Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #140

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #140

…Ziggy Endlichoffer and Alpha Campbell are brushed aside, in favor of so-called experts, as if they were a nuisance, not lifesavers…

“Stay still, sir,” implores Ziggy, who is busy plugging the torso breech with the cleanest handkerchiefs he can find. Alpha calmly assists his mentor, having learned that grace under fire is the doctor’s best friend.

“There is an ambulance on the way!” updates a very concerned Exposition official.

“No!” Ziggy protests. “He should not have a bumpy ride. Ve must stabilize him before he is moved; I think zee bullet is near his spleen!”

By now a circle of lawmen, some local, mostly Secret Service has made a pretty tight circle around McKinley’s prostrate position, with an eye out for the ambulance wagon. Anyone on the outside of this enclosure can only guess as to the condition of the man whose health they fear for.

There is an absence of the normal buzz generated by several hundred people. Stunned shock replaces it. Phoebe Love, with her husband nearby his wounded friend, chooses to do the perfect and only logical alternative to grief: prayer.

“Come near, my friends,” she beckons her known confederates, whose numbers grow upon hearing, “Our dear Heavenly Father, we come before you, broken and miserable sinners, to worship and adore you and ask for your divine healing for your devoted servant, William McKinley. Lord, he lay bleeding from a bullet delivered by one of Satan’s own. Please take him into your loving arms, show him that love, and give him a peaceful spirit, free from despair and pain. May it be your holy face he sees?

We also want to bring his sweet wife Ida before you. Guard her from the fear that will soon come to visit. Give her no reason to grieve prematurely, soften this cruel blow in ways that we your people can only marvel at.

Father GOD, make us a people who love and serve you in all the things we say and do; mere players in your grand orchestral plan.

          “And all His people said……”

“Amen!” rolls like thunder across the plain of souls.

 

McKinley & Cortelyou

“Cortelyou–my wife–be careful how you tell her–oh, be careful.” This is an instant where he cannot effectively protect his frail spouse, fearing not for his well-being, but that of Ida.

“Yes, William, I will be gentle,” promises his attending secretary.

The Exposition electric ambulance knifes through the humanity to gather up William McKinley for surgery at Erie County General Hospital, a nearly two mile bone jarring ride.

“If you insist on taking him on this monstrosity, let us attend him.” Ziggy Endlichoffer and Alpha Campbell are brushed aside, in favor of so-called experts, as if they were a nuisance, not lifesavers.

“Thank you, friends,” is all McKinley can say from on the stretcher, powerless to overrule a situation he cannot control.

************************

A pall is cast upon such a promising September day in the first year of this new century. One career is ended as another is just beginning.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #140


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #133

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #133

…With her hand still in his, Harv’s mind is busy wondering if she may be, “George Eastman’s daughter?…

Judith Eastman-001

Harv Pearson is letting opportunity slip away. He realizes that she would not know why this stranger is asking dumb questions, when he actually knows much of the artistry of photography, merely little of new mechanics.

“No!” he blurts, eliciting terse indignation. He seems intimidated by the woman, not for reasons of business, rather his rusty methods in dealing with a female that he is very attracted to. If she had been a mousy frump, with thick glasses and shrinking manner, he would have already submitting a resume for possible employment at the Reporter. She continues on, lugging her heavy equipment.

Mustering up the last of his courage, he straightens his tie, combing his thick, ever so slightly graying hair, off his forehead. With notepad in hand, he presents his best journalistic look. “Please, Miss, I do not wish to be a pest…”

“You are about to achieve that very thing.”

“Allow me to introduce myself,” he extends his hand. “I am Harv Pearson from the Quincy Reporter.”

  “Quincy, Florida?”

“Yes.”

“I have read your pieces on the Gulf Coast hurricane. Very moving, I must say.” She frees a hand to return his formal greeting, reassessing him in the bargain. ‘Not so bad’ she thinks, now that he has been validated in her mind. It occurs to her that she values who a person is, rather than accepting them sight unseen. She still has a chance to correct that flaw in her character. “Judith Eastman,” she offers simply, “and forgive me for my lack of manners. When I’m at a task, I tend to look past other present matters.”

