Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #51

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #51

…Fort Sumter South looks like the countryside of Gettysburg, the day after the battle…

Fort Sumter3-001

The Fall of Fort Sumter South

The road back to Tallahassee runs right past Sumter South, at least close enough to Delivery Truck-001see the Mansion far in the distance. Herbert Love precedes the Ferrell Grocery “Freedom Express” in a Love Dairy & Ice wagon, loaded with supplies. He needs to reach the plantation ahead of the truck, if the smoke screen is to work, that is. Just what kind of reception he will get, when he gets there, is up in the air.

As he approaches the area, a thick black haze hangs thirty feet above the ground. Upon closer view, every structure is flattened. Even the grand three story main house stands amid the smoke. It is a sad scene for foes and friends alike. An evil empire has been reduced to ash and rubble; never in anyone’s wildest dreams.

Oddly, there is no person, white or black, to be seen. Farm animals wander unattended, cattle or horse not knowing what to do in area unfamiliar. It looks like the countryside of Gettysburg, the day after the battle, without the military corpsmen on both sides searching for anyone who may still be alive.

That was the view from the road. Love steers his ice wagon down the lane leading to the main house. Magnolia trees line the way, paired every twenty feet. How fragrant this path must be in spring. The team of horses is reined down to a slow pace, no urgency is indicated. Every appearance points to complete vacancy.

About mid-drive he hears the whimpering of a female cry. Where she is is not as obvious. He applies the wagon’s brake and dismounts to investigate, having seen nothing from his higher perch. After a minute of silence, sobs reemerge but not from the ground, rather from among the large leaves of one of the magnolias he was passing under. Peering up the trunk, he discovers a girl, adolescent he guesses, huddled in the crotch of the tree’s largest limb. She is wearing only a yellow nightie, a sure sign that she fled the mansion in a rush.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #51


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #50

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #50

…”That was the stench of Fort Sumter burning to the ground, Herbert…”

Fort Sumter Burning

“The engineer of the midnight freight stopped at our station to report possible pedestrian contact on the trestle. We were sore afraid you all had been killed.”

“He was going so fast I am surprised he noticed us and he certainly did not stop to find out if he had hit anything,” the nearest thing to a victim, laments.

“Verily, verily,” Love relates. “He also reported seeing signs of fire up the line, smelled smoke. We did smell smoke as well, a very odd smell indeed.”

That was the stench of Fort Sumter burning to the ground, Herbert!”

“You must be joking, Jacob… you didn’t, did you?”

“No, ‘tis true I did not, but what a marvelously unexpected bonus.”

“Indeed! We could not have planned this any better. But I do not take pleasure in another man’s loss.” Herbert Love can only Christian thing to do-001imagine what condition the battered plantation might be in; anarchy, unleashed tensions or loss of life on either side of this clouded issue. “I think we, perhaps me should make a trip over to Midway to offer aid.” You can count on the Loves to do the Christian thing, in any situation, no matter how undeserving the beneficiary may be.

“That would make a great diversion, Herbert. I will send the Campbells back to Tallahassee the same time you pay Smythwick a visit. For now I am going over to Helen’s Diner to get us some food!” The grits and gravy of 36 hours ago did not stick to Jacob’s ribs–or anything else for that matter.

“Good. I will return in an hour, say 11:00. I am going back to the dairy for some evaporated milk and blankets.”

Related imagechristianThe beneficiary of such a massive effort cautions the architect.

“You just be as careful as you can be, Master Love. No tellin’ what kind of hornet’s nest you’ll find,” warns Willy, walking to join his family under a shade tree, to share in the promised feast of grilled chicken and biscuits.

“Should I give Jefferson your best regards, Willy?”

“He already gots the best of all my born days.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Love's-001

Episode #50


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #49

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #49

… The Ferrell Grocery truck has made a very special delivery…

Delivery Truck-001

Before that scenario can be played out, there is some unfinished business, where State Road 268 runs into the city of Quincy. A bright autumn sun emerged from the east, there to find the entire Gadsden County Anti-Slavery Society gathered in the town square, rejoicing in their success. 5 October will be red letter day for years and

years to come. It is somewhat of a strange celebration to the eye of an outsider, like hearing a joke’s punch without benefit of the set-up. Nonetheless, the payoff seems to be a fine one.

Oct 5 red letter-001

The Ferrell Grocery truck has made a very special delivery. In the cab of the paneled truck are driver John and passenger Jacob Haley, he of narrowly harrowing fame. Standing proudly on the rounded rickety fenders are the Flying Bleaker Brothers, never content with grounded positions and waving like conquering heroes of some Slovakian revolution. Peaking out the canvas back are the three Negro children who should be dead—tired that is, everyone in the strong arms of the blacksmith and thrilled at getting a first ride in motored vehicle. Martha Ferrell is in the back as well, tending to a weak Grandma Lettie Golden and fervently praying with Willy and Amanda for a promising future.

