Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #13

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #13

…Your letters stopped comin’ over a year ago…

Post-funeral mingling continues…

“We’ll all be missin’ her, Doc, just like we’ve been missin’ you,” offers Edwina Stephens, longtime Frenchtown resident and friend to the family. A warm embrace is given to all in the greeting line.

Second in sequence is J. Kenty Johnson, who along with A.O., was one of the first black doctors in the former Confederacy; numbered lower than 100 for the longest time. “You had the finest possible woman, ‘specially for a doctor, A.O. A single man like me can sure ‘preciate that.”

“Thank you, Johnnie. I know I couldn’ta made it through those early years without her. She was a blessin’ to me.”

“To everyone,” it is agreed.

The slow moving, single file line produces a surprise: Hosea Campbell, the wayward older brother of the doctor, who still looks like his vocation, a purveyor of prostitution. He saunters up respectfully.

“I’ma sorry that I ain’t been ‘round these years, Alfrey,” he speaks to his brother using a nickname only the Quincy Campbells use; Alfrey actually being A.O.’s given name. It wasn’t dignified enough.

“How’d Jersey been treatin’ you, Hosey?” asks Alpha, not expecting what would be coming out of his mouth next.

“Oh well, I’m doin’ okay,” Hosey says, changing to a whisper, “but Angie is worried sick ‘bout you. Your letters stopped comin’ over a year ago. She’s thinkin’ you forgot about her.”

The doctor discretely responds in muted words, “Tell Angela and her mother that I’ll be contactin’ them soon. I was fearin’ the warden’s been spying on my mail, don’t need his knowin’ ‘bout Camille.”

Secrets-001

Secrets are undisclosed facts. You would swear that these liberties with the truth would make a heck of a good story, if they did not make such painful truth. And it’s not as though things got this complicated overnight. Years of careless planning have contributed to current circumstances. 1919 was one interesting year, in the deep dark past and the culprit in several indiscreet situations by multiple offenders.

“Camille is married, did ya know?” Hosey is updating the New Jersey news, as they shunt to an unoccupied corner.

It has caught the doctor off balance. “Married?” There is a slight trembling in his voice, reflecting a tinge of unwarranted possessiveness.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #13


page 14

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #12

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #12

…”I keep this picture with me always,” A.O. relates sadly…

BOOK PIC 6 002

The entire front right pew rises, there to pass in front of the open mahogany casket enveloping the unique blended beauty of Maggie Lou Ferrell Campbell; part Cherokee Indian, part black, part Scot, an Oster mix of unlikely combination. She is dressed in her favorite pale green satin dress; the very one A.O. has given her to wear on Easter Sunday, 1955.

Upon seeing his beloved, so real, so eternally quiet, he turns to his daughters and pulls out a bent picture from his coat saying, “I keep this picture with me always.” It says on the back:

Me and Mrs. Campbell—–Easter Day 1955

The year our tribulations began. At the time,

we had no thought of the gathering storm

that broke loose in August; you see no

apprehension in our faces. Thanks for looking.’

“Mamma’s as beautiful as ever, the way I think of her always,” adds Laura Campbell lovingly. She has been joined by her husband, a late arriver, who actually did care for his mother-in-law, though he betrays her in the present.

“And where have you been, Franklin McLoud? We waited and waited for you. Alpha and Vaughn brought us here and thank God they did, little Laura was crying for her grandpa.”

Children are a good source of guilt.

No answer.excuses

“What could be so important that you could be so late?” Good question.

As if he could explain. He was supposed to be one of the pallbearers.

“The funeral director had to take your end of the casket. Do you know how embarrassin’ that was?” Laura is usually quiet, slow to anger. Had she known the real reason for his absence, the present anger may have turned violent.

