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 #74

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #74

…This night, when her husband does tarry in rural Tallahassee, Amanda is thinking the worst…

Back in Quincy, there is a struggle of a different sort; the remnants of two families, one staying the course, the other wondering if it will survive sudden changes.

Phoebe Love’s unconditional love for her husband and her God allows her the freedom to trust that everything is all right.

Amanda Campbell, on the other hand, whose tenuous insecurities dominate her previously ignorant consciousness, worries unnecessarily and labors mightily with a son who will forever test his boundaries. Hosea Campbell is smart, but not in a book taught way.

Hosea Campbell

This night, when her husband does tarry in rural Tallahassee, Amanda is thinking the worst. It does not help that Hosea, after completing his duties at the creamery, specifically milking the many head of Jersey milk cows, he pulls his regular disappearing act. Mother suspects that he is up to no good, but has no good ideas as how to shackle a 16 year old, who dresses in fancy clothes of his own acquire and has friends that are much older. The fact that he smokes cigarettes is not as bothersome as the late hour escapades that leave him reeking of alcohol and in need of a swift kick in the morning for motivation.

And even though Willy is usually fast asleep at eight o’clock in the evening, at least he is there for moral support.

Where could he be?

Wayward worries include bands of marauding blacks, like those that had escaped from Sumter South the day of insurrection, seeking booty from revelers along the road to Tallahassee. The true only between them and the Campbells is that the Campbells were “lucky in Love” so-to-speak.. Those who have not gone north to find employment, lingering aimlessly, are surviving on the leftovers or ill-gotten gains, above the law.lions_tigers_and_bears

Or, perhaps they had a broken wheel on that huge ice wagon. They may be forced to sleep in the middle of nowhere, under the stars, potential prey for lions & tigers & bears. Poor little Alfrey would be a mere appetizer for the hungry beasts. Her precious Alfrey must be in danger.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Image result for danger gif gif

Episode #74


page 69

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #73

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #73

…”Young lady, people, no matter what color,” Martha Asserts, “are not meant to be property of a fellow human being – period, and end of subject”…

Abigail-001

Back to the real world. Abigail and James manage to maintain a several-step-stagger for their stairway decent, for appearance sake at least, that they may not have been spending quality time exploring bodily nooks & crannies.

Introductions are made, though one is not needed. Herb Love is her rescuer, warmly received – kind of a stabilizing influence.

Rescue-001 Willy Campbell is another story. She is startled to see him. He immediately reverts to his subservient roots, dropping his head to avoid eye contact.

And she is bright enough to make the connection between her late father’s former slave and Herbert Love; awful recollections, previously buried beneath tons of denial. The destruction of Fort Sumter South, flood back to the present.

‘The Campbells is gone!’ are the cries she remembers hearing that fateful day, more than a year hence.

“You killed my father!” is Abbey’s cry now. “You killed my father and destroyed our lives.”

“I weren’t there, Miss Abigail, I swear!” Willy scrambles to explain.

  “Yes, I believe you are correct, Willy Campbell. You were not there and because Justice2-001you were not, the rest of our people revolted against us and burned and pillaged and killed every white man they could lay their hands on… including my own Father. Why, why… why!!!???,” she asks futilely as she beats her small hands against the chest of the obviously dismayed black man.

Herbert Love steps to Willy’s defense, pulling the distraught girl away. She is detached from reason, to the point of not responding to even her dear James’s loving touch.

“You are all in this together, aren’t you. It makes sense to me now!” Her alleged co-conspirators are guilty of nothing, excepting a deep-seated dislike of the “business as usual” in the south that they treasure. “You just happened to be passing by that day? I think not, sir. I remember seeing every one of you, just like it were yesterday!”

“We did not intend for any harm to come to your father. There was no way to know what effect the freeing of the Campbells would have on others,” Love appraises. He is not in the business of apologetics.

You had no right stealing our property!” she furthers.

“Young lady,” Martha sternly asserts, “people, no matter what color, are not meant to be property of a fellow human being – period, and end of subject.”

“You have slaves, Joseph and his helpers.” Abbey tries to make a weak connection.

“Wrong, wrong, wrong! Joseph is a paid foreman and is free to leave if he no longer likes his job or position.” Martha is fighting the girl’s preconceived notions. “Take Olla, for instance. She left out our house for different situation. She did not even bother properly explaining why she wanted to leave, but that is not the point. The point is, is that she wanted to leave, free to keep her money, in her name at the Lewis State Bank as a matter of fact

… Free is the key word. Were the Campbells or any of the others, free to leave? … I will answer for you in your mute ignorance. NO! If you would take the time, look at things long and hard you might get a clue as to why you are clinging to archaic belief system.”

Abigail Smythwick-Ferrell shrinks in the face of Martha’s human rights passion. She falls to the floor in a heap, like her legs had suddenly turned to gelatin. The shock of recurring lost memories has sapped her strength. James rushes to her side, cradling Abbey’s head, stroking her long, light brown hair.

Martha Ferrell retrieves smelling salts from her handbag, opening the tiny jar and waving it in front of the young woman’s nose. Ammonia inhalants, along with subconscious realization cause her to stir, to the great relief of all.

Sometimes pain must precede progress.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Abigail-001

Episode #73


page 67

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #72

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #72

…”James, Abigail, please come down and greet our visitors… they have come all the way from Quincy”…

James Abigail-001

“Say, where is James?” father John wonders. wonders.

“I will give you three guesses and the first two do not count.”

“Abigail.” Next to 2+2=4, father John’s guess is a solid second. You cannot discern an inch of separation between the two, and no one, save Agnes, who favors placing her adopted sister on a slow boat to nowhere, has a clue on how to douse this bonding fire of love, unless she alienates both. At ages 16 and 17, the threat of marriage is not that uncommon an occurrence at that.

‘What is happening to out family?’ is the concurrent question running through the minds of Martha and John.

Meanwhile‘How will we ever make it to marriage, without making love first?’ happens to be the joint thought of both James and Abigail, continuing on the course on a ship named “Destiny”.

Ferrell's Grocery-001“Now wait a minute, Abbey. I have saved a good sum of money and by the time you graduate from high school, we will have enough left over to get a place of our own in Cambridge,” calculates and proposes James, who has been prudent with the money he has earned as assistant manager of the Monroe Street Ferrell’s Grocery store.

“I am going to petition our school to graduate early… with you.” She had already thought this out, unable to imagine staying behind. Agnes would make her life miserable. “Or maybe I will not graduate and continue my education in Massachusetts. I cannot live here without you!”

Gadsden County Courthouse in Quincy Florida

There is a hormonal symbiosis of souls at work here, neither to be reason or at all resisted. Can true love, at such an early age, survive in the face of contentious guardians, the subversion of a sibling, plus eight years of Harvard Law?

James, Abigail! Please come down and greet our visitors… they have come all the way from Quincy!”  Use of the name, Abigail, means John Ferrell means business. For all his own questionable actions, he had hoped that James would carry on in the family business, even though he acknowledges his son’s aptitude in the direction of higher education.

Abbey adjusts the bodice of her dress, having allowed James access earlier. They just cannot help themselves.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Symbiosis

Episode #72


page 66

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


page 62

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)