Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode 65

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #65

… “Alfrey is a bright boy, Willy. He will do well at whatever he does.” Love means what he says. Unfortunately for Willy, cigar making may be setting his sight too low….

Young A.O.-001

“That is it, by golly! Picture this: Our five-pack cigars in a box with a window to view them and a picture of you standing proudly beside one of your seven foot tobacco plants. We will call them Loyal Campbells——get it? Royal Melbournes and Loyal Campbells!” Herbert Love can see it plain as day.

Loyal Campbells-001

Willy responds modestly, partly because he has never seen a picture of himself, only reflections on glass or other shiny objects. The artist rendition that Herbert Love has in mind will nearly immortalize Willy Campbell, the very essence of tobacco growers in America.

“I knows you will do right by me, sir,” he correctly trusts, “and can we take Alfrey with us when we call on the Ferrells? Ima tryin to light a fire under him, not much inerested in tobacco, caint figure out a direction.”

“He is a bright boy, Willy. He will do well at whatever he does.” Love means what he says. Unfortunately for Willy, cigar making may be setting his sight too low.

“Say, for tomorrow, let’s load half the wagon with ice and half with milk. No use wasting a trip.” Ever the consummate businessman, he figures that before they get to Hillside Estate, Love Dairies-001they will be stopped by folks wanting and needing what the wagon holds. With an eye to the future, as soon as Herbert can devise a better mode of transportation, he is toying with delivering house to house, not just store to store.

The next day, someone who flirts with the top of the world and his protégé, someone who has previously flirted with inconsequentiality, join forces for an exploratory mission of marketing and good will. Neither man is aware of all the possible ramifications of the trip, across rough roads and many stops along the way, leading to an end only God himself knows of the conclusion.

For those along the way, they see what looks like to lifelong partners, pursuing the same goal. Together, they comprise one of the greatest hedges against prejudice that exists in the post-Civil War Florida, let alone the remaining rebel states.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #65


page 60

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #59

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #59

…You are going to lie anyways, so tell za family that she has decided to care for zose old Germans across za lake…

After what seems to be an eternity, the crusty German doctor emerges from his den.

“Tell me, Ziggy, what is the news?” John Ferrell demands.

“Vell, John, Mother unt foetus are in good shape, but zey are lucky za Princess did not take on more vater.” Ziggy’s broken English is hard to understand, but John is used to it and it relates his genuine concern. He thinks of Laura as the daughter he and Frieda never had. ”Eez za Baby yours too John?”

He swallows hard in responding, “Yes… yes it is… a weak moment from this past summer. I love Martha with all my heart. I cannot believe I could have been so stupid.”

Maggie Lou-001“She eez a beautiful voman, don’t you know. I vould hazard to guess zat tings like zis happen more often zan ve find out. Peoples ask me for abortions all za time, but za thought of ending a baby’s life sickens me so. Not to mention my Mrs., barren and sorely lonely for it.”

Ferrell is content to listen, feeling for his neighbor’s pain.

“I tell you vat, Johann, I can tell you don’t have a good plan for za Princess. Two vives and children from each verks for the Mormons, but zey moved to Utah for crying out loud!” he states in his usually frank manner. “I don’t think you move out you house der, so ve vould be honored to see Olla through to her childbirth. Ve have so much room in our chalet.”

That is a generous offer.” He ponders. “But how do I explain her absence? She is like a member of our family.”

“Not everysing vill be easy, son. You are going to lie anyways, so tell za family that she has decided to care for zose old Germans across za lake. She vill, you know unt give us months of joy to boot.’

However, after she delivers, you maybe find a place for her. As much as ve vould love grandchilds, zey look better ven they are leaving. Ve also enjoy our peace unt qviet.”

“I will find some explanation. I hope a good one.”

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

“Please tell Laura that I will have her things moved here tomorrow. And make sure she knows that I intend to take care of her.”

“I vould expect no less from you, Johann. You are a good friend.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Endlichoffer Chalet-001

Episode #59


page 54

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #58

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #58

…  Old friends and neighbors do not ask too many questions…

Without capturing the one last deep breath that would sustain her for a couple of minutes, Princess Olla submerges herself, without intentions of surviving.

John Ferrell sees the black shoes on the bench and correctly guesses the rest. He searches for bubbles and dives in the water at that spot. Several inspired strokes in his pitch-black underwater probe, he touches saturated fabric. He prays it is Laura’s dress, grabbing what feels like the collar and lurching for the surface of the lake. It takes more strength than he has, but what he has not, the rest is provided. Two bodies break above water, both gasping for air.

