Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #66

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #66

…We’re almost at the Ferrells and alls we got left is couple bottles of milk, a block of ice and one lonely box of cigars…

Love Dairies-001

For those along the delivery route to Tally and back, they see what looks like lifelong business partners, pursuing the same goal. Together, the unlikely pair comprises one of the greatest natural hedges against prejudice that exists in the post-Civil War Florida, let alone the remaining rebel states.

Willy Campbell, for all his many travails, is younger than he may seem. The life of a slave is an arduous one, the hard work and sun taking a preemptive toll on his physical appearance. There is a 15 year difference in age of the two men, but you wouldn’t know it or even guess who is older, although he has never been more content. If nothing else, he feels younger.

 “Ain’t that sumpin’, Mr. Love? We’re almost at the Ferrells and alls we got left is couple bottles of milk, a block of ice and one lonely box of cigars,” Willy counts as their wagon rocks forth and back down the dusty road.

“Which is what we had to save back for samples,”Love Dairies2-001 Love reminds, thinking about all the potentiality of this trip. “Heck, if we had brought a gross of cigars and the milk from ten cows we could have sold them. In fact, I am going to make this a weekly trip. I hope we can figure out a back-haul.”

“Maybe Mr. Ferrell will have sumpin’ to take back with us,” Willy speculates.

“So right good fellow.” Herbert is so comfortable in the company of this responsible and reliable man. “Would you be willing to make this run every week? It would be a good way to end the week and we would be well stocked to meet possible increases in demand.”

    “Make sense to me, good way to see the country,” concludes a man who had seen precious little beside Fort Sumter South for much of his life.

“We are an hour late for our appointment, Willy,” Love worries. “I hope John Ferrell will not be put off.”

Their initial entrepreneurial venture to Tallahassee takes more time than they had guessed. Even though they started before the break of dawn, it is already 1:00 P.M. and they have but pre-winter daylight with which to operate; only six hours to make it back to Quincy.

Alpha Omega M.D.


Episode #66

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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…


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.


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

page 41

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #42

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #42

The good thing about railroad tracks is that they travel as very nearly as the crow flies, the shortest distance between two points…

For the record, 30 minutes before the beginning of 5 October, Jacob Haley summons A drawing of the Colt Navy Model .36 cal revolver manufactured in 1851. The scene beneath the revolver shows a group of sailors firing a canon at a distant ship. One of six prints enclosed in a folded cover entitled "A Collection of Colt Historical Prints 1836-1873".the Campbell’s for their flight from servitude. The children have been properly coached in the art of silence, as well as single file marching. Willy leads the way, followed by Hosea, Agnes, Francis and Alfrey, backed by Mother, Grandmother and finally, Jacob, bringing up the rear with a Colt Navy Model 36 Cal.  revolver on his belt and the determination of a charging bull. Willy sets the pace, Jacob backs them up.

Much of the ground leading to the Pensacola & East R.R. right-of-way is woodlot, which provides fuel for all the many and varied Sumter fires. That forest of deciduous trees absorbs this string of conspicuously shadowy figures, formerly highlighted by a full harvest moon.

Uncut windfall and branches make for treacherous going, slowing their all important pace. Jacob is aware of the P&E R.R.’s midnight freight, but does not know where it is on its way west, as the clock strikes 12. His nose tells him that absence of coal smoke means it has not preceded them, his heart hopes that it is still stopped in Tallahassee, taking on much fuel and water after its long haul from Jacksonville.Midnight Freight-001

The good thing about railroad tracks is that they travel as very nearly as the crow flies, the shortest distance between two points; over, around and through natural and man-made obstacles. The stretch from Midway to Quincy is as rugged and secluded as there is on its 400 mile course. The  hills are shaved, the hollows filled by the hills and the Little River valley trestle, making their five mile trek to State Road 268 as easy as possible. Any other way would never do.

Plot-001After reaching the parallel iron rails, a left hand turn is made and the evenly spaced wooden ties are host to eight sojourners, careful to match their stride to each. There will be 13,000 creosote coated 6”x 8” timbers anchoring the rails on the path ahead.

 Alpha Omega M.D.

RR tracks

Episode #42

page 39

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…


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

page 32

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 215

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 215

…I got a special use permit for the stable, so keep you and “our” horses noses clean…Carbon 14 Coaches-001

“I just talked to Constance and she said that they need 3 convertible carriages for the 28th,” Fanny is speaking to the co-owner of Carbon-14 Coaches, Eddie Dombroski. His footman/cousin Rex is where he always is, with the horses. The two of them have assembled three wagons and six horses, every one of them living the kings’ life behind Worth Moore’s new Near North Chicago Louis Sullivan residence. (The coach house concept is quickly losing its relevance in modern Chicago, with automobile garages replacing the buildings where the horses and carriages used to be kept)

“It’s a good thing we hired some new coachmen – two of them are 70 years old for crying out loud – but this will be like falling off a log for them, they were born in 1880 for crying out loud! They are used to the horse ‘n buggy.  I can’t keep from poking the floorboard for the gas and brake.”

For crying out loud.

“You do not need any accidents, Eddie. I got a special use permit for the stable and out of the ordinary liability insurance, so keep the place and your nose clean.” Attorney Moore is ankle deep in horse apples, knee deep in hay and up to his neck in angst.

“Not to worry Worth old boy, Rex has everything under control. I remember when we were kids and I was out visiting his pop’s farm, two of the cows and a goat got through the fence and were walking down the Burlington Northern train tracks on their way to Downers Grove.Well Rex and me jumped on a couple of their hay-burners and went over to round them critters up, which was good because there was a mile long freight train loaded with coal trying to get to the city and the engineer was furious because it takes him 5 miles to get up to speed from a dead stop. But we went over to the General Store and bought him a carton of Camels and a Baby Ruth and he was happy.”

Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 171

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 171

 …It’s a gas to see Willard pump Billy with science and Billy filling Willard with some old-time religion…

When you are young, somewhere between newborn and teenager, your mother holds sway over you. When it thunders, she tells you that the angels are bowling. If your drop a fork, you should expect company. See a rainbow, catch the leprechaun and you’ll have a pot of gold. When you bump your noggin or stub your baby toe, it feels like you’re going to die.

Nearly without fail, mom’s words, ‘It’ll be all right honey, let me kiss it and make it all better’, would soothe the wounded soul.

For Constance Caraway and Fanny Renwick adulthood has come a calling and there isn’t a mother alive who can make things better. For more years than either will admit to, they have leaned exclusively on each other, in the good times and the bad. Whether as best friends or business partners, emotional support comes from the other, needing not the likes of an Ace Bannion or a Worth Moore.

But the times they are a changing.

Ace has becomes the man Constance cannot wash out her hair and there is no hiding it. When he calls to tell her that he is flying the Graham plane back to Chicago for an extended layover, she is beside herself with joy. With Billy absorbing an unexpected open date at the Chicago Stadium (sorry L. Dick) and then taking to a Midwest bus tour on this leg of his Crusade, up pops a one month window with an “ace” in hand.

“Is this Willard Libby’s, sweet sixteen party?” code for Libby becoming part of Billy Graham’s Chicago Stadium Crusade, seven days sold out and counting. Sellouts, even though admission is free, determine how long the troupe will stay in any given city.


Midwest Crusade Tour Bus

“You know it. He’s on a Greyhound Scenicruiser to a KC right now, so he can experience a tent revival for himself, so he can get a feel for the workings of how his presentation will fit in with the program as a whole. It’s a gas to see Willard pump Billy with science and Billy filling Willard with some old-time religion.

Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon

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