.” There toughloveis a surprizing lack of respect in her words. Some would say that she is disowning him, tired of trying to change his philandering ways. Hosey Campbell is sixteen, with the look of a man twice his age. Even on the plantation he seemed to be involved in all the shady goings on.

 “You ain’t gonna do nuttin to me, woman,” asserts Hosey, rebellion in full bloom.

“I cin put you on da street boy and don’t tink I won’t!”

Threats are all she is left with.

“That be jist fine wit me. I knows a guy headed fo Jersey. There’s big money up dere on what dey call da Boardwalk and I’ma goin’ to git me sum.”

She never thought her warning would meet immediate, if not, unwelcome results. So much hurt had been allowed to fester. A mother ignores her forgiving instincts, letting Hosea extract every earthly possession he can fit in a burlap bag. She is frozen in place, unable to move or speak on the behalf of her family. She can only hope that Willy will return before his oldest son vanishes into the filthy cracks of life in the big city.

In fifteen short minutes he amasses his things, in a bag made of carpet. At 5:45 A.M. there is no sign of Willy, the only person able to derail this runaway steam engine called “pride”.

A wordless hug is exchanged at the door, no mention of love or the future, just the fading empty warmth of a struggling family.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #75


page 69

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #69

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #69

…One by one, Siegfried pulls out an instrument of examination or healing, explaining purpose and use…

“Fine, fine blend I must say. Not expected from a cigar of this size.” John Ferrell is impressed.

“We are planning on boxing them in quantities of five. Here is the artist rendering of the picture on the box, wrapped in cellophane, of course,” Love foretells.

“Loyal Campbells… Mmmmmmmmm. I believe that handsome man standing next to that monster tobacco plant is you Willy?”

”Yessir, that be Mr. Love’s idee,” the soon to be somewhat famous caricature explains. He is attempting to keep Alfrey from fidgeting, suddenly bored after a long day.

“What is your name, son?”

 “Alfrey, sir.”

 “Well, Alfrey, why don’t you go into the house? I bet Ziggy has a treat for you… go ahead, don’t be bashful.”

The youngster ventures into the house. The adults talk business amidst a lingering cloud of aromatic smoke.

Ziggy is always prepared for visitors, especially children. wife Frieda provides him with a continually replenished stock of chocolate covered rum balls, an incredibly tasty treat and never turned down.

Ziggy’s handmade adult delight named, cherry bounce, is a jar of cherries aged in homemade brandy will be saved for later.

A handful of rum balls consumed, Alfrey discovers the doctor’s well-worn black bag, presenting it politely for possible exploration.

Protege-001

“Let us go to my office unt see vat ve can see.” He takes Alfrey by the shoulder, ushering him to an impressive room with walls of books, most of them labeled with letters unfamiliar to the lad who doesn’t read English yet, let alone German. They sit down on a black leather sofa, fully ten feet long. One by one, Siegfried (given name) pulls out an instrument of examination or healing, explaining purpose and use. A life-size skeleton, a scary presence for one who has never seen, serves as a visual aid in the detailed explanation.

“Put these into each ear… put za metal horn der.” Ziggy serves as a flesh and blood skeleton, providing a strong heartbeat for Alfrey to hear. “Is that not someting?”

Alfrey cannot speak, for his intense interest. If Ziggy is the water, the young Negro boy is a sponge.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Ziggy’s Office

Episode #69


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Alpha Omega M.D. #56

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #56

…Fitfully, Princess Olla strains her limited abilities to transfer her thoughts to paper…

“The Letter” by Camille Corot

Holiday preparation for Princess Olla is absolutely opposing to that if the family outing in the city. Hillside Estate is empty in the final days leading to Christmas Day, albeit perfect for Olla/Laura Bell to prepare her own special holiday presentation. A gift-wrapped box cannot contain that which she has in store.

    As a matter of fact, she has been making this gift for five months. Hand crafted presents are a tradition for those who cannot afford store bought; lovingly knitted, baked, built or written, with more love and care than anything the Sears & Roebuck Company catalogue can provide by mail. And surely none of the shops in Tallahassee can match the fruits of Laura’s effort.

Fitfully, Laura Bell strains her limited abilities to transfer her thoughts to paper. What to say and how to print it, with just enough literacy, but a wealth of emotional fuel. She takes her time crossing he T’s and dotting the I’s.Laura Letter-001 When she has finished the 180 word letter, she must find a spot where John will be the first, and hopefully only, Ferrell to read it. That will be a challenge, but her gift singles out her employer, whose warmth and kindness makes Laura feel loved, inside and out.

In the end, she chooses to hand delivery method. The stable-boy personally gives the peppermint extract scented envelope to John before he leaves for his day at his stores. He only raises his eyebrows for a second, stuffing it in his coat pocket. Hear no evil, see no evil.

