Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #67

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #67

We lost our maid Olla to the Endlichoffers across the lake, which is where John went not too long ago… spends a lot of time there for some reason…

A huge English sheepdog bounds up Hillside’s lane, one of two such path, the other being a German version, branching off of San Luis Road. Just how that animal can distinguish friend sheepdogfrom foe through shocks of long gray and white hair covering his deep-set eyes, is a mystery. The Ferrell family dog may have been expecting to “see” his master. Upon further review, he adds an earnest bark to his bushy wagging tail.

The ruckus, interrupts another lazy afternoon, brings the lady of the house out of the large front doors. She greets the visitors. “Good day, Herbert… and Willy Campbell… so nice to see you.”

“It has been too long indeed,” Love admits.

“And you have a young little helper with you… Al____?” she tries to recall.

“Alfrey… Missus. Ferrell ma’am.” Willy fills in the blanks, eager to speak his peace. “We never properly thanked you fo everything you fo alls you did for us.”

“We were prepared to take you in, you know. If it weren’t for Jefferson Smythwick’s unfortunate end,” she points to a smaller version of her own home, the servant quarters, “that may have been your home. In fact, we have an opening. We lost our maid to the neighbors across the lake, which is where John went not too long ago… spends a lot of time there, for some reason. I imagine the old couple take the place of his mother and father, died within a month of each other a while back, hasn’t been quite right since.”

right churchLove politely takes in her rambling in his usually patient manner, before asking, “Would you kindly point us in the direction of John Ferrell?”

“Oh pardon me, yes.” Martha struggles to explain the amount of time he spends there, mostly to herself. It doesn’t help matters that she is not included in these many visits. She assumes it is because Olla is uncomfortable with the hastiness of her departure, the change of employment.

Endlichoffer Chalet-001San Luis Lake-001“You came in from the south, right, well then go back in the direction you came, around the second bay to the southeast side of the lake. The Endlichoffer house has a distinct Alpine flavor. It reminds me of the class trip my college French club took to Switzerland. It looks like it belongs on Lake Lucerne, not San Luis.”

“I believe we spied it ourselves.” Herbert tries to keep him and Willy from permanently bended ears. “We must be going, Martha. We need to be back to Quincy before dark.”

“If you find yourself without recourse, feel free to return here. I would enjoy having the children meet Mr. Campbell. They have been listening to the exciting stories of that liberation night very often. Oh, and we have adopted young Miss Abigail. Thankfully she has none of her late father’s inclination of keeping slaves. She is a fine young lady.”

The sun hurtles toward the western horizon, like a fiery ball downhill.

“Thank you for your kindness, Mrs. Ferrell, the fresh lemonade really hit the spot. Perhaps we will see you later.” Love sees that as a likely outcome, regretting that there is no way of letting those in Quincy know of their daylight dilemma.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Suspicious-001

Episode #67


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #60

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #60

…The emotional bond that first gripped the two youngin’s in the summer, has progressively warmed, simmered, boiled and now threatens to surpass the rim of the pot…

Sweetheart Tree-001

Christmas Tallahassee-001What a Christmas indeed.

Unaware of John Ferrell’s various ins and outs, Martha Ferrell is equally unaware that son James has no intention of honoring the brother-sister relationship, as it applies to Abigail Smythwick. And to be sure, methinks the lady doth protest too much. Maintaining an acceptable decorum, in the company of others, is all that they can manage. The emotional bond that first gripped them in the summer has progressively warmed, simmered, boiled and now threatens to surpass the rim of the pot.

If one ignores something, perhaps it will go away. ‘It is sure to be mere infatuation, you know, a phase of adolescence’, Martha tells a friend, who has noticed how the two act away from home, specifically in her secondary school classroom. True siblings are rarely so close; twins being the possible exception, but James and Abbey are a year apart, the sole apparent separation.

 Take the day before Christmas break, the two week holiday from classes, creating a bridge to 1897. Everyone is anxious to set aside studies. Ferrell and Smythwick-Ferrell cannot wait themselves, to steal a moment during lunch.

“James,” Abbey whispers, “let’s eat our lunch outside. It’s such a pretty day.” She is incapable of suppressing the feminine charms emoting in all four directions and three known dimensions; doing absolutely nothing to establish her sisterly self.

“I’ve got a blanket in my locker. Meet me at the Sweetheart Tree.”

Around the corner, just out of sight, Agnes is an interested spectator, by definition a voyeur, secretly wishing it was she who had a young man vying for her attention. That “big sister” notion at first seemed ducky, idealistically pleasing. But it is obvious that if Abigail’s father had not died, she and James would be on a similar collision course. Adoption into their family has facilitated the attending of the same school which has only served to fan the embers into ardent flames.

