Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #120

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #120

Chapter Seven

END CAREER BEGINNING

…What a relief it is to make it to 1901, the Twentieth Century at last…

What a relief it is to make it to 1901, the Twentieth Century at last. Progress is formally measured and affirmed by the lowness of the last two numbers of the years tracked since the death on a cross by the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Just as HE died to save the lost, so does this New Year rescue, in spirit, the United States from the scars of Civil War, deadly disease, horrible storms. Things cannot get worse, right?

The young seem to have the best chance of making the best of their world. For James Ferrell and bride Abigail, the last 12 months provides them with 1 year of marriage and the 2nd year of studies at Harvard University; on what will seem like the eternal road to lawyer-dom. Ergo, 360-some days of married living in an unaccustomed small living space in Cambridge Massachusetts, with not enough money and not enough time together.

“Won’t it be wonderful to see Mother and Father, dear?” offers Abigail in one of those rare shared moments when James does not have class and she is not working in the school library.

Ferrell's Grocery-001

“Summer school really threw our plans for a loop, Abbey. But we could not afford to traipse around Europe like Mom, Dad & Agnes are. That’s more Agnes’ style, though she may regret going after she sees the shape the groceries stores are in.”

By his talk, one can see the focus the 21 year old has. Travel is not an option.

And no sooner than his and Abbey’s shared parents return from the old continent across the Atlantic, they now journey northward to Buffalo, New York on the 12:10 Crescent Limited. It is there they will meet James and Abbey at the Pan-American Exposition.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #120


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #102

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #102

Chapter Six

A FRESH ONE HUNDRED

…“The line is dead,” John Ferrell laments, in a vain attempt to retrieve some news as to the extent of the storm now passed/past…

Hurricane-001

Torrential rain, straight-line winds, hurtling debris;  Gadsden County  endures ten hours of the worst conditions that this planet can produce, a force so strong that thirty miles of continent cannot subdue it. The “storm of the century” arrives in the last months of the 19th Century’s last year.

John and Martha Ferrell did spend the night huddled in a closet, with Agnes, listening as one by one, south and east side windows blow in, sometimes with a projectile, sometimes by the sheer force of the sustained wind. Their house of stone stands sturdy. Neither they nor it know what has hit them. Daylight will reveal more than they want to see.

One thing they do see, trees previously having hidden it from sight, is the Endlichoffer chalet. They were no doubt brave, but now lay horizontal for their trouble. As a testament to Ziggy’s carpentry skills, his wooden structure passes the earnest test. One can only assume that the morning finds the occupants fine as well.

What the eye can see, the mind can only imagine. The two fastest vehicles for communication, the telegraph and the more recent invention telephone, depend on wires suspended on poles. It is unlikely that those poles are standing, as those with a telephone find out.

“The line is dead,” John laments, in a vain attempt to retrieve some news as to the extent of the storm now passed/past. He was hoping that his friend at the Tallahassee Democrat, the area newspaper, could shed some light on this apparent disaster. Did the damage extend east to Tallahassee proper, or did in fact strike to the west, perhaps threatening the lives of his son and daughter-daughter-in-law, perhaps on their way back from New Orleans.

And to think this was a glancing blow.

“I am going to check on Joseph. He probably stayed in the barn to keep the animals calm. Then I am going to check on Siegfried and Frieda, and finally ride on into town.” John’s plan is sound, the only way they will know what happened.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #102


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #82

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #82

…This is Mayor Herbert Davis Love of Quincy, Florida for President William McKinley…

“The Mayor is above gossip!” Herbert L. declares, while lifting the receiver off his well-hung wall-hung Bell invention.

As he cranks the handle on the side, a light lights on the Quincy switchboard. Millie’s job is to know whom each light belongs. “Where can I direct your call, Mr. Mayor?” she asks dutifully.

“I have a long distance call to DC 7-1900, if you please.”

“Why, that number would get you Washington. The letters D and C tell me that.” She can hardly contain her curiosity.

“I am aware where I am calling, Millie, please connect me.” He is attempting to stifle further inquisitory participation.

White House Switchboard

She does so, in spite of her nosy-type leanings. It solicits this response: “This is the Executive Mansion. Who is calling and what the nature of your business is.” Millie nearly topples from her chair.

This is Mayor Herbert Davis Love of Quincy, Florida for President William McKinley. He is expecting my call.”

“Incoming operator, please vacate your connection.” Millie is foiled by electronics superior to hers. “Yes, Mr. Love, you are on the list of incoming callers. The President is attending the First Lady with afternoon tea in the Green Room.”

Green Room

Ida McKinley

Herb knows, as do most interested Americans, that Ida McKinley has been an invalid, ever since her four month old daughter and mother died in the same year. The death of their older daughter in 1876, three years later pushes her over the edge. The President’s devotion to her is legendary. “I do not wish to disturb him. Perhaps you can ring me at a more convenient time,” Herbert Love insists.

Without a word from the mansion operator, a strong male voice comes on the line. “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?”

