Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #105

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #105

… Their riverboat got washed up onto Delta mud, very early into the storm surge and no one can get to it at least until the enhanced tide recedes…

Democrat-001

The Tallahassee Democrat is emerging as the print voice of Florida’s capitol city. It is in no way aligned with the political party of the same name. It is inspired rather by the inspired notion of government for and by the people; elected or replaced on the merit of their service.

    The young editor, freshly graduated from Florida State’s School of Journalism and the son of the paper’s owner, Fulton Allanson III. That would make his son, Fulton Allanson IV. He is filled with optimistic idealism and a deep love for the city of his birth, education and vocation. He has promised himself to be a defender of the truth, therefore the people who buy their newspaper.

John Ferrell is a contemporary and friend of Allanson the third. He has made it to a room filled by typewriters and people pecking them furiously; in a glassed-off office, on hand to deal with a story of regional and global ramifications.

        The younger speaks to John’s questions about New Orleans. “The storm slammed the Mississippi Delta hardest, at the mouth of the Gulf. That is not a heavily populated area, but there were several river boat cruise ships out and they did not fare well. We obtained one ship’s manifest lists your son and daughter, adopted Smythwick… I mean, well James’ wife, you know.”

“Yeah, I do, but can you tell me what happened to their boat? Tell me straight now.”

It got washed up onto Delta mud, very early into the storm surge and no one can get to it at least until the enhanced tide recedes. There is no method of transportation able to navigate the shallow water and insufferable muck. Whoever stayed with the ship, not tossed out or foolhardy enough to board a lifeboat, is likely still alive.”

“When can you find out of the fate of my children?” pleads Ferrell to the elder Allanson.

“We have our hands full here, John,” he reminds, but we happen to have a correspondent in the Delta region and he is already checking local connections there. He followed James and Abbey around for a while, then covering the Tallahassee Junior Women’s Club outing. He’s got to find out their fate as well, somewhere in Louisiana.

Mississippi River Delta

“Agnes was supposed to go on that trip, but she has not been feeling well, since the wedding that is.”

“Yes I noticed.” The Allansons had attended, knowing of which he speaks. “She should be happy she stayed behind. The rest of those socialite girls will not be straying far from the Panhandle any time soon.”

Any survivor of this most radical atmospheric outburst will count their blessings.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #105


page 96

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #103

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #103

…John Ferrell’s  next visit uncovers three adults, one toddler and one Campbell, still in the company of potatoes, carrots and glass jars filled with a homemade assortment of preserves…

45f2e-knock-me-down-with-a-feather

I am going to check on Siegfried and Frieda, and finally ride on into town.” The plan is sound, the only way they will know what happened.

   “Do not forget Laura and the baby. Ask if they need anything from the store.”

  John is taken aback by his wife’s reference to Laura Bell’s child. He did not think she knew and now wonders what else she knows. There are more pressing matters, but it kind of makes him say, “Hmm…..”

Joseph had indeed stood fast with the livestock, saddling John’s jumpy mount in double rainbow-after-the-stormtime.

“Do your best to restore some order here, Joseph. I have a feeling we can number ourselves among the fortunate. And make sure you keep an eye out for looters. If a state of confusion reigns, those who think they are above the law may take advantage. You know where I keep the rifle. Make sure you clean it, using it only as a last resort. But we must protect what is ours.” There is a hint of anxiety in his voice, fearful what he may find in Tallahassee proper.

In the meantime, his visit next uncovers three adults, one toddler and one Campbell, still in the company of potatoes, carrots and glass jars filled with a homemade assortment of preserves. The cool damp shelter is meant to be a change from the tropical climate above, like the icebox above them in the kitchen. It makes for good sleeping weather, which they are, all snug in their blankets and in the absence of light, obviously oblivious to the new day.

Read About It

“Ziggy?” John whispers gently at the slumbering doctor. “Ziggy… don’t get up. The storm has passed, nothing serious to worry about, just downed trees and lots of rain.”

San Luis Lake has swelled up to the boards of the docks, whose boats have been deposited on this north shore. The waters of the lake are awash in grasses, leaves and branches.

“Vere did za storm come ashore?” Ziggy asks the critical question about any hurricane making landfall. And it was not just a tropical storm.

“I cannot be absolutely sure, but from where we are sitting, it looks like to the west, I guess I will find out, going in the town presently. Our telephone is on the blink.” It is amazing how easily a society can be spoiled. They have had the Bell invention for less than a year, yet it has become a sixth and seventh sense. “If you would, check on my girls… at the estate of course. I should be back late afternoon, can I get you anything?”

