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


page 54

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #58

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #58

…  Old friends and neighbors do not ask too many questions…

Without capturing the one last deep breath that would sustain her for a couple of minutes, Princess Olla submerges herself, without intentions of surviving.

John Ferrell sees the black shoes on the bench and correctly guesses the rest. He searches for bubbles and dives in the water at that spot. Several inspired strokes in his pitch-black underwater probe, he touches saturated fabric. He prays it is Laura’s dress, grabbing what feels like the collar and lurching for the surface of the lake. It takes more strength than he has, but what he has not, the rest is provided. Two bodies break above water, both gasping for air.

San Luis Lake-001   The rescuer knows how critical every minute is, if his unborn child is to survive. With a display of superhuman strength, John Ferrell carries an unconscious Olla the distance back to the stable, then deciding not to stop there, ferrying her to the house of his neighbor, a retired physician around the south side of San Luis Lake.

Old friends and neighbors do not ask too many questions, like, ‘How often do you save drowning people at this hour?’ or ‘How did you know this woman is with child?’ Instinctive, Doctor Siegfried Endlichoffer resurrects his black bag to treat a patient he is already familiar with. He has spent many an afternoon picking Princess Olla’s brain about what she knows about life on the Apalachee Indian Reservation, as he spoke to the Ferrells’ maidservant and gained her confidence. As it turns out, it is he who provided Olla with the skills of the written word, as rudimentary as it is, even though his native German tongue would be easier for him to relate.

Princess Olla Early Years

He wields his stethoscope skillfully, timing the hearts of both mother and child, like he had never put it down. Prone and scared, his patient stares down her clothes less body, watching the cold steel disk move from her chest down to her burgeoning belly. She is not used to being naked, whether it be in the presence of the doctor or John Ferrell.

This modesty keeps the latter in another room and frustrated, nervously pondering all the numerous ramifications. Most of these scenarios fall on the side of social disaster. He cannot imagine how Laura Bell can return to Hillside Estate, whether the baby survives or not.

After what seems to be an eternity, the crusty German emerges from his den, leaving Laura to don one of Frau Endlichoffer’s house dresses, with plenty of whom to grow.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Ziggy-001

Episode #58


page 53

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


page 52

Alpha Omega M.D. #56

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #56

…Fitfully, Princess Olla strains her limited abilities to transfer her thoughts to paper…

“The Letter” by Camille Corot

Holiday preparation for Princess Olla is absolutely opposing to that if the family outing in the city. Hillside Estate is empty in the final days leading to Christmas Day, albeit perfect for Olla/Laura Bell to prepare her own special holiday presentation. A gift-wrapped box cannot contain that which she has in store.

    As a matter of fact, she has been making this gift for five months. Hand crafted presents are a tradition for those who cannot afford store bought; lovingly knitted, baked, built or written, with more love and care than anything the Sears & Roebuck Company catalogue can provide by mail. And surely none of the shops in Tallahassee can match the fruits of Laura’s effort.

Fitfully, Laura Bell strains her limited abilities to transfer her thoughts to paper. What to say and how to print it, with just enough literacy, but a wealth of emotional fuel. She takes her time crossing he T’s and dotting the I’s.Laura Letter-001 When she has finished the 180 word letter, she must find a spot where John will be the first, and hopefully only, Ferrell to read it. That will be a challenge, but her gift singles out her employer, whose warmth and kindness makes Laura feel loved, inside and out.

In the end, she chooses to hand delivery method. The stable-boy personally gives the peppermint extract scented envelope to John before he leaves for his day at his stores. He only raises his eyebrows for a second, stuffing it in his coat pocket. Hear no evil, see no evil.

To prepare for her surprise, Laura wears her Sunday dress, a Martha hand-me-down of black silk and satin. It is tight around her middle, but she is still more than comely. She

“The Stable Lad” by Franz Adam

waits for John to ride up on his chestnut charge, on a bench, she has just about worn down as she fidgets. San Luis Lake waves are lapping on the shore, a stone’s throw away.