San Luis Lake-001   The rescuer knows how critical every minute is, if his unborn child is to survive. With a display of superhuman strength, John Ferrell carries an unconscious Olla the distance back to the stable, then deciding not to stop there, ferrying her to the house of his neighbor, a retired physician around the south side of San Luis Lake.

Old friends and neighbors do not ask too many questions, like, ‘How often do you save drowning people at this hour?’ or ‘How did you know this woman is with child?’ Instinctive, Doctor Siegfried Endlichoffer resurrects his black bag to treat a patient he is already familiar with. He has spent many an afternoon picking Princess Olla’s brain about what she knows about life on the Apalachee Indian Reservation, as he spoke to the Ferrells’ maidservant and gained her confidence. As it turns out, it is he who provided Olla with the skills of the written word, as rudimentary as it is, even though his native German tongue would be easier for him to relate.

Princess Olla Early Years

He wields his stethoscope skillfully, timing the hearts of both mother and child, like he had never put it down. Prone and scared, his patient stares down her clothes less body, watching the cold steel disk move from her chest down to her burgeoning belly. She is not used to being naked, whether it be in the presence of the doctor or John Ferrell.

This modesty keeps the latter in another room and frustrated, nervously pondering all the numerous ramifications. Most of these scenarios fall on the side of social disaster. He cannot imagine how Laura Bell can return to Hillside Estate, whether the baby survives or not.

After what seems to be an eternity, the crusty German emerges from his den, leaving Laura to don one of Frau Endlichoffer’s house dresses, with plenty of whom to grow.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Ziggy-001

Episode #58


page 53

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #57

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #57

 … Some form of dementia causes John to wander aimlessly about, no sense of whether he is afoot or on horseback…

Here at the stable, in the lamplight, John Ferrell opens the mysterious envelope that had briefly distracted him that morning, nearly forgotten.

This is what it said:

A sudden fever sweeps through John Ferrell, likely flush with excess cerebral blood flow, driven by a racing pulse. The thought of this happening to him was the last thing on his mind, nor had he been exactly consumed by guilt in the intervening months since that hot and dusty July day; all that has changed, starting right now.

Daze

 Some form of dementia causes John to wander aimlessly about, no sense of whether he is afoot or on horseback, as if in a daze. Sitting, standing, vertical or horizontal, no matter his position, nothing jives with reality. All he knows is that when he heads toward his San Luis Lake mansion, he must turn away.

More than an hour passes before he can right himself. He returns to the stable, straightening the crumpled edges of the paper in his pocket. This time he sees the need to act, grabbing a lantern to light his way to the lake, formulating a plan as he goes. His subconscious has been a step ahead of his consciousness.

Laura Bell, thinking that had he intended on meeting her, thought he would have been there by now. The delay causes doubt. Her world seems to be falling apart. Her future at the only job she’s ever had, is obviously about to end.

  There is no reason to ruin perfectly good footwear, so she undoes the high ankle buttons, places them the bench and descends into the calm waters of San Luis Lake, without capturing the one last deep breath that would sustain her for a couple of minutes. She has no intentions of surviving…


Alpha Omega M.D.

San Luis Lake5-001

Despair

Episode #57


page 52

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #55

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #55

…Father and I have petitioned the courts of both Gadsden and Leon County to allow Abigail to be a permanent part of our family…

And Abigail makes three Ferrell kids

Martha Ferrell has taken this family aspect to the next level. She chooses this warm and fuzzy outing as an opportunity to spring some exciting news on all but her husband. “Children, I want to sit down on this bench,” pointing to the one outside Simpson’s Drug Store.

Abigail sits dutifully on one end, with Agnes charging to the spot next to her, leaving James for the other end and none too pleased. He rarely strays too far from Abbey’s side. His sister manages to do what Mother has not been able to do; separate the two young and taken hearts.

Abbey, as is her nature, creates a compromise. She unseats herself, scooting Nessie to one side, while placing her in the middle. Done.

James’ version

“Thank you children… Abigail. It is important we be civil. We have some wonderful news for us all.”

The Ferrell “children” are thinking along the lines of the family gift; maybe a new wardrobe for Agnes or a champion thoroughbred to James’ liking. Neither is the case.

Father and I have petitioned the courts of both Gadsden and Leon County to allow Abigail to be a permanent part of our family. Abigail Smythwick Ferrell. How does that sound?”

Well you could have knocked James over with a hummingbird’s feather. He has pictured (in a young man’s fancy) Abbey owning the Ferrell name by marrying her into the family, certainly not as a step-sister.

Agnes is overjoyed. The big sister she always wanted; sharing beauty tips and boy secrets and clothes… well maybe not clothes. That would require a full-time seamstress.