Direct and to the point. Love presumes that presidents do not deal much in small talk; pressing matters must fill in any cracks of his day. The Boer War in South Africa, as well as the Boxer Rebellion in China, which has seen numerous United States citizens murdered in a purging of foreigners, must certainly consume his days and nights. Adding to that, the care of his treasured wife and one wonders when this man has to take a breath.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #82


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

…The USS Maine had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, wanting nothing less than independence…

“What the hell was that?” demands Captain Sigsbee from the smoking bridge of the Battleship USS Maine of the helmsman, who already realizes he has no control of this troubled ship. There is no time for him to speculate. The explosion that has rocked the huge boat now topped by another even more powerful blast. “Abandon ship! Man the lifeboats!”

“Where is Commander Gaskel?” asks Captain Sigsbee about his second in command (Martha Ferrell’s brother) amidst a mad scramble of sailors from deep within the bowels of the ship.

“He helped me and some other guys out of the boiler room, sir,” answers one of the lucky ones. “We thought he was right behind us.”

A captain knows his boat intimately. The only two areas that can produce such explosions, assuming it was not sabotage, are the boiler room and the munitions cache. They are too close together for comfort, but Sigsbee has a notion to retrieve survivors and for a moment it looks like the worst is over. Just then, a final blast rips the stern front the bow, just to the rear of amidship. The stern is more heavily weighted by the coal driven turbines and finds the bottom of Havana harbor first.

The fore of the ship lingers on the surface long enough for the remaining bridge crew and finally Captain Sigsbee to make the last seaworthy lifeboat. One minute more separates the reunion of the bow with its anchor, concluding the disaster in no more than twelve minutes total.

(Music: Sleeping Sun Artist: Nightwish Subject: USS Maine)

They had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, rioting against self- government, wanting nothing less than independence. What or who caused the stay of the Maine to come to a crashing end after only three weeks, will be debated and disputed for longer than the lives of those who survive.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #77


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #76

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #76

…The headline reads: BATTLESHIP MAINE BLOWS UP IN CUBA! Hundreds feared dead….

USS Maine-001

For John Ferrell, nothing could be finer. His business is growing with double-digit zeal. Baby Maggie Lou, nearly one year old, is thriving across San Luis Lake and Martha seems to have family matters under control, though he suspects that she suspects that he suspects she knows something. However it has happened, life does not get any better than this.

Under his arm is the 17 February 1898 edition of the New York Journal, their only true source of news around the country and the world. He has broken tradition by bringing it home unread, for two reasons. The first is to spend more time with his wife, an honest attempt to rebuild the shaky foundation of their marital house. The second and greater justification for this late morning digestion of his favorite rag from the North is that he has delegated individual store managing to qualified others. Daughter Agnes is one of these, seemingly fated to take up the mantle of the retail grocery business.

“It is so nice to have you home more, John. Now you can see how good I am getting at the laundry. Do you want starch on your shirt collars?” She cannot resist cleverly reminding her wayward spouse that he knows that she knows. He will stubbornly ignore any and all of her backhanded inferences on the subject of Laura Bell.

He does, however, give her an authentic, if not real kiss, as she sits in her favorite rocking chair, embroidering colorful flowers on white cotton pillow cases. She lays down the craft, taught her by Olla, to absorb the much needed attention.

A sideward glance draws her peripheral attention to the unfurled newspaper. The headline reads: BATTLESHIP MAINE BLOWS UP IN CUBA! Hundreds feared dead. 

“Oh, dear Lord in Heaven, that is Maynard’s ship!” she frets in disbelief. Her brother, Lieutenant Commander Maynard Gaskel, is a high ranking officer on one of the United States’ finest fighting ships. In the absence of war, she cannot fathom its possible demise.

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……


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #76


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #61

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #61

Chapter Four

THE TREE OF LIFE

Family Trees-001

A family is like a tree. The roots anchor the tree, capturing water and mineral from the ground. The trunk gives this fibrous structure its height and is a conduit for up and down movement of nutrient. The branches project in all directions, sprouting leaves for the gathering of sunlight.

Without any one of these components, the tree will perish. Each succeeding generation of a family must be fruitful and multiply. The Endlichoffer tree, for example has branches in both America and Germany. The European limbs are many, old and established. The American bough, however, is barren, with leaves wilting from lack of buds, all caused by circumstances physical. There may be a day when the surname Endlichoffer will exist only on a death certificate, leaving gravestones as a legacy.

The Ferrell family tree is quite the opposite, with both Scottish and American members sprouting like proverbial weeds. When God created man in his own image, blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’, the Ferrells have taken him at his word, replenishing the earth abundantly.

In fact, they even have leaf bearing branches that they would rather not advertise, sprouts of this and that that are not consistent with the overall lineage theme, as it was started in the British Isles.

A new branch on the Ferrell family tree, as unofficial as it may be, comes about with the birth of Maggie Lou, daughter of Laura Bell, seed provided by John Ferrell.

It is the Ides of March 1897, William Shakespeare’s ominous day for Julius Caesar and a bittersweet 15th day on the shores of San Luis Lake. The Endlichoffer’s butler, who has attended the doctor and his wife for decades and is retiring as soon as Laura regains her feet, had buggied to Hillside Estate to alert John Ferrell of some calamity across the lake.

An early evening ruse intended to mask the truth.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Tree of Life-001

Episode #61


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