“Have you any veal? I am getting sick of rabbit stew.”

“Too much of a good thing my friend? I’ll see what we have in the cooler, if we have a cooler that is.”

 Disaster is about pulling together.


Alpha Omega M.D.

“After the Storm” by Tom Thomson

Episode #103


page 94

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


page 93

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #101

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #101

… Out of nowhere, the shallow based ship pitches to the port side, tossing passengers about like rag dolls…

Robert Irwin Oil

300 miles to the west of San Luis Lake and into the dark of night, a happy couple is about to wrap their wedding holiday in grand style, with a riverboat cruise into the Mississippi River Delta. The stern-wheeler is outfitted for delight, restaurant and jazz bands dotting the large decks.

James and Abigail have previously digested the city of New Orleans through the eyes (and stomach) of youth; such are the sinfully rich pleasures by those who may well be aligned with the “dark one”. It is no place for the feint of heart or those who easily blush. Neither are they so innocent, but for being accustomed to a more sedate lifestyle. Their eyes have been sufficiently opened wide.

It is about time to return to normal.

But not until a floating experience that will cap what has been a glorious beginning to married life. With innocence mostly intact, they plan on making the most of this evening preceding their return to the real world.–

–The boat is fully loaded this 8 September Friday night, with one hundred other eager cruisers ready to leave the dock. The lot of them are equally ignorant to what is about to come, including the crew, who navigate in the artificial light of beacons. They cannot see the swirling mass of weather above their heads.

If ignorance can be used as an excuse, then the fact that they were miles downstream, when they had no business leaving the dock, may be ignored.

Out of nowhere, the shallow based ship pitches to the port side, tossing passengers about like rag dolls. The Ferrells are dislodged from their dinner seats.

“Hang on to me, Abbey!” James protects his bride from unexpected and unknown forces.

“What’s happening?” a clueless question shared by all.

“I don’t know, but it looks like we’ve come about, heading back to the dock.”

The paddle-wheeler has indeed turned around, driven more by wind and water than steam. In fact, it feels like they are one giant surfboard, riding the crest of a fifteen foot high surge. They are propelled northward with the water, not gaining one knot of speed or foot of distance between them and the wave.

James leads Abbey to the lifeboats, thinking it an option, then thinking twice. Upon seeing an overturned lifeboat crash against the west bank, they grab life jackets.

“Put this on. We are heading for the middle of the ship.”

Getting past a panicking mob proves to be a challenge, with no two people going in the same direction, let alone looking like they have a plan.

The crew’s directions are not clear, more used to light chop or the wake from passing ships. Storm surge from a hurricane is completely another thing. The Captain and helmsman find the rudder has no effect. “Let’s get as far inland as we can,” is the Captain’s only hope for survival.

James and Abbey gain the main ballroom, lashing themselves to one of the support beams. They hang on for dear life in each others arms, their future teetering in the balance, looking now like a mere distant horizon.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Hurricane-001

Episode #101


page 92 (end Ch. 5)

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


page 91

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #99

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #99

…So once again, as father Willy continues on to the city, with milk and ice and cigar, Alfrey is left right where he wants to be…

Endlichoffer Chalet-001

It is just another Friday and as far as Alfrey Campbell is concerned, 7 September does not come soon enough. He continues to live for his weekly day with Ziggy, Frieda and Maggie. Father Willy squelches his jealousy of the situation and the man that Alfrey holds in the highest esteem, speaking of him unceasingly.

Protege-001‘Ziggy taught me _______’ or ‘Ziggy says that _______.’, is all Willy seems to hear. It is Siegfried Endlichoffer who commands the young boy’s respect, not that he disrespects his father, rather the former of the two have connected on an intellectual plain, which may as well a mountain, one Willy cannot scale.

So once again, as father continues on to the city, with milk and ice and cigar, Alfrey is left right where he wants to be; his home away from home, refuge of inner peace and knowledge. “I’lla be back sooner tadee, Alfrey, so you be ready. I ain’t likin’ da looks of da sky. Ain’t been right fo a week.”

Maggie Lou-001   “This is the week you said I could stay until Sunday, remember? You promised. Doc Ziggy needs help fixin’ Maggie a room of her own.” The sprouting black child speaks of John Ferrell’s sequestered bundle of joy.