He takes his place beside Laura, silently, dutifully and deceitfully.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #12


page 13

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #11

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #11

  …We are here to raise a wonderful woman, wife, mother and human being to meet and be with our Lord and Savior…

Funeral-001

Attending Maggie Lou’s casket are six pallbearers and as well as members of the Strong and Jones Funeral Home, who try to blend in with the proceedings; innocently sticking out with businesslike insincerity, professional mourners, if you will.

Pastor Johnson, on the other hand, could not be more sincere, as if it were his blood sister, instead of sister in Christ, laying still and cold in front of him. He summons the word of God and the courage of David, to properly honor her memory.

BOOK PIC 6 002

A.O. & Maggie Lou

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered this day, a woefully sad day indeed, to raise a wonderful woman, wife, mother and human being to meet and be with our Lord and Savior, who sits at the right hand of God Who reigns in heaven, until the day he comes to judge the living and the dead; the day we believers anxiously await. Our dear Maggie Lou has the privilege to experience this first hand. She is surely a blessed addition to a heaven filled with cherubim and seraphim.”

“Amen, sweet Jesus!” shouts one amongst the many. Pastor Johnson glorifies the Lord most effectively, if not exceedingly.

“A man and Amen to the maker and taker, Father to all, lover of man, Wonderful Counselor!!!” Hands lifted to the heavens, hearts on fire, soaring past cathedral roof and the autumn clouds above.

Pastor adjusts the vest of his three piece suit, runs his hands through his totally gray hair, and corrects his wire rimmed glasses, thereby composing himself as best he can for the rest of the service. It is a memorial observance for the ages.

And even though there are few dry eyes, (the exception displayed mainly by those who attend because of obligation, guilt, or just to be seen) the sincere majority is left with a genuine sense of comfort, verily unsurpassed joy. The past hour has been pure revelation, as they usher Maggie to the steps of Heaven’s Gate.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Related image

Episode #11


page 12

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #10

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #10

…the good reverend Pastor Bill Johnson gazing down at his assembling flock and guests, from the top stair of his church entrance…

Faith Resurrection Baptist Church

A solemn motorcade has assembled in front of Faith Resurrection Baptist Church. Directly behind the funeral director, is the same extended-body black Lincoln that whisked A.O. Campbell to his temporary freedom. Trailing behind, in a considerable line, are those less mobile, nevertheless devoted admirers of what Maggie Lou and her surviving husband mean to the community. As he suffered at Starke, in silence, in disgrace, they were out of sight, out of mind.

Without Doc Campbell in the socially lagging Frenchtown neighborhood, they suffer of body. Without Maggie, they are down one friend. Despite the incalculable disparity in the lifestyle the Campbells have enjoyed and that of, say Lilly Chevis, it can never be said of Maggie, ‘That woman is so uppity, livin’ in that huge house and all. And can you imagine havin’ black servants? How nervy can you get?’ Yes, Lilly Chevis helped out at Laura Bell Memorial Hospital, a two story edifice named after Maggie’s mother, their shared kinship is the byproduct of most relationships that include the Campbell’s by habit. Holidays, birthdays, baby dedications, church socials, graduations and sadly, funerals are shared experiences of the community family; each occasion warm and full to the brim.

The Campbell world, the one not fully revealed to Lilly: the university functions, cotillions, fund raising dinners for the politically given and all black ties affairs.

Yet today, none of these detract from the deep sense of neighborhood.

Consider all of the above. These are what bring a throng of mourners to Faith Resurrection B.C.E., the good reverend Pastor Bill Johnson gazing down at his assembling flock and guests, from the top stair of his church entrance. Neither he nor any of his parishioners can recall this house of God’s capacity being so threatened. Although the Sunday after the Tallahassee soldiers arrived back from World War II was greatly packed with grateful souls.

Ushers Harwood, husband to former Campbell nurse, Lettie Golden and Dr. V.L. Perry, the president of Florida A&M, make the most of “Faith’s” interior, including the little used balcony. For this service, there are extra honoring voices behind the pulpit, which is right behind the flower covered casket.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #10


page 11