Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #153

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #153

… No one listening to this fiery man of God, on that hot June day, really believed that Ezra Elijah is his real name…

Ezra Elijah-001

– Leon and Gadsden Counties, Florida, big business is small and bustling city life is not. If Tallahassee were not the capital of its state and it did not have the two universities, the area more closely resembles southern Georgia or Alabama or Mississippi.

San Luis Lake-001 But it is not and that is a good thing, though as 1902 replaces 1901, there is still widespread poverty in the entire South, including Tallahassee, Midway and Quincy.

The Ferrells, John, Martha and Agnes, operate on the fringe of all that is bad, their place in the community tied to the locations of their three groceries. The neighborhoods are representative of the typical Southern mix; from the affluent Capital Hills to black Frenchtown and not much in-between.

At home on San Luis Lake, they are insulated and isolated from the people they serve. Some would say on the fringe of reality as well.

Once upon a time

      John Ferrell has busied himself juggling his two very different worlds, managing to keep them separate, apparently by the infinite grace of God. For a man who can be formerly categorized as a two-timer on both religious and personal fronts, (attending church at Christmas and Easter, in addition to having children by wife Martha and Laura Bell), he has experienced a revival of such proportions that neither his wife or Laura Bell know what to think, though they do not dare turn down the blessing. They can thank a traveling Protestant evangelist named, Ezra Elijah of the American Bible League, barnstorming Florida with news of the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ; grace being a gift from God for those who believe in him.

No one listening to this fiery man of God, on that hot June day, really believed that Ezra Elijah is his real name, but after listening to him speak on heaven and hell, all they can think of is where they will go when they die. Most of the Tallahasseans watching and listening to the figure, on the back of a well-traveled wagon, are there by happenstance, curiosity seekers like John Ferrell. A core of bible toting black women knew of his coming and are escorting and exhorting him along his way, as far as their faithful walk with God will take them.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Marvel Comic’s version

Episode #153


page 141

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #118

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #118

…Overwhelmed, surprised, lightheaded, exhausted and downright grateful to be home are they, standing hand in hand, friendships forged by fire and sharpened one against the other…

McKinley Speech-001

On this day, it is Herbert Love and the Leon/Gadsden Nine who stand and wave to the adoring masses. Such is the power of the printed word, preceding them with truth-ly tales and a few innocent embellishments, sprinkled with a little imagination.

Democrat-001One particularly inciting article would be considered old news. Fulton Allanson IV had ferreted out an account of the liberation of the Campbell family from the clutches of Jefferson Smythwick and Fort Sumter South. Thanks to Amanda Campbell and Martha Ferrell, a special Saturday edition of the Tallahassee Democrat is printed, solely dedicated to that amazing act of liberating love.

When you add that stimulating story to current heroic escapades and a compelling pattern emerges. These are, by no measure, ordinary people. There is something about them that must be different, so different that one can only dream of such feats. The status quo is resigned complacency when compared to inspired motivation.

However cherished and immortalized, the balconied nine are privately embarrassed by the pomp attention. Overwhelmed, surprised, lightheaded, exhausted and downright grateful to be home are they, standing hand in hand, friendships forged by fire and sharpened one against the other.

When William McKinley finally speaks, people listen, “Are there any greater heroes than these fine nine people?” igniting yet another five minute ovation.

A few of the many who were helped or saved, such as James and Abbey and the humbled  young debutantes of Tallahassee are there at the fore on the ground and cheering the loudest. Martha and Agnes Ferrell, Frieda Endlichoffer, Laura Bell, Amanda Campbell – husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers are right behind them, joyous to be a reveler, instead of a mourner.

“Thank you all for your graciousness. It makes for a homecoming that none of us will likely forget,” tells Herb Love for the group. “And I would like to say that I am proud to count William McKinley as my friend! He is as fine a man as I may ever meet!”

McKinley has since boarded his train, joining an irresistibly juicy photographic opportunity (the back deck of the back car draped in American flaggery) with the most genuine intentions of course. He introduces each of the nine; from a list he has been given, though he could probably do it by heart. The nine are as individual as they are unique, easily distinguished from the other, even you had not seen them before: a mayor and his wife, a businessman, a journalist, a pharmacist, a school administrator, a cigar maker and his son, the protégé of an elderly German doctor.