Willy shakes his head, bewildered. His son is not nearly so eager with his chores at home, excepting his amateur veterinary duties at the dairy.

“Ya best be home fo supper den. Ziggy has ta bring ya home. Caint waste a half day doin’ livery.”

“Yes sir, Daddy,” he yells back, pumping his short legs through the wrought iron gates.

“An tell Ziggy to watch the skies, fo storms, Isa mean.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Calm before Storm-001

Episode #99


page 90

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #98

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #98

…Reports from ships in the vicinity tell us the storm moved straight west to Haiti, where it seems to have lost its punch…

“Is there anything we can do for those people?” asks President William McKinley of his acting Secretary of Agriculture, referring to the tropical system that had just roared over a newly ceded island of the West Indies, now under the jurisdiction of the United States.

“Not really, Mr. President,” replies Herbert Love, “but only because they have not rebuilt from last year’s hurricane. The good news is that, because of Baily Kelly and his discovery, there will not be the scores of deaths from anemia. Health conditions have improved exponentially.”

caribbean

“Puerto Rico has been long-suffering, Herb; Spanish tyranny, civil war, global war poverty, hurricanes, sickness… miseries of Biblical proportions. It is no wonder that New York is filling up with immigrants, refugees and the like. I believe I would swim all there to escape that island.”

“It’s like they are row of dominoes, standing on end. If they started with 100, 75 have already toppled,” Love relates.

          “You know how I enjoy dominoes. I guess I will have to prop up the 76th.” That is McKinley’s way of telling Herb do what he can do to help them. This is how policy is formulated, as simple as a seemingly casual conversation. “By the way, where is that storm headed? Is Florida in the path?”

Sec. of Ag-001       If the Department of Agriculture were an umbrella, the Weather Bureau is an agency under it and one of great interest to a farm owner such as Herb Love. “Reports from ships in the vicinity tell us the storm moved straight west to Haiti, where it seems to have lost its punch. The lowest barometric readings are drifting into the Gulf of Mexico, where it looks that it has stalled and likely to break up.”

“I hope so.” He moves for a peek at his presidential calendar. “By this time next year, September 6th, I want Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Bahamas to return to want they were meant to be: tropical paradises.” He speaks of 1901. “I think I will pay the islands a visit after the Pan-American Exposition. I have not used the Presidential Yacht since my first year in office. We’ll need a long vacation by then, with the election and all.”

Planning so far in advance is common among heads of state. Whether or not made plans change is a matter of fate.


Alpha Omega M.D

#1 Song of 1900

Episode #98


page 90

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #92

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #92

… John Ferrell is one of those blessed by shade, thoroughly enjoying his trio of duties…

Wedding-001

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.

My Project 13-001The wedding pamphlets, designed to inform attendees of the day’s events and their sequences, as well as the ceremonial order and musical selections, are better served as fans, the flapping white papers looking like a flock of doves. The breeze, which is but a zephyr, is out of the southeast, not out of the west or south, as is the norm. At the very edge of the horizon, the one that the sun uses to begin its day has an odd tint to it. No one bothers to notice, caring only to be concerned about what is directly overhead.

There is shade on sight, albeit temporary shielding, the wedding alter and the tuneful string quartet; 100 year old trees cast a shadow over much of the rest. Either dark silhouette can be cut with a knife, so rich is the air.

John Ferrell is one of those blessed by shade, thoroughly enjoying his trio of duties:

– Glad handing greeter

– Father of the Bride

– Father of the Groom

Ferrell's Grocery-001

He is the most recognizable figure, here at his home, as he would be in the greater community due to his three stores. If you live in or near Tallahassee, you can hardly avoid shopping at a Ferrell’s Grocery.

Most folks have come to know and care for Agnes as well. She has grown up right before their very eyes. And as general manager of the chain, her presence is an expected and welcome sight.

So, it not surprising that this Ferrell pair stroll the festive grounds together. They provide for one another, though Agnes gleans more from the company. She really wants not to be caught alone, with her emotional vulnerability singularly exposed. Daddy loves her unconditionally, enjoys her company and will shield her whether he knows he is or not. They make a good team; kindred restless spirits.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Ferrell wedding invite-001

Episode #92


page 85

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #90

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #90

…Da cows givin’ lot less milk, hens ain’t laying right an’ I ain’t seena bird for days… even da dogs don’t come out from da porch…

Animal Panic

“Anything new… down on the farm?” asks the boss.

