Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #107

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #107

…John Ferrell is most relieved, having thought he would be on his own in his search for the newlyweds, alone in a strange city renowned for its crime and disease…

Aftermath-001

“The animals knew what was comin’,” suggests Willy Campbell, with affirming nods throughout the swaying railroad car he was seated (the 1st-not the last). They too had noticed the strange lack of wildlife as far back as the Ferrell wedding, one week ago. Not to mention domestic creature behavior in the final days.

 “Perhaps that is the answer, yes I declare it is; local weather observers, reporting directly to the Weather Bureau on a daily basis. From Maine to Montana, the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico; temperatures, cloud cover, rainfall… by God even “Bossie’s” milk production or the sudden disappearance of songbirds.

 “Willy Campbell, this is the very reason that you are my right-hand man. You inspire some great ideas.” Love then goes over to Alfrey Campbell, picks him up from his seat next to Doc Ziggy, telling him, “Your daddy is quite a guy, isn’t he?”

The pre-teen merely nods his head. Love can see that the boy’s interest is not in the affairs Related imageof his father. It is the elderly doctor who has captured his imagination. Ziggy plugs the gap in respect by stating, “Let’s hear it for, Willy Campbell, za finest a man can be!”

Applause accompanies the exhortation, embarrassing the former neo-slave. John Ferrell rescues him by asking of Love, “What will be our route?” eager for a stop near the Mississippi Delta.

     Herb Love had anticipated the needs of the Florida group, suggesting, “I think it would be a good idea for your entire contingent to get off at New Orleans. The rest of the train is stocked with aid for Galveston: doctors, food, tents and the like. So if it is all right, I would like to drop you off at New Orleans Union Station and pick you up on the way back through.”

“New Orleans is my town, Herb,” states Jacques Fransoise, as a point of information.

“You have been in Quincy so long; I forgot you hail from Louisiana. Well that is perfect, you all have an experienced guide and with a bag full of medicine thrown in.”

  John Ferrell is most relieved. He had thought he would be on his own in his search for James and Abbey, alone in a strange city renowned for its crime and disease.

At least he will not be alone.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Dog predictor-001

Episode #107


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #104

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #104

…Disaster is about pulling together…

The nation’s capitol is one place where news always travels the fastest. Calvin Falstaff, the Weather Bureau chief, has precious little good news for his boss. Herbert Love receives it in the office of his new friend, President McKinley.

“The strongest hurricane ever known to to make land in North America has hit the Gulf Coast, starting about midway on the Florida Panhandle. It skirted the shoreline, strengthening as it continued west, bore diving into Texas at Galveston.” Falstaff delivers his unwelcome information with grave undertones. Houston is his hometown. “Louisiana was hit Worst Case-001pretty hard to boot.”

“What is the worst case assessment?” The President inquires as to the possible bottom line.

“There may be ten thousand casualties and three times that injured. The entire city may be homeless and to insult to injury, the bridge connecting Galveston to the mainland has been put-out. I have been told it looks like Antietam.” There are plenty fresh memories about the Civil War.

“Damn! Were we not sure that after the low has passed over Cuba that it would simply die out.” This a close to swearing as anyone will ever hear out Herb Love’s mouth, such is the magnitude of a situation where thousands of peoples’ lives are at stake… and they, as a department, provided no warning.

“That afternoon sun of the 7th evaporated probably 10 million tons of moisture and a fast approaching cold front set the stage for a hellish one-two punch,” a scientific postmortem.

Love reacts with the emotion of a private citizen. “I’m heading for home, Bill.”

Disaster is about pulling together.

“Hitch a ride on the relief train,” speaking of an army organized venture and they do not waste time, “but you best hurry, it leaves Union Station on the hour.” McKinley gives his blessing to a critical mission of mercy.

“I am on the way… oh and have my assistant wire my wife about the arrival time. Telephone lines must be down.”

“Give the people of the South a message from me. Tell them that Washington will be behind them all the way.” The man who is campaigning for re-election with a theme of “four more years of a full dinner pail” is currently concerned about the loss of a major Southern seaport, but his heart is always with the people.


Alpha Omega M.D.

“Galveston Before the Storm” by Rene Wiley

Episode #104


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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


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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


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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


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