  President McKinley concludes with the declaration, “I want each one of you to join me in Washington on election night, guest of the First Lady and me!”

Wow! The crowd is ten thousand strong. What a party! But only those, in those twenty minutes short of an hour at the railway depot, really believe he was inviting everyone.

“I was there with you in Philadelphia, when the Republicans acclaimed their support for you,” Herb grabs the megaphone, really getting into this campaigning thing, “and me and my good friends will be there with you and sweet Ida, when you are once again proclaimed President of our fine country!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #118


page 108

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


page 50

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #24

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #24

…The Emancipation Proclamation is loosely applied, conveniently ignored, even mocked by owners of plantations…

Fort Sumter-001

Leon County lays claim to Tallahassee. Gadsen County has its Midway and Quincy. This is like comparing a metropolis to a berg or an employer to a slaver: John Ferrell to, let’s say, Jefferson Smythwick.

 Where Good meets Evil & Right meets Wrong

Blacks take a back seat; their rightful place in the previous equation, according to some and likely to be kept in this place by shrinking number of die-hard racists. Jefferson Smythwick is such a man; Confederate to the bone, longtime slave owner, who refuses to let go of the past. ‘I’m too old to change.’ ‘Every one of my niggers is treated better than they deserve.’

Regarding the first quote, that may be true. As for the second, it is true only if you include third rate food and tar paper shacks as forms of reasonable compensation. The use of the “N” word indicates his level of respect for his “Employees”.

1896 Florida

The Emancipation Proclamation is loosely applied, conveniently ignored, even mocked by owners of plantations the size of Smythwicks’ Fort Sumter South. Five thousand acres of cotton, rice, tobacco and sugar cane require many to tend its fields. Because of the sprawling acreage involved, land is divided into numerous farms, each with its own unique management position: the overseer.

There are very few plantations systems operating in 1896, definitely not sanctioned by any form of government, local or national. But, and a big but it is, the South is still healing itself, a mere 33 years after the Civil War. A tiger cannot change its stripes, so a rebel will always be a rebel.  There is no doubt an 80 year old rebel in the town of Midway.

It is here in Midway, on one of the farms of Fort Sumter South, that we find the Campbell family, living and working as a unit. Willy Campbell is one of the best workers in these parts, a cigar maker by trade, as was his father before him. His combination of strength and aromatic skill make him a valuable human commodity. Wife Amanda, compliments him well, caring for the family in their private shack; a tainted privilege, considering that most families are split up. Some others have headed to the relative freedom north. The Campbells fall somewhere in between.

Amanda also provides the collective with five healthy children, but that counts young Emily, the fourth oldest having been run over by a runaway cargo wagon at the age of 2. Females have less worth than do males, of which Hosea and Alfrey make an oldest and youngest sandwich around Agnes and Francis; four children to grow up in a world of hard work and suppression.

This fine Negro family is viewed from the outside, as the victim of a cruel anomaly. They are, for all intents and purposes, still slaves. Yet they are being treated just well enough that they think they have it pretty good. Slaves are not paid, do not own anything of real value and, most importantly, are not free to “quit”.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #24


page 23

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #19

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #19

Chapter Two

LEON TO GADSDEN

…Introducing the Ferrell family of Tallahassee…

The midday sun shines bright at Ferrell Hillside Estate, especially so in July, when the heat and humidity drive man and animal to a shaded area; for comfort and health. The natural kettles of the Mission Hills, on the northwest outskirts of 1896 Tallahassee, soak up the moist warmth like a sponge. Jack pine trees, trimmed with wisps of Spanish moss, dot the rolling knolls, thereby binding the loose sandy soil.

In the middle of this scenic bowl are the stately buildings that are the core of Hillside Estate. Several well maintained barns, framed by white wooden fences comprise the “farm” portion of the property. The three story house at the epicenter keeps the Ferrell clan in grand style, with the glistening waters of San Luis Lake in the distance. The pointed gables outnumber Ferrells on this four sided granite structure, a building more likely to be seen in New York City than Florida, but that is Martha Ferrell for you. This house is her castle, mostly because she needed coercion and coddling to an ‘Indian infested land surrounded by Confederate rebels’. These days, it would take a civil war to get her to move.