Willy thinks on it a spell, finally commenting, “All da animals is actin’ differnt, funny.”

“What do you mean.?”

Da cows givin’ lot less milk, hens ain’t laying right an’ I ain’t seena bird for days. Even da dogs don’t come out from under da porch. Animals is smarter than folks give propers for. Too bad they ain’t one of ‘em that can talk.”

“You are so right.” Love has no explanation his own self. “Say, how is young Alfrey doing?”

  “I sees him Tursdees an’ Fridees, you know fo da city load, but he’sa studyin’ da rest of time.” Willy is beginning to accept, perhaps even allowing himself a pinch of pride about the academic leanings of his youngest son. With Hosea off in Atlantic City, involved in who knows what, he knows he best do his best in encouraging Alfrey in what he is good at; not that he could not have learned to make a good cigar. “He’s been learnin’ all summer too, ain’t stopped to play wit da rest of da keeds an’ such, not Alfrey. Ima tinkin’ da teacher is runnin’ out of things ta teach him.”

“I will contact the tutor. He needs to be a child.” The boy is Love’s pet project, never having a son of his own, yet neither has he supplanted Willy’s role of father.

Alfrey Campbell is the recipient of the best-of-two worlds; a father grounded in good old-fashioned values and a father figure with every resource God can bestow to man. “I think he should take ten days off or so. Is there anything you can think of to keep him busy?”

Ziggy-001“Doc Ziggy has bin after him fo stayin’ evree week we’s go to da city. He takes him fishin’ or goin’ doctorin’ fo the ol’ folks thereabouts ‘hassee.”

Herb is used to “‘hassee” sans the Talla-.

“That is a wonderful idea. He has a telephone.” Not everyone does. “I will ask if this Friday would be suitable.”

“Hold up, Mr. Love’” Willy interrupts. “We’va invite here to da Ferrell boy’s weddin’ to Missy Smythwick. We could go maybe an’ just leev Alfrey behind after.”

What a convenience the telephone has become. To arrange this situation a decade ago, you would have had to send a courier, or a mail train, wasting a week or more, depending on how far away the recipient is, as opposed to minutes. The only rub is that someone needs to be within earshot of the ringing box; if not now, maybe later (And to think that people used to marvel at telegrams and organized mail delivery). One must wonder what wonder the twentieth century will bring next.

“Excellent suggestion, Willy. That way you could take Mrs. Love along with you. She did so want to attend, but with me unable to shake my duties, it looked like she would stay home.”

Love does summarize.

“We have covered a lot of ground, Willy. Thank you for your good work and leave the arrangements to me.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #90


page 83

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 194

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 194

…Now back to the regularly scheduled narrative…

Switchboard

Billy Graham Telephone Prayer Switchboard

On Tuesday March 13th 1951 the Billy Graham Telephone Prayer Switchboard is lit up like a Christmas tree. Partially due to the powerful message delivered and the foresight of young Goldwyn, compassionate operators have been made available, to dispense encouraging words for thee distinct types of people:

  1. Their power went out, hence no alarm and late for work
  2. Post crusade indigestion brought on by anxiety caused by awful dreams
  3. The objectionable combination of raucous kids and rebellious pets or rebellious kids and raucous pets.

And believe it or not, those are the lucky ones of whom were at one of the first two events (Sat.-Sun.).

butFor many who attended the Monday night Crusade, a rousing success can be claimed by all accounts; but…

…But the car ride

…But the bus trip

…But the airplane flight home

…No buts about it… were a disaster.

Related imageStarting as cold rain, leading to freezing fog morphing into freezing rain, weather related accidents, injuries and even deaths are directly attributed to the hazardous driving. Electric trolley lines are snapped by the weight of the ice. Public transit buses crawl along at a snail’s pace. The two major airports are shuttered until the warmth of the morning sun can melt away the hoarfrost.

But God does not abandon His faithful children. Once upon a similar midnight weary, on the heels of the Devil’s dark dare, He (God) took everything away from his faithful servant Job, to test Job’s faith and resolve. And only after Job had lost his possessions, his family, his health (without renouncing his faith in God), was that Royal Wager won and Job’s life was restored; all those blessings and a thousand times more.

As will He restore these recently converted and very inconvenienced in the “Town Without Pity”.

And to be sure, any blow dealt to Pentateuch will be swift and the accompanying drop precipitous.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 163 (end Ch. 16)