To prepare for her surprise, Laura wears her Sunday dress, a Martha hand-me-down of black silk and satin. It is tight around her middle, but she is still more than comely. She

“The Stable Lad” by Franz Adam

waits for John to ride up on his chestnut charge, on a bench, she has just about worn down as she fidgets. San Luis Lake waves are lapping on the shore, a stone’s throw away.

The December sun sets early on the day of the winter solstice. Overcast skies make night riding prohibitive, so John makes it a point to be home before dark. It has been a typically busy day and did not have the chance to read the letter placed in his hands. He is late enough that his stead finds the way. Here at the stable, in the lamplight, he opens the mysterious envelope that had briefly distracted him that morning, nearly forgotten.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Upstairs Maid-001

Episode #56


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #55

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #55

…Father and I have petitioned the courts of both Gadsden and Leon County to allow Abigail to be a permanent part of our family…

And Abigail makes three Ferrell kids

Martha Ferrell has taken this family aspect to the next level. She chooses this warm and fuzzy outing as an opportunity to spring some exciting news on all but her husband. “Children, I want to sit down on this bench,” pointing to the one outside Simpson’s Drug Store.

Abigail sits dutifully on one end, with Agnes charging to the spot next to her, leaving James for the other end and none too pleased. He rarely strays too far from Abbey’s side. His sister manages to do what Mother has not been able to do; separate the two young and taken hearts.

Abbey, as is her nature, creates a compromise. She unseats herself, scooting Nessie to one side, while placing her in the middle. Done.

James’ version

“Thank you children… Abigail. It is important we be civil. We have some wonderful news for us all.”

The Ferrell “children” are thinking along the lines of the family gift; maybe a new wardrobe for Agnes or a champion thoroughbred to James’ liking. Neither is the case.

Father and I have petitioned the courts of both Gadsden and Leon County to allow Abigail to be a permanent part of our family. Abigail Smythwick Ferrell. How does that sound?”

Well you could have knocked James over with a hummingbird’s feather. He has pictured (in a young man’s fancy) Abbey owning the Ferrell name by marrying her into the family, certainly not as a step-sister.

Agnes is overjoyed. The big sister she always wanted; sharing beauty tips and boy secrets and clothes… well maybe not clothes. That would require a full-time seamstress.

Sisters

Abbey’s version

Abigail’s emotions fall somewhere in-between. She too has had private aspirations on being a Ferrell, again as a wife, not an adopted sibling. Womanly dreams aside, her feelings of group membership are unmistakable. She has also seen enough of Southern relations to hold hope that certain moral stigmas can be conveniently negotiable. “I would be rightly proud to consider myself a Ferrell.”

At closer examination, without a blood relative on the North American continent and few inherited friends of her father, her choices are none. Plus, she is near enough to Sumter South to have a hand in its future; quite a land holding for one so young.

“Consider it done,” assures matriarch of the family, whose involvement in Campbell matter has turned out to be a life changing experience.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #55


page 51

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #53

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #53

…My God, Herbert, this girl is has been orphaned…

Even though she had suspected a cruel end to this most fundamental of revolts, the girl is not at all prepared for this end. She falls faintly, directly to the sandy soil. Herbert Love wraps her in a blanket and cradles her in his compassionate arms, all the while praying for their departed souls. This horrifying moment will forever be etched in his long term memory.

Upon seeing Love’s ice wagon standing idle, seemingly midstream in the drive, John Ferrell, who has the Campbell family with him, stops to check on things. He jogs down the winding lane, passing the grazing team, looking for any signs of life, as did the mayor of Quincy before him. There behind the smoldering barn, he spies four silhouettes: two huddled figures and two swinging.

Abigail Smythwick

Abigail Smythwick

He knows one to be Love.

“Abigail!” He recognizes the other.

Love puts his index finger to his mouth, “Ssshhhhhh,” it implies.

“What on earth happened here?” he asks.

“This is what happens when a concept like freedom festers. Left unattended the infection will kill… and it has.” He has pondered this concept long before adulthood, hence his calling to lifelong dedication to thoughts thereof.

My God, Herbert, this girl is an orphan!” it occurs to Ferrell. That spawns another. “It appears the need for secrecy has expired.”

“Yes, I see the direction you are headed. The Campbells may as well come with me to Quincy. I can get them settled in, stabilize, acclimate and the like. There is no need to hide them away in Tallahassee now.”

Road 1900“And I believe that Martha would have insisted that Miss Smythwick should come to our house. James should be some comfort to her as well.” 

“Yes, that will be good. There is much adjusting to be done.”

  Back at State Road 268, all are in agreement, as to the changes in the master plan. The family Campbell disembarks the grocery truck but there is not enough room on the ice wagon. They will take their final step to freedom on foot, unaware of the fate of their former rulers. Grandma Lettie will ride shotgun, next to Herbert Love, giving him unsolicited advice about his teamster-ing, the way most females are led to do.

Abigail Smythwick wakens to the Ferrell bookends of John and Martha and a bumpy ride on yet another unpaved Panhandle road.


Alpha Omega M.D.

“Bend in the Road” Cezanne

Episode #53


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