Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #107

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #107

…John Ferrell is most relieved, having thought he would be on his own in his search for the newlyweds, alone in a strange city renowned for its crime and disease…

Aftermath-001

“The animals knew what was comin’,” suggests Willy Campbell, with affirming nods throughout the swaying railroad car he was seated (the 1st-not the last). They too had noticed the strange lack of wildlife as far back as the Ferrell wedding, one week ago. Not to mention domestic creature behavior in the final days.

 “Perhaps that is the answer, yes I declare it is; local weather observers, reporting directly to the Weather Bureau on a daily basis. From Maine to Montana, the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico; temperatures, cloud cover, rainfall… by God even “Bossie’s” milk production or the sudden disappearance of songbirds.

 “Willy Campbell, this is the very reason that you are my right-hand man. You inspire some great ideas.” Love then goes over to Alfrey Campbell, picks him up from his seat next to Doc Ziggy, telling him, “Your daddy is quite a guy, isn’t he?”

The pre-teen merely nods his head. Love can see that the boy’s interest is not in the affairs Related imageof his father. It is the elderly doctor who has captured his imagination. Ziggy plugs the gap in respect by stating, “Let’s hear it for, Willy Campbell, za finest a man can be!”

Applause accompanies the exhortation, embarrassing the former neo-slave. John Ferrell rescues him by asking of Love, “What will be our route?” eager for a stop near the Mississippi Delta.

     Herb Love had anticipated the needs of the Florida group, suggesting, “I think it would be a good idea for your entire contingent to get off at New Orleans. The rest of the train is stocked with aid for Galveston: doctors, food, tents and the like. So if it is all right, I would like to drop you off at New Orleans Union Station and pick you up on the way back through.”

“New Orleans is my town, Herb,” states Jacques Fransoise, as a point of information.

“You have been in Quincy so long; I forgot you hail from Louisiana. Well that is perfect, you all have an experienced guide and with a bag full of medicine thrown in.”

  John Ferrell is most relieved. He had thought he would be on his own in his search for James and Abbey, alone in a strange city renowned for its crime and disease.

At least he will not be alone.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Dog predictor-001

Episode #107


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #106

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #106

…”The next time we get decent warning before a blow, will be the first time.”…

And no sooner than the temporal needs are restored to those who have fortunately endured, which nearly all Floridians have, relief crews are assembled to aid in whatever way possible. Phoebe Love organizes the Gadsden/Leon contingent, able to gather the majority of the disbanded Gadsden County Anti-Slavery Society, especially those involved in liberating the Campbells four years ago. Main man Willy Campbell, Hillside Joseph, Harv Pearson of the Quincy Reporter, liberation specialist Jacob Haley and of course John Ferrell, who favors the chance to get anywhere near New Orleans.

Doctor Ziggy has joined up for medical support, likely in short supply, with, going on twelve year old, Alfrey along side. Apothecary Jacques Francoise has emptied his shelves to aid them in dealing with disease and infection.

Bleaker Brothers-001The now Famous Fabulous Flying Bleaker Brothers would surely have added their skills, but they are working the Virginia State Fair followed by the Ohio State Fair; for all their talent, they unable to juggle their schedule.

The rest have been absorbed by the Washington relief train, selfishly diverted to Florida by Herbert Love. But any questioning the stopover is lost in the spirit of volunteerism.

“I am so sorry we did not issue a storm warning’” Love apologizes, perhaps unnecessarily, to the group, while holding fast to his wife, “something, anything that would have saved lives.”

Quincy Reporter-001

“Hurricanes are devilish, Herb. The next time we get decent warning before a blow, will be the first time.” Quincy friend and historian, publisher Harv Pearson has seen and reported on many storms in his long career and though none packed the wallop of 8 September, he knows how fast a tropical storm can explode into a hurricane and ways to predict are slow to improve.

“Thank you for taking me off the hook, Harv, but I promise you folks that, from now on, we will find a way to predict the path and intensity of hurricanes, storms of tropical nature. There are over six thousand casualties in Galveston alone. 6000 Texans no more and John Ferrell here does not know if two members of his family are alive or not. I imagine that every one of you have been directly affected somehow.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #106


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #100

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #100

…Ziggy has seen this cloud formation before, some twenty-odd years ago…

“Tell Ziggy to watch the skies, fo storms, Isa mean,” Willy warns his son.

The only time a boy cares about the weather is when it forces them to stay indoors, which is where the doctor awaits his protégé, not with black bag and stethoscope, but with carpenter satchel and hammer. “Bring that board vith you ven you come up, Alpha,” directs Ziggy from the balcony at the head of the stairs, “ve’ll be building Maggie za new bed.”