Sisters

Abbey’s version

Abigail’s emotions fall somewhere in-between. She too has had private aspirations on being a Ferrell, again as a wife, not an adopted sibling. Womanly dreams aside, her feelings of group membership are unmistakable. She has also seen enough of Southern relations to hold hope that certain moral stigmas can be conveniently negotiable. “I would be rightly proud to consider myself a Ferrell.”

At closer examination, without a blood relative on the North American continent and few inherited friends of her father, her choices are none. Plus, she is near enough to Sumter South to have a hand in its future; quite a land holding for one so young.

“Consider it done,” assures matriarch of the family, whose involvement in Campbell matter has turned out to be a life changing experience.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #55


page 51

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 52

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #52

…Herbert Love completes the final five feet in free fall; Mr. Behind, meet Mr. Ground…

About mid-lane leading to Sumter South, he hears the whimpering of a female cry.

“Can I help you down, Darlin’?” Love carefully urges her. Shock has gripped the girl, who is unable to respond.Looking-up-a-tree

Realizing there is no other way to reach her, he becomes a middle-aged tree climber. It is rather late in life to begin this practice (of animal or nimble youth), but he manages several good footholds, enough height for his long arms to gain him vertical parity with a young woman he believes to be Jefferson Smythwick’s teen aged daughter, Abigail. He remembered seeing her at the Cotillion of this summer past.

“Miss Smythwick? Honey, are you chilly? I have a blanket for you in my wagon. Would you please come with me?”

It is not the warmest of Florida mornings, even at this midday. Chiffon is not a fabric that stands up to a crisp breeze and she acknowledges her state of discomfort with momentary eye contact. Love seizes the moment and reaches for her trembling delicate hand, which prompts a descent more easily done. boy-falling

After two backward moves, which should only have been one, her rescuer completes the final five feet in free fall. Mr. Behind, meet Mr. Ground. The rear landing is more comical than serious, though it manages to rouse the girl to a conscious stream.

“Are you all right, kind sir?!” She scrambles down to lend a hand.

“Yes I am, but I must say that that last step is a doozy.” The pair chuckles at the notion. As the once dignified Quincian brushes the terra firma from his pants, reality resets itself in the countenance of the young Smythwick, as she pans the horizon for what is left of her home. She starts walking in the general direction of where she last saw her father, drawn behind the next largest structure, the stable and groomsmen barn. It had not been totally consumed by fire, perhaps because of the presence of freshly harvested alfalfa. A large oak on the backside of the building used to suspend the rope swing of her childhood.

unthinkableHad he known what awaits them, around the next corner in this neo-war zone, he would certainly have sheltered this fragile spirit. On each side of the oak, a deadly collar has snagged Jefferson Smythwick and his hated overseer known only as Pigface.


Alpha Omega M.D.

A Slaver’s End

Episode #52


page 49

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #50

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #50

…”That was the stench of Fort Sumter burning to the ground, Herbert…”

Fort Sumter Burning

“The engineer of the midnight freight stopped at our station to report possible pedestrian contact on the trestle. We were sore afraid you all had been killed.”

“He was going so fast I am surprised he noticed us and he certainly did not stop to find out if he had hit anything,” the nearest thing to a victim, laments.

“Verily, verily,” Love relates. “He also reported seeing signs of fire up the line, smelled smoke. We did smell smoke as well, a very odd smell indeed.”

That was the stench of Fort Sumter burning to the ground, Herbert!”

“You must be joking, Jacob… you didn’t, did you?”

“No, ‘tis true I did not, but what a marvelously unexpected bonus.”

“Indeed! We could not have planned this any better. But I do not take pleasure in another man’s loss.” Herbert Love can only Christian thing to do-001imagine what condition the battered plantation might be in; anarchy, unleashed tensions or loss of life on either side of this clouded issue. “I think we, perhaps me should make a trip over to Midway to offer aid.” You can count on the Loves to do the Christian thing, in any situation, no matter how undeserving the beneficiary may be.

“That would make a great diversion, Herbert. I will send the Campbells back to Tallahassee the same time you pay Smythwick a visit. For now I am going over to Helen’s Diner to get us some food!” The grits and gravy of 36 hours ago did not stick to Jacob’s ribs–or anything else for that matter.

“Good. I will return in an hour, say 11:00. I am going back to the dairy for some evaporated milk and blankets.”

Related imagechristianThe beneficiary of such a massive effort cautions the architect.

“You just be as careful as you can be, Master Love. No tellin’ what kind of hornet’s nest you’ll find,” warns Willy, walking to join his family under a shade tree, to share in the promised feast of grilled chicken and biscuits.

“Should I give Jefferson your best regards, Willy?”

“He already gots the best of all my born days.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Love's-001

Episode #50


page 47