She flashes an absolutely charming smile, heretofore masked by her tunnel vision.

    With her hand still in his, Harv’s mind is busy wondering if she may be, “George Eastman’s daughter?

“You flatter me, sir; sister yes, daughter no. But a good guess nonetheless and no doubt because you are up on things.”

  “I do try… is it Miss Eastman?” She nods for him, which is a concession for her, considering she still wears a gold band on her left ring finger, even though she has been divorced for going on ten years. Judith does not harbor many particular fond memories of the mistake, but the ring allows editing her potential suitors, at least the ones who care about marital status. Harv Pearson never bothered to look, a case of dumb luck. “I truly believe that photographic pictures will take the delivery of news to a higher plain.”

“We think that as well, Mister Pearson.”

“Make that Harv and the Eastman vision in the discipline goes without saying.” Judith’s family is to photography, as the oceans are to water.

“I’m not sure about my artistic expertise, but I do take new equipment to the field. That’s why I am here, testing a commercial version of my brother’s hand held box camera.” She underscores her role in the success of the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company, now Eastman Kodak.


 

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Episode #133


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #132

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #132

…I could not help noticing you down the hall. That is quite a camera you have there…

Quincy Reporter-001

   Perhaps the only person to go away hungry is Quincy Florida’s own, Harv Pearson. A bound notebook and pencil replace his knife and fork. He views this room as a smorgasbord of information; hundreds of column inches for hungry readers back home, with the publisher as the sole historian of this grand adventure. He is compiling enough material to fill a special section for the Reporter. In fact, he has sent a wire to his assistant instructing him to prepare for it and be sure to promote the extra edition in next week’s paper. Word has it, that there are unprecedented advance orders from Midway and Tallahassee and surrounding towns. Harv Pearson has carved a niche in the panhandle on the strength of his good record, strengthened by the solid reporting from the hurricane of last century, i.e. last year.

KodakBrownie1

And as luck would have it, while he is making his interview list, checking it twice in the outer hall, he spies a woman lugging one of the newest cameras, looking like she knows what she to do with it. By his estimation, she is firmly entrenched in her thirties and wearing those years very well. Aside from her pleasing appearance, he had to wonder what a photographer could do for his cause, knowing full well that his newspaper has maybe not fallen behind the times, but his high school intern toting a tiny Brownie box camera hardly puts it anywhere near the top of the picture curve. Pearson, because of the lead time required for developing the film, inserts his pictures in the next week’s edition, unable make the previous deadline.

Judith Eastman-001 He is transfixed by the person, as well as transposing her talents into his situation, nearly missing the opportunity to meet her. Harv quickly closes the gap between him and her, aiming to change her awayward direction.

“Miss, oh miss?” he calls politely, not wanting to just grab hold. She stops, turning in response to the hail. “I could not help noticing you down the hall. That is quite a camera you have there.

  “It should be,” she states flatly. “There should be only ten others like it in the country.”

“Ten? My goodness. You must be employed by the New York Times.”

She is not exactly put off by his approach, but he probably would have been better off introducing himself from the start. Right now, she thinks either he has had a few cocktails and got bored with his wife, or is some curious tourist really into all the new gadgets around this confluence of commercial technology.

“No, actually I am attempting to preserve the Pan-American Exposition through pictures. I am on my way to experiment with night photography, so if you will excuse me——-?”

He is letting opportunity slip away.


 

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #119

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #119

…McKinley and Roosevelt carry two out of three voters, so the last year of the 19th century goes quietly into peace and prosperity…

1900 elction

The way it looks, especially considering the response of his government to its greatest natural disaster, save the rare and powerful earthquakes that hit the Missouri territory and the Mississippi River valley in 1811 and 1812, William Jennings Bryan will fail once again. You cannot time a catastrophe any better. All of Bryan’s warnings about imperialism and need for free silver will fall on generally deaf ears.