1897-Daimler Grafton Tourer

1896 Model-Daimler Grafton Tourer

And move she does in her new Daimler motorcar, the one favored most by British royalty. She is hitting the open road on the just opened Thomasville Road, on her carefree way to Lake Killarney and a female friend who lives in the small Irish enclave there. She is wearing a white eyelet cotton frock, which gracefully follows the contour of her classically generous figure. Her perfectly coiffed strawberry blond hair is topped off by a wide-brimmed driving bonnet.

This little jaunt will use up the rest of this day and most of the next, with a side-trip to drop off children James and Agnes at a day camp at Maclay State Park, which is on the dusty trail.

“Agnes–James! Joseph has the auto started; let us be on our way!” The Ferrells’ manservant uses his field-honed muscles to crank the new engine into motion. Hopefully there is a capable someone at her destination or every time she needs a restart. No matter. Will she not look fine standing beside it regardless?

The Ferrell children arrive, prim and proper, if not overdressed for camp, armed with huge bags stuffed to the point where rope is needed to keep them from bursting at the seams.

“Please put our bags in the boot, Joseph.”

Looking at the available space in the rear, or rather the lack of said, the Negro helper says, “Yessum Ma’am, I thinks I can do it.”

On his way up the path from the stable, is John Ferrell, husband to Martha, father to 16Ferrell's Grocery-001 year old James and 14 year old Agnes. He has stabled his Saddlebred stallion, after spending the morning at Ferrell’s Grocery chain’s largest store; taking care of a good sized business, five miles and 45 minutes away on horseback from their San Luis Lake home. He slaps off the dust that has accumulated on his person, mostly because there are far more dirt roads and streets than hard surfaced, even in the Capitol city; three plus years from the approaching twentieth century.

“Hey, you Ferrells!,” he calls out, “I’m surprised to see you still here. You are burning daylight. Lake Killarney ain’t around the corner, Martha, closer to Georgia than Tallahassee.” There is genuine concern in his voice. He loves his family, though the time he spends working helps makes up for a general shortfall of attention given to him.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Map-001

Episode #19


page 18

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #330

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #330

…Both A.O. & JOB had endured the worst that the Devil could do, short of laying a hand on them…

job_on_the_dunghill-by-gonzalo_carrasco_-_

Job on the Dunghill by Gonzalo Carrasco

Doctor Alpha Omega Campbell was released from the Leon County Jail that early September day. He had just been reading The Book of Job in his King James Version bible, when the news of freedom reached down to him. Job, a devoted servant of God, had been eyed by Satan. Surely he would abandon his God when his wealth, family and health were taken from him? Job did not.

And though the Doctor was clearly not as blameless as was Job, he had been reborn to forgiveness by the sacrifice Our Father made, in the death of his only Son; Once for all.

Job: Chapter 42, vs. 12, after all was said and done, ‘The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.’ He had endured the worst that the Devil could do to him, short of laying a hand on him. And never did he abandon his adoration of his Lord and Savior.

Renewed, restored. Admonished, advised.

“Don’t you dare think about performing another abortion, spanish-mossA.O.,” does Carolyn exhort, once they had cleared the jail’s grounds. It is a cathartic walk to Joe Slater’s four-seat automobile.

Joe had fallen asleep in the shade of an evergreen tree, a few blocks north and west of the jail, Spanish moss dangling downward, swayed by a gentle breeze. Having met his segment of responsibility, he could only stand by… horizontally.

band-aid_tin“Don’t you worry Miss Hanes, I am done with all that,” easier said than done… harder to pull off.

“Bob and I have talked this over, you know, as it applies to your cash flow. Our money would only be a Band-Aid.” She refers to the 1921 invention of an adhesive bandage. “We believe that a white wing, or in the case of your hospital, floor, is the definitive solution. That notion that you need one makes me ill, but we cannot change the world, at least all at once. We are doing the legal footwork to make it happen. Whites will come to be treated and they will pay their way.

“Additionally, we will find you a bookkeeper. Maggie Lou is going to be on a budget, for your own good.”

Such is the gravity of the situation.


Alpha Omega M.D.

ISBN 978-1-4691-9018

Episode #330


page 311

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