Agnes shadows James on the way to the tree that has more initials carved into its bark than words in her favorite books, Little Women. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy were sisters fast and true, something to be admired, just not to be for her. Instead, she sees her brother courting the Meg to her Jo, leaving only Mother to confide in. When Agnes looks closely in the mirror, it is mother, Martha’s reflection she perceives. The end results of that notion are palatable, but only if she could find a man like James. He is the man she wished she could marry.

The younger Ferrell watches, as the rival for her brother’s affection applies her wanting lips on a defenseless, yet willing participant. Agnes has hid these confusing thoughts since from before her blossoming womanhood had intruded on normality. Very little has been the same since. What a cruel twist of nature; knowing exactly how you feel, not ever being able to state her case in understandable terms.

Even more frustrating, is the fact that, if she dares to undermine the situation, no good can ever come of it. Woe is she.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #60


page 55 (end Ch. 4)

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.

Endlichoffer Chalet-001

Episode #59


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #57

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #57

 … Some form of dementia causes John to wander aimlessly about, no sense of whether he is afoot or on horseback…

Here at the stable, in the lamplight, John Ferrell opens the mysterious envelope that had briefly distracted him that morning, nearly forgotten.

This is what it said:

A sudden fever sweeps through John Ferrell, likely flush with excess cerebral blood flow, driven by a racing pulse. The thought of this happening to him was the last thing on his mind, nor had he been exactly consumed by guilt in the intervening months since that hot and dusty July day; all that has changed, starting right now.

Daze

 Some form of dementia causes John to wander aimlessly about, no sense of whether he is afoot or on horseback, as if in a daze. Sitting, standing, vertical or horizontal, no matter his position, nothing jives with reality. All he knows is that when he heads toward his San Luis Lake mansion, he must turn away.

More than an hour passes before he can right himself. He returns to the stable, straightening the crumpled edges of the paper in his pocket. This time he sees the need to act, grabbing a lantern to light his way to the lake, formulating a plan as he goes. His subconscious has been a step ahead of his consciousness.

Laura Bell, thinking that had he intended on meeting her, thought he would have been there by now. The delay causes doubt. Her world seems to be falling apart. Her future at the only job she’s ever had, is obviously about to end.

  There is no reason to ruin perfectly good footwear, so she undoes the high ankle buttons, places them the bench and descends into the calm waters of San Luis Lake, without capturing the one last deep breath that would sustain her for a couple of minutes. She has no intentions of surviving…


Alpha Omega M.D.

San Luis Lake5-001

Despair

Episode #57


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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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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 52

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #52

…Herbert Love completes the final five feet in free fall; Mr. Behind, meet Mr. Ground…

About mid-lane leading to Sumter South, he hears the whimpering of a female cry.

“Can I help you down, Darlin’?” Love carefully urges her. Shock has gripped the girl, who is unable to respond.Looking-up-a-tree

Realizing there is no other way to reach her, he becomes a middle-aged tree climber. It is rather late in life to begin this practice (of animal or nimble youth), but he manages several good footholds, enough height for his long arms to gain him vertical parity with a young woman he believes to be Jefferson Smythwick’s teen aged daughter, Abigail. He remembered seeing her at the Cotillion of this summer past.

“Miss Smythwick? Honey, are you chilly? I have a blanket for you in my wagon. Would you please come with me?”

It is not the warmest of Florida mornings, even at this midday. Chiffon is not a fabric that stands up to a crisp breeze and she acknowledges her state of discomfort with momentary eye contact. Love seizes the moment and reaches for her trembling delicate hand, which prompts a descent more easily done. boy-falling

After two backward moves, which should only have been one, her rescuer completes the final five feet in free fall. Mr. Behind, meet Mr. Ground. The rear landing is more comical than serious, though it manages to rouse the girl to a conscious stream.

“Are you all right, kind sir?!” She scrambles down to lend a hand.

“Yes I am, but I must say that that last step is a doozy.” The pair chuckles at the notion. As the once dignified Quincian brushes the terra firma from his pants, reality resets itself in the countenance of the young Smythwick, as she pans the horizon for what is left of her home. She starts walking in the general direction of where she last saw her father, drawn behind the next largest structure, the stable and groomsmen barn. It had not been totally consumed by fire, perhaps because of the presence of freshly harvested alfalfa. A large oak on the backside of the building used to suspend the rope swing of her childhood.

unthinkableHad he known what awaits them, around the next corner in this neo-war zone, he would certainly have sheltered this fragile spirit. On each side of the oak, a deadly collar has snagged Jefferson Smythwick and his hated overseer known only as Pigface.


Alpha Omega M.D.

A Slaver’s End

Episode #52


page 49

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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