1900 population

 

But the United States is still comprised of pockets of population, some large, some small and you best not take anything for granted. McKinley will not. Vice-president in waiting, Theodore Roosevelt, joins the campaign train, as the well-traveled locomotive stays out on the rail-trail, playing to multitudes, by 19th Century standards.

Herb Love is the lead dog, making sure each successive city on the railway system is properly notified of the Presidents’ coming. Local political organizations take it from there. Whether they are a part of the majority party or not, the presence of the President, past, present or future is a big deal and the perfect opportunity to align yourself with a winner.

Sec. of Ag-001

Hurricane-001

Love diversifies his mission, recruiting telegraph operators for the Weather Bureau reporting program, along the way. There is no use wasting this unique chance of crisscrossing America’s heartland. Nor will he spend October away from his wife, who would make a wonderful first lady, should her husband be infected by the excitement of political campaigning. It is a long shot thought, but given enough exposure, the Love pair has the right metal; sound moral leadership for a global force whose population is exploding to the power of ten.

          Future possibilities aside, the task of re-election is formidable. Not only is the population spread out, like seed from a cottonwood tree. Candidates must convince the electorate to go out to vote; to town halls, schoolhouses and churches, sometimes braving inconveniently poor November weather. They must be reminded, in case they have forgotten, that their forefathers have fought many battles for this very inalienable right.

But battles are something most Americans would rather forget; Revolutionary, Civil, wars with Britain and Spain. Toss in an angry native Indian unrest and you have a nation of people who are intimately aware of conflict and loss. Who can blame them for wanting to forget?

RED -McKinley (1900) BLUE – Bryan

Yet, despite negative factors at work, 14 million voters make their choices known. McKinley and Roosevelt carry two out of three voters. The last year of the 19th century goes quietly into peace and prosperity.

 

It is time for a fresh one hundred years


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #119


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #93

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #93

…The wedding of James and Abigail is one of the regions’ grander events and caps-off a summer of millennial nuptials…

Today is a good day to begin anew, a red letter day, making promises that you are expected to keep, be it to yourself or another.

Poor Abigail, if only she could be a fly on the wall or perhaps a tree. She may be more adamant about her betrothed stated devotion in the ceremony to come. She is about to become an innocent pawn in an ongoing game she does not know how to play.

Enough of the ignoble details. Nobody here would be interested… well, maybe they would, but for the purposes of propriety, ignorance is the watchword.

Reverend Watkins

Reverend Watkins, a Negro preacher of some renown, brings the festivities to order by announcing, “This is a day that the Lord our God has ordained. We gather here, on this wonderful day, to join James and Abigail and Abigail to James, completing a union that is rooted from the first man and woman. But unlike Adam and Eve, the Mother and Father of us all, these young people will not taste of the forbidden fruit. They will treasure each other, like God treasures his creation.”

The reference to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the marker that set the liturgy in motion. James takes his place at the altar, watching the three sets of attendants, followed directly by his father. The congregation of accomplices is topped off by the most radiant bride anyone will ever see.

20th Century-001

One and all are turned around in their chairs to watch the bride, craning to view and review. This is one of the regions’ grander events and caps-off a summer of new-millennial nuptials, reducing the others to insignificance,

      Phoebe Love is one of those interested onlookers,  seated alongside the Campbells. The Quincy mayor’s wife has not seen a single wedding this year. Neither have these elite attendees seen a Negro family, headed by Willy and Amanda, shoulder to shoulder with them—note: not in the rear of the back.

The Wilsons and Lewis accept this social integration, however grudgingly, ever so slightly squirming in their judgment chairs. It is hard to completely shed a century of prejudice, though they will keep wearing their game face.

Ironically, there is not a man or woman more genuinely happy to be there than Willy Campbell. He has watched the bride grow up, all the way from the tragic death of her mother at birth, up to the morning after the night of infamy, when they learned of her father’s unkind demise.


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #85

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #85

Meanwhile

At the Ferrell household

… The future couple, just exiting their teen years, seems to have aligned the cogs in the gear of life…

Harvard Law School

“It does matter how much you love her, James, you are a twenty year old pre-law student. You do not need the responsibility of a young wife. And what if you father a child? Will you drop out of Harvard to work on some dock by the sea? I would hate to see your dreams and aspiration blow away like so much dust.”