No one is more excited than Herbert and Phoebe Love.

“Good Lord Almighty, by your mercies and your power you have brought us success! Herb screams skyward. He rarely screams.

Jacob Haley opens his door and leaps into a Love embrace. “We did it, Herb, we did it!” he cries.

“Yes Jacob, but we heard you had some trouble at Little River?”

River gorge

The school teacher is puzzled. “How do you know this? Nobody has said one word of our predicament.”

The engineer of the midnight freight stopped at our station to report possible pedestrian contact on the trestle. We were sore afraid you all had been killed.”

Locomotive3

“He was going so fast I am surprised he noticed us and he certainly did not stop to find out if he had hit anything,” the nearest thing to a victim, laments.

“He apologized, explaining that he would never have made the Thunder Hill grade if he stops.” Love chuckles. “Hey, at least we did inspect the cowcatcher for fabric and blood. Finding neither, we sent the train on its way.”

“You should have checked the bottom of the train for sweat. I just thank my lucky stars they weren’t a chain or something hanging down.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Escape2

Episode #49


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #45

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #45

…Real time seems to slow down for Jacob, as he falls beneath the wheels of the clamoring iron beast….

The locomotive continues to close_________

Limping and frightened, Hosea makes it to solid ground, reaching his parents who are shouting words of utmost urgency. Agnes and Francis are back in Fabulous Bleaker hands, not having opened their eyes for fear of what they would see if they did. In an effort to clear the way for the onrushing Alfrey and Jacob, they leap over each side of the trestle, plenty of air remaining below, using slight of hand to pass a rope (no high wire performer leaves home without one), to each other. They swing forth and back with the greatest of ease, all the while coaching Jacob about the closing steam engine, ‘50 feet, 40 feet, 30 feet, hurry!’, so he does not look back.

Jacob Haley All-American

Idealism has gotten him into this pickle, but as a member of the first All-American football team, it is the skills of that new combination sport that will sustain him and Alfrey to the goal line. He has tucked Alfrey under his right arm like a twenty pound sack of sugar and sprints to survive.

But he and his singular talent is no match for the would-be tackler. He can see his teammates in the end zone, but the tackle will be made first, leaving him time for a forward lateral only. The toss is accurate; sending Alfrey tumbling onto the grassy slope, head over heals.

  Real time seems to slow down, Jacob visually capturing the moment in fine detail, as he falls beneath the wheels of the clamoring iron beast.

The sound is deafening, yet this appalling sight consumes any noise. Pulse rates are soaring still, leftover anatomical byproducts of a two minute travail. Stunned shock grips those who remain, as they watch the red light blinking on the caboose, the last of the ten cars passing without knowing what it is passing or what it has run down.

The Flying Bleaker Brothers regain the trestle, arm weary from their weighted suspension. They need go 20 feet to reach the site of Jacob Haley’s heroic end, not knowing what they will find. Clouds have overtaken the only source of light, making the dark even darker. Some of the innocent eyes are mercifully closed.


  Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #45


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #44

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #44

…before long, optimism turns to panic, at first a distant rumble is heard…

Trestle-001

On a still, quiet night like this, the steady trampling of six pairs of feet is easily Bleaker Brothers-001detected. The Bleakers celebrate the coming Campbells, eagerly cart wheeling to the task of escorting them across the trestle that spans the Little River gorge. One quarter mile across and 100 feet down, the watershed which feeds the larger Ochlockonee aquifer may scare the average person, for these men who dangle and fly for a living (with the greatest of ease), the dizzying height is nothing at all, even in the moonlight.

finish-line

Darkness conceals the river below, making it appear to be endless space, without mass or ditch or anything that will stop an object straying from the rails. But it is there and gravity is waiting to take over.

The final stage, the most dangerous of the five, is in good hands. Footsteps are rhythmic and sure with half of the span negotiated. Even the Fabulous Flying Bleakers Brothers sense the mythical “finish line”, the end of the trestle where they will not likely be followed. Agnes and Francis cover their eyes and sort of bravely ride the shoulders of their daring escorts from a far-off land.

But before long, optimism turns to panic. At first, a distant rumble is heard. There aren’t herds of buffalo in Florida, even before they were nearly wipe clear of North America, so it must be something else.

The wooden structure starts to vibrate. There are no earthquakes in Florida, though there are a few old-timers who remember a shaker late in 1811, distant resonance Midnight Freight-001from the Missouri and Ohio River valleys.   

A plume of coal smoke drifting past the sinking moon settles the matter. That rising cloud of ash and dust smoke can only be one thing. It is the unwelcome calling card from the Midnight  Freight.