The December sun sets early on the day of the winter solstice. Overcast skies make night riding prohibitive, so John makes it a point to be home before dark. It has been a typically busy day and did not have the chance to read the letter placed in his hands. He is late enough that his stead finds the way. Here at the stable, in the lamplight, he opens the mysterious envelope that had briefly distracted him that morning, nearly forgotten.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Upstairs Maid-001

Episode #56


page 51

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #55

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #55

…Father and I have petitioned the courts of both Gadsden and Leon County to allow Abigail to be a permanent part of our family…

And Abigail makes three Ferrell kids

Martha Ferrell has taken this family aspect to the next level. She chooses this warm and fuzzy outing as an opportunity to spring some exciting news on all but her husband. “Children, I want to sit down on this bench,” pointing to the one outside Simpson’s Drug Store.

Abigail sits dutifully on one end, with Agnes charging to the spot next to her, leaving James for the other end and none too pleased. He rarely strays too far from Abbey’s side. His sister manages to do what Mother has not been able to do; separate the two young and taken hearts.

Abbey, as is her nature, creates a compromise. She unseats herself, scooting Nessie to one side, while placing her in the middle. Done.

James’ version

“Thank you children… Abigail. It is important we be civil. We have some wonderful news for us all.”

The Ferrell “children” are thinking along the lines of the family gift; maybe a new wardrobe for Agnes or a champion thoroughbred to James’ liking. Neither is the case.

Father and I have petitioned the courts of both Gadsden and Leon County to allow Abigail to be a permanent part of our family. Abigail Smythwick Ferrell. How does that sound?”

Well you could have knocked James over with a hummingbird’s feather. He has pictured (in a young man’s fancy) Abbey owning the Ferrell name by marrying her into the family, certainly not as a step-sister.

Agnes is overjoyed. The big sister she always wanted; sharing beauty tips and boy secrets and clothes… well maybe not clothes. That would require a full-time seamstress.

Sisters

Abbey’s version

Abigail’s emotions fall somewhere in-between. She too has had private aspirations on being a Ferrell, again as a wife, not an adopted sibling. Womanly dreams aside, her feelings of group membership are unmistakable. She has also seen enough of Southern relations to hold hope that certain moral stigmas can be conveniently negotiable. “I would be rightly proud to consider myself a Ferrell.”

At closer examination, without a blood relative on the North American continent and few inherited friends of her father, her choices are none. Plus, she is near enough to Sumter South to have a hand in its future; quite a land holding for one so young.

“Consider it done,” assures matriarch of the family, whose involvement in Campbell matter has turned out to be a life changing experience.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #55


page 51

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #54

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #54

…The colors red and green dominate store windows and fronts; Father Christmas and Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus…

Christmas Tallahassee-001

If you wake up one day in the month of December and you happen to be in Tallahassee, Macy's-001Florida, you may find yourself rubbing your eyes in disbelief. If you did not know better, you would swear you were in New York, on Fifth Avenue, possibly across the street from Macy’s Department Store, for all the pre-holiday magic on display.

Father Christmas

Lamp poles sprout evergreen branches. The colors red and green dominate store windows and fronts. Father Christmas and Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus are the prominent figures, with angels and elves and reindeer and Mrs. Claus sprinkled in for supporting cast. The tangible visions of ice and snow are out of place, soap shavings and white sand used as stand-ins for real snowflakes whose existence in the sub-tropics is fleeting or confined to Herb Love’s cold storage warehouse.

Ferrell's Grocery-001It is this holiday, that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, which brings the Ferrells to the business district for their annual nighttime stroll, meant to renew their spirit of the season.

This has been a good year in many ways. Ferrell’s Grocery helps feed the capital city, which in turn supports the Ferrells in high style. High styling translates into a large family purchase, being brainstormed on this evening walk.

The spirit of the day is goodness, close and loving. The Ferrell’s are growing into that kind of unit, seemingly maturing in unison.

Goodness is Abigail Smythwick. Her presence at Hillside Estate has put each of them at their best behavior from the very first day. The fragility of her traumatic circumstances took the edge off of every possible crisis, especially in the beginning. As Abigail improved, her princess-like demeanor becomes a contagious influence and thereby a genuine part of the family.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #54


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