Sweetheart Tree-001      These are the concerns of John Ferrell, who has just been informed that his son intends to take a bride; the Smythwick girl they had adopted two years past. Despite the high degree of maturity that the intended couple displays, it is his voice alone that is the lone foil to their plans. Wife Martha has been drifting in and out of reality ever since her brother perished aboard the battleship Maine. And of course the ensuing brush with the sordid minutiae of an increasingly complicated family life does not help.

“Father, this should come as a surprise to you… you know how dear Abbey is to me and I cannot afford to enter another year of school without her company. The distraction of her absence has a detrimental affect on my studies, which is why I matriculate to Massachusetts in the first place.” James’ focus cannot be denied.

Abigail Smythwick“What will Abigail do in those years before you apply your craft?” John attempts to find cracks in this uncured foundation.

“I have been promised that my versatile wife is to be welcomed on the staff at the campus law library, which you know, will be of great help for me in the future. Mother has been kind enough to teach her library science. You met her in a library, right?” The question is rhetorical.

The future couple, just exiting their teen years, seems to have aligned the cogs in the gear of life. “Mother has given us her blessing.”

“I can see that my resistance is futile,” the elder Ferrell concludes, adding, “Have you told your sister?”

“No, but I plan to take Nessie for a ride over Ziggy and Frieda tonight. I will make the announcement then.”

John knows that Agnes will not take the news very well. He does not quite why, he just knows. He fears for his daughter, who has the deportment of a woman in her fortieth year, fully twenty-two years down the line.

“I wish you luck, son.”


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #84

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #84

…I do not think we have ever had a Herb in the Lincoln Bedroom, it is yours for the duration of your White House stay…

The Lincoln Bedroom

“I will dispatch my train to fetch you this very day–if that suits your schedule. It would reach you tomorrow about this time and would expect Mrs. Love to accompany you. A wife should never be separated from her husband for long stretches of time. God has made them largely frail creatures.”

“That is if you consider the Statue of Liberty frail!” Love corrects.

“Well put, good sir. My dear Ida may not be able to run to my side, but should I get on my high horse, she can turn me around with a mere look, if you know what I mean.”

“I do indeed,” agrees a kindred male spirit, who inquires further, “Shall I make reservations at a…..”

“No, no , no, Herb—-may I call you Herb?”

“Certainly.”

I do not think we have ever had a Herb in the Lincoln Bedroom. It is yours for the duration of your visit, though I suggest you start your search for more permanent accommodations in the future. I will assign my personal secretary to aid you in that endeavor. Suites are in short supply here, seeing that most Senators and Congressmen take up residence during legislative sessions.” McKinley continues, “So, I will look forward to meeting you in person, Herbert Davis Love. I am sure I will not be disappointed. You are a man after my own heart and I think will have a productive, if not lasting relationship.”

“I believe so; Mr. President and we will see the day after tomorrow. That would be 14 August, yes?”

“You are a man of detail. I like that.” President McKinley thinks of a forgotten particular on his part. “Oh my, yes, I hasten to add that should pack your formal attire, as we will be entertaining a Brazilian delegation on this Saturday eve. They are a burgeoning producer of agricultural goods. It is a fortunate coincidence that you will be here for me. You can help uphold and protect our interests.”

“I speak very little Portuguese, sir. What I do know, is that Brazilians are quite the entrepreneurs.”

“Shrewd?”

“Very.”

The President is impressed. “It is a shame that you were overlooked back in ‘97. Oh well, that is water over the dam, is it not?” This is in light of the fact that James Wilson is no slouch. “I must be going. Ida needs her rest. I will send an attendant for you to assure your safe journey.”

  It is an abrupt ending to a ten minute conversation; a ten minute slice of American history that only four people have intimate knowledge. There are seventy-four million beneficiaries herein, whose bodies know no other needs than food to eat and clothes to wear.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #84


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