Retirement has offered anything but rest and relaxation for the Endlichoffers lately.  Thanks to neighbor Ferrell, Laura Bell and Maggie Lou are permanent residents at their lakeside chalet. Throw in a Negro youth, hungry for knowledge and thirsty for things unavailable under any other circumstances and you have a formula for keeping one on the young side of the street.

From Ziggy’s point of view, he actually feels younger than whence these changes started. There is a perceivable get along in his giddy up.

For Frieda, aside from a drop in the average age of her household from 65 to 40, having Laura Bell around for help and friendship has proved to be the elixir of youth as well. For a barren woman, with no hope for lineage of her doing, the occurrence of this instant family is a true gift from God. If you don’t think so, go ahead and be the one to tell her that Laura and Maggie are not her daughter and granddaughter. They are family.

That is why she has given over her sewing room for Ziggy and his neo-grandson to reconstruct.

The joyful task of making Maggie a room of her own takes most of the day, one that has featured the formation of some ominous looking clouds on the horizon. These are not the clouds that form nearly every afternoon about this time, cumulus varieties that deposit a seemingly same amount of rain. Angry and unfamiliar are they, descending on the Panhandle as quickly as a solar eclipse, and nearly as dark. What little light shines through the coming bank is jaundiced, all the while swirling like a tempest in a teapot.

Storm cellarZiggy has seen this formation before, some twenty-odd years ago. Experience tells him begin to batten the window shutters. He calmly gives orders to the rest, without letting on to the urgency of the moment.

The decent of the Endlichoffer household into the root cellar completes his task of welfare and gives away the seriousness, if the gusting winds had not already.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #100


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #96

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 96

…Thankfully, with due respect to the dear departed Mr. Finkle, there are still a score of guests waiting in line; Edna is prompted to shuffle off to food and drink…

Meanwhile

In the receiving line after James & Abigail’s wedding

“Are you going on a wedding holiday?” asks Edna Finkle, one of the Ferrell Groceries’ first Edna Finkle-001and most loyal customers, thus deemed longtime observer of the Ferrell family saga.

“Yes, Mrs. Finkle. We are taking the train to New Orleans. It sounds like an exciting city.”

“Oh my, yes, I should say. I remember when Mr. Finkle was alive; we spent a month there one week,” as opposed to when he was dead. “It is a spicy town though, filled with people that seem to defy the conventional.”

They are kind to the eighty-something woman, if for no other reason than she is a walking billboard for their stores; gladly singing the praises, all the while during her weekly four hour assembling of her week’s worth of goods.

“We will be staying at the Vieux Carre …………”

“The Olde Square, my yes. Mr. Finkle so loved the food in that part of town. I believe we left before the yellow fever outbreak, you know, back in 1878.” The well-meaning elderly woman is doing nothing to help the Crescent City’s unhealthy reputation, but youngsters have an air of invulnerability about them, tending to ignore danger, in exchange for adventure.

Thankfully, with due respect to the dear departed Mr. Finkle, there are still a score of guests waiting in line; she is prompted to shuffle off to food and drink. “I’ll take one of those, sonny.” She is handed a glass of champagne, grabbing a back-up, claiming, “I cannot stay long— close to my bedtime, you know.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode # 96


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #94

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #94

…“Oh Alpha, my Alpha I think you are vun more victim of Big Daddy Bass…

Meanwhile

Out on San Luis Lake

But if the ongoing wedding has processions, fishing is of possessions—possessing a boat and pole and line and hook and bait, of calm waters and sunshine. And a friendship that spans multiple generations. Doc Ziggy and Alfrey Campbell are no-shows at the wedding, drifting about the calm water across the lake. He had told Frieda, “Veddings is too long and za people is too stuffy.”

   “Didn’t your cork move?” asks the only accomplished fisherman in the boat. The ten pound bass, posed and stuffed on a wall in his den, can testify to the retired German’s dogged diligence to the sport. “Give your pole a tug, Alpha.”

The boy obeys the elder’s expertise, gently yanking his length of cane up and to the side, as he had seen his mentor do, thereby setting his hook in the lower lip in the mouth of a large mouth… bass that is. The tethered fish tows the bobbing cork under the surface, straight to the bottom of the lake, where the fish calls home. The unexpected move by the fish causes the boy to lose grip of his pole. It too disappears under the rippling water.

Big Daddy Bass-001

The One That Got Awawy

The look on the boy’s face provokes the old German into a deep belly laugh, the kind you are powerless to stop, even though the resulting abdominal pain would warrant it. “Oh Alpha, my Alpha I think you are vun more victim of Big Daddy Bass. I have a pole or two tangled in dose veeds too!”

Young Campbell is not amused. He will not be catching any fish this afternoon.

