Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #161

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #161

…John Ferrell has already assessed his estate and has negotiated the storm/tangle to check on his extended family…

tornado-ii-torrie-smiley

Tornado II by Torrie Smiley

  A branch is considered a stick and many of them are scattered across a quarter mile wide, five mile long path that began to the southwest, in the vast expanses of the Apalachicola forest. It had to be a twister at least that is the consensus of those left in its turbulent wake that marched steadily northeastward to rural Tallahassee, in the early morning hours of a warm early spring night, including a brush with San Luis Lake, which is usually spared any of the real weather. A direct hit surely would have razed the only two man-made compounds on the quaint body of water.

San Luis Lake-001      Now, in the post-dawn calm, with dew points equal to the 65 degree temperatures, everyone in the Endlichoffer household is wielding big sticks; cypress and jack pine strewn on the huge garden whose ground is sustaining seedlings of carrots, beets, potato and squash.

The garden is a family project, a source shared responsibility and pride. The 2000 square foot plot is ever in need of weeding, fertilizing, protection from vegetarian rodents, or watering, though this morning has provided 2 months’ worth of moisture deep into the subsoil. That a bountiful harvest is a bi-yearly event is a miracle in itself, considering that the native soil was mostly sand, without a favorable pH.

As is usually the case, in times of potential disaster, John Ferrell has already assessed his estate and has negotiated the storm/tangle to check on his extended family. Laura Bell and Maggie Lou have not gone away and no matter how convenient it would have been if they did, Ziggy and Frieda would rather give up breathing than part ways with their chalet.

 John has witnessed an evolution, from desperate refuge, in the days of Princess Olla’s pregnancy, to absolute integration into the lives of the dearest old Germans you could ever find. That is why he makes the trek down a well-worn path on a daily basis, under the auspices of a morning constitutional, when it is breakfast he shares… Martha knows.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Well worn path

The Well Worn Path

Episode #161


page 150

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #106

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #106

…”The next time we get decent warning before a blow, will be the first time.”…

And no sooner than the temporal needs are restored to those who have fortunately endured, which nearly all Floridians have, relief crews are assembled to aid in whatever way possible. Phoebe Love organizes the Gadsden/Leon contingent, able to gather the majority of the disbanded Gadsden County Anti-Slavery Society, especially those involved in liberating the Campbells four years ago. Main man Willy Campbell, Hillside Joseph, Harv Pearson of the Quincy Reporter, liberation specialist Jacob Haley and of course John Ferrell, who favors the chance to get anywhere near New Orleans.

Doctor Ziggy has joined up for medical support, likely in short supply, with, going on twelve year old, Alfrey along side. Apothecary Jacques Francoise has emptied his shelves to aid them in dealing with disease and infection.

Bleaker Brothers-001The now Famous Fabulous Flying Bleaker Brothers would surely have added their skills, but they are working the Virginia State Fair followed by the Ohio State Fair; for all their talent, they unable to juggle their schedule.

The rest have been absorbed by the Washington relief train, selfishly diverted to Florida by Herbert Love. But any questioning the stopover is lost in the spirit of volunteerism.

“I am so sorry we did not issue a storm warning’” Love apologizes, perhaps unnecessarily, to the group, while holding fast to his wife, “something, anything that would have saved lives.”

Quincy Reporter-001

“Hurricanes are devilish, Herb. The next time we get decent warning before a blow, will be the first time.” Quincy friend and historian, publisher Harv Pearson has seen and reported on many storms in his long career and though none packed the wallop of 8 September, he knows how fast a tropical storm can explode into a hurricane and ways to predict are slow to improve.

“Thank you for taking me off the hook, Harv, but I promise you folks that, from now on, we will find a way to predict the path and intensity of hurricanes, storms of tropical nature. There are over six thousand casualties in Galveston alone. 6000 Texans no more and John Ferrell here does not know if two members of his family are alive or not. I imagine that every one of you have been directly affected somehow.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #106


page 97

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #91

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #91

…As for the groom, the accompanying guilt will haunt him, probably forever, stealing the innocence from the intimacy in his life with Abbey…

Wedding-001

On that Saturday, 1 September 1900, the wedding of Abigail Smythwick-Ferrell to James of the same, is set to take place on the veranda of Hillside Estate’s main house, the good Reverend Watkins of the First Church of Christ officiating. At 1:30 P.M. the one hundred chairs, borrowed from the Sunday school rooms, are quickly being filled by the fannies of the Panhandles finest.

Martha has recovered her social graces in time to serve as a fine Mother of the Bride, albeit adoptive. Mother saves the day, seeing that Agnes would have been forced to fill that position, even though daughter appears to have risen out her funk, appearing to recover from the loss of her brother to another. That one act of love by James, an act unsurpassed by none in the realm of male/female relations, has satisfied her unanswered needs; memories that cannot be revoked, even the problematic ones.