The hard charging mass of iron and steel travels at speeds exceeding 50 miles per hour and closes in on the trestle in no time. A quick assessment of their status is not good at all. Amanda Campbell joins Willy for the final 300 feet; his strength will help them carry the day. Hosea tries to keep up, but his unsure feet slip between timbers. The Bleakers must put down the girls to free his wedged right leg. Screaming the whole time, his leg is loosed, but his shoe remains.

The locomotive continues to close_____________


Alpha Omega M.D

Episode #44


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #34

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #34

…”Nessie” is close enough to deliver a staggering jab to his bicep. He will bruise tomorrow, but acts nonchalant for now…

nessie

Loch Ness

“Constitutional law is my true passion,” states young James Ferrell to Abigail’s father.

This is lofty talk for a boy-to-be-man whose short term objectives include stealing a peak down the front of Abigail’s dress for a look at her nubile breasts and to pretend that his punch came from the children’s bowl.

Fortunately for the young couple, Smythwick has his head turned by adult matters of greater yield to him. James grabs Abigail’s hand, rushing her to the Tallahassee “end” of the cavernous room, where talk of Constitutional Amendments pertain to human rights, not the preferential rights of the few.    

Their flight to privacy is halted by John Ferrell, snagging James like a conductor on a train snags the dangling mailbag as it speeds past a whistle-stop.

“Hold up, son, aren’t you going to introduce your pretty friend to your mother and me? Let me get her attention. Martha?!” John motions urgently to his spouse, who is doing her best to entertain those unable to do so on his or her own. At first she is wary, but only until she spots James’ companion. Agnes is attached to her hip, though slightly apprehensive at the prospect of standing next to the nauseatingly slender girl, one year her senior.

“Father, Mother, Agnes, this is Abigail. Abigail, this is my Father John, my mother Martha and my sister Agnes, but we call her Nessie!” She hates being compared to the mythical monster from the British Isles.

Nessie is close enough to deliver a staggering jab to his bicep. He will bruise tomorrow, but acts nonchalant for now.

“I prefer Agnes!”

“I am so pleased to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Ferrell.” She extends her gloved hand which is received and kissed by John, who knows of younger women. “Agnes and I meet at Maclay Park most every year. As a matter of fact, she was kind enough to introduce me to James this very year.”

“You must come to the house Abigail, perhaps before the summer completely passes us by,” suggests the Mrs.

“I would love to, Mrs. Ferrell and please, please call me Abbey. James and all my close friends do.” She is perky, pretty and polite. “My only regret is that our farms are so distant.”

Hillside Estates

Hillside Estates

The miles between Hillside Estates and Fort Sumter South could be and would be closer if the plantation homestead were placed to the southeast corner of the 5000 acres instead of the northwest.

“Do not worry your pretty little head, Abbey, we will find a way. We have a motorcar you know.”

“I would meet you in town. Daddy does not believe in those “metal coffins”, says they will be the end of civilization.”

“I see…,” What can one say that archaic notion..

John Ferrell just rolls his eyes, knowing the old man’s eccentricities go much deeper than that. He remains mute.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #34


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #32

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #32

…Remember Sara and Abram of the Bible, rumor has it that she came late John – she is only fifteen…

The Tallahassee Junior Women’s Club Summer Cotillion is this very night.

“Abigail Smythwick is going to be there.” Agnes knows the reason for her brother’s sudden cooperation. She is the daughter of Jefferson Smythwick, born in his sixth decade to the silence of her mother’s still heart.

“I almost forgot that we sent invitations to Midway and Quincy. They are not as refined as we are, you know, though Abigail’s daddy owns much land thereabouts,” Martha offers what she knows. “Is she pretty, how old is she, does she have any manners?”

“Yes in her own quaint way, fifteen I believe and I hope so, though she did not have a mother to help her.” Daughter fills in the blanks.

John Ferrell adjusts his new bow tie, as he walks by.

Fort Sumter3-001“John, sugar, do you know a Mister Smythwick from Midway?”

“Why do you ask?” he asks – a wondering.

“It seems that your son James has a fancy for the Smythwick girl. She will be at the cotillion this night and I do not want to appear ignorant of our neighbors to the west,” like it was a world away instead of 15 miles.

“Fort Sumter South, wealthy, quite old, I thought… his daughter would be forty. Has James taken a fancy for women the age of his mother?”

“Remember Sara and Abram of the Bible? Rumor has it that she came late John, she is only fifteen!”

He prefers to keep what he really knows about the man to himself. Why upset Martha by raising the still broiling subject of slavery. Her lectures, planned or spontaneous, about the difference between slaves and servants are legendary. They can wear a person out.

“Oh, I see. You mean like Mother Nature’s joke on a woman who has assumed her child Continuedbearing years are decades behind her?”

“That is a cruel way to put it,” she admonishes, “especially since her mother died giving birth.”

“That is too bad, I’m afraid,” John says, snatching his watch fob from out his vest pocket. “Say, we best be going, that’s if you want to set the tables before everyone arrives.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #32


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