“You called me Alpha, Doc Ziggy.” The half statement half question comes out of the blue, referring to the recent transposition of his given name, Alfrey.

Ziggy reflects, “You are Alpha, the beginning and I am Omega, the end. Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, vich vas, and is, and is to come. Look it up in you mamma’s Bible. Apostle John tells us of the Kingdom come in za book of Revelation.

“You my boy, are the Alpha to my Omega. The future to my past. My greatest hope is for you to carry on for me. Your life is just now starting. Your memories of me: all the doctoring I have taught you, even how to lose a fishing pole to Big Daddy Bass, dese all will live on in you.”

All this talk is as deep as the bottom of San Luis Lake. Someday Alpha Campbell will understand what was said, but he will never forget it.

“Let’s go in. I don’t like za look of za sky.” Ziggy senses the unusual quiet and strange dark haze on the southeastern horizon, as well as the lack of wildlife. “Vere is all za birds?”


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #94


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #91

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #91

…As for the groom, the accompanying guilt will haunt him, probably forever, stealing the innocence from the intimacy in his life with Abbey…

Wedding-001

On that Saturday, 1 September 1900, the wedding of Abigail Smythwick-Ferrell to James of the same, is set to take place on the veranda of Hillside Estate’s main house, the good Reverend Watkins of the First Church of Christ officiating. At 1:30 P.M. the one hundred chairs, borrowed from the Sunday school rooms, are quickly being filled by the fannies of the Panhandles finest.

Martha has recovered her social graces in time to serve as a fine Mother of the Bride, albeit adoptive. Mother saves the day, seeing that Agnes would have been forced to fill that position, even though daughter appears to have risen out her funk, appearing to recover from the loss of her brother to another. That one act of love by James, an act unsurpassed by none in the realm of male/female relations, has satisfied her unanswered needs; memories that cannot be revoked, even the problematic ones.

As for the groom, he wishes upon wish that he could erase his memory. The accompanying guilt will haunt him, probably forever, stealing the innocence from the intimacy in his life with Abbey. He can only hope that the confession of his sin before God will bring forgiveness; their only chance at the perfect life offered by our heavenly Father.

He really is not nervous or apprehensive, merely remorseful. There is a promising life ahead for him, given a probable career in law and a beautiful wife to boot. There is no need to be blue, like the sky, which is high, with thickening clouds, with the closeness of oppressive dew points, clinging to the air and everything it surrounds. The animals retreat to inactivity on days such as this, leaving humans as the only creatures dumb enough to risk dehydration and heat stroke.

But, luck can be credited for the number of doctors in attendance, enough to staff the clinic Mayo. The waiters and waitresses are instructed to encourage guests with pitchers filled with water and bobbing chunks of Love ice.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #91


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #59

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #59

…You are going to lie anyways, so tell za family that she has decided to care for zose old Germans across za lake…

After what seems to be an eternity, the crusty German doctor emerges from his den.

“Tell me, Ziggy, what is the news?” John Ferrell demands.

“Vell, John, Mother unt foetus are in good shape, but zey are lucky za Princess did not take on more vater.” Ziggy’s broken English is hard to understand, but John is used to it and it relates his genuine concern. He thinks of Laura as the daughter he and Frieda never had. ”Eez za Baby yours too John?”

He swallows hard in responding, “Yes… yes it is… a weak moment from this past summer. I love Martha with all my heart. I cannot believe I could have been so stupid.”

Maggie Lou-001“She eez a beautiful voman, don’t you know. I vould hazard to guess zat tings like zis happen more often zan ve find out. Peoples ask me for abortions all za time, but za thought of ending a baby’s life sickens me so. Not to mention my Mrs., barren and sorely lonely for it.”

Ferrell is content to listen, feeling for his neighbor’s pain.

“I tell you vat, Johann, I can tell you don’t have a good plan for za Princess. Two vives and children from each verks for the Mormons, but zey moved to Utah for crying out loud!” he states in his usually frank manner. “I don’t think you move out you house der, so ve vould be honored to see Olla through to her childbirth. Ve have so much room in our chalet.”

That is a generous offer.” He ponders. “But how do I explain her absence? She is like a member of our family.”

“Not everysing vill be easy, son. You are going to lie anyways, so tell za family that she has decided to care for zose old Germans across za lake. She vill, you know unt give us months of joy to boot.’

However, after she delivers, you maybe find a place for her. As much as ve vould love grandchilds, zey look better ven they are leaving. Ve also enjoy our peace unt qviet.”

“I will find some explanation. I hope a good one.”

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

“Please tell Laura that I will have her things moved here tomorrow. And make sure she knows that I intend to take care of her.”

“I vould expect no less from you, Johann. You are a good friend.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #59


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