As for the groom, he wishes upon wish that he could erase his memory. The accompanying guilt will haunt him, probably forever, stealing the innocence from the intimacy in his life with Abbey. He can only hope that the confession of his sin before God will bring forgiveness; their only chance at the perfect life offered by our heavenly Father.

He really is not nervous or apprehensive, merely remorseful. There is a promising life ahead for him, given a probable career in law and a beautiful wife to boot. There is no need to be blue, like the sky, which is high, with thickening clouds, with the closeness of oppressive dew points, clinging to the air and everything it surrounds. 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.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Preacher man-001

Episode #91


page 84

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #53

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #53

…My God, Herbert, this girl is has been orphaned…

Even though she had suspected a cruel end to this most fundamental of revolts, the girl is not at all prepared for this end. She falls faintly, directly to the sandy soil. Herbert Love wraps her in a blanket and cradles her in his compassionate arms, all the while praying for their departed souls. This horrifying moment will forever be etched in his long term memory.

Upon seeing Love’s ice wagon standing idle, seemingly midstream in the drive, John Ferrell, who has the Campbell family with him, stops to check on things. He jogs down the winding lane, passing the grazing team, looking for any signs of life, as did the mayor of Quincy before him. There behind the smoldering barn, he spies four silhouettes: two huddled figures and two swinging.

Abigail Smythwick

Abigail Smythwick

He knows one to be Love.

“Abigail!” He recognizes the other.

Love puts his index finger to his mouth, “Ssshhhhhh,” it implies.

“What on earth happened here?” he asks.

“This is what happens when a concept like freedom festers. Left unattended the infection will kill… and it has.” He has pondered this concept long before adulthood, hence his calling to lifelong dedication to thoughts thereof.

My God, Herbert, this girl is an orphan!” it occurs to Ferrell. That spawns another. “It appears the need for secrecy has expired.”

“Yes, I see the direction you are headed. The Campbells may as well come with me to Quincy. I can get them settled in, stabilize, acclimate and the like. There is no need to hide them away in Tallahassee now.”

Road 1900“And I believe that Martha would have insisted that Miss Smythwick should come to our house. James should be some comfort to her as well.” 

“Yes, that will be good. There is much adjusting to be done.”

  Back at State Road 268, all are in agreement, as to the changes in the master plan. The family Campbell disembarks the grocery truck but there is not enough room on the ice wagon. They will take their final step to freedom on foot, unaware of the fate of their former rulers. Grandma Lettie will ride shotgun, next to Herbert Love, giving him unsolicited advice about his teamster-ing, the way most females are led to do.

Abigail Smythwick wakens to the Ferrell bookends of John and Martha and a bumpy ride on yet another unpaved Panhandle road.


Alpha Omega M.D.

“Bend in the Road” Cezanne

Episode #53


page 50

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #28

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #28

… members  of GCASS come from all walks of life, ages, backgrounds and beliefs; eager, everyone, to join a band of principled folk heroes…

Anti-slavery organizations have been in existence since before the War Between the States. This one in Gadsden County Florida is sneaky, if not low-down & dirty. They are so smart and clever, that nary a person in the Panhandle knows who’s in and who isn’t. Without fanfare, credit, glory, honors they provide dignity, sometimes one person at a time; faithfully for more than two generations.

And it certainly does not hurt to have your members come from all walks of life, ages, backgrounds and beliefs. Eager, everyone, to join a band of principled folk heroes; understated champions of humanity, who happen to risk their lives in the process.

Jacob Haley is the present president of this 19th century band of merry men. He has the lead role as Robin Hood, but doubles as the superintendent of the Quincy Consolidated Schools. It is the kitchen of the Stonewall Jackson Middle School that, not only hosts this month’s meeting of the Gadsden County Anti-slavery Society, but feeds them as well. These men will be absent from their respective dinner tables.         

“School food has improved since most of us were kids, right guys?” Haley both asks and states his case.

“What are these brown things?” quizzes Jacques Francois, with his apothecary’s curiosity for ingredients.

“You mean next to the noodles? Well, I’d guess meat, but I’ll check the menu about what they are calling it–here it is, Barn Yard Surprise. No, I’m kidding. We do have a dietary aid on staff, so whatever it is, it’s nutritious.”

“Nutritious and delicious!” offers another member.

“Eat more peach cobbler, if you have to. And remember, next month’s is at Smithy’s Livery… I believe hay is on the menu.”

“Now, if we can get down to work, we’ll all be home in time to kiss our kids good night,” a gavel-less call to order.

There are plans to be made and a job to be done.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #28


page 27