Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #57

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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


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #55

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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


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 52

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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


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #50

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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


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #32

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #32

…Remember Sara and Abram of the Bible, rumor has it that she came late John – she is only fifteen…

The Tallahassee Junior Women’s Club Summer Cotillion is this very night.

“Abigail Smythwick is going to be there.” Agnes knows the reason for her brother’s sudden cooperation. She is the daughter of Jefferson Smythwick, born in his sixth decade to the silence of her mother’s still heart.

“I almost forgot that we sent invitations to Midway and Quincy. They are not as refined as we are, you know, though Abigail’s daddy owns much land thereabouts,” Martha offers what she knows. “Is she pretty, how old is she, does she have any manners?”

“Yes in her own quaint way, fifteen I believe and I hope so, though she did not have a mother to help her.” Daughter fills in the blanks.

John Ferrell adjusts his new bow tie, as he walks by.

Fort Sumter3-001“John, sugar, do you know a Mister Smythwick from Midway?”

“Why do you ask?” he asks – a wondering.

“It seems that your son James has a fancy for the Smythwick girl. She will be at the cotillion this night and I do not want to appear ignorant of our neighbors to the west,” like it was a world away instead of 15 miles.

“Fort Sumter South, wealthy, quite old, I thought… his daughter would be forty. Has James taken a fancy for women the age of his mother?”

“Remember Sara and Abram of the Bible? Rumor has it that she came late John, she is only fifteen!”

He prefers to keep what he really knows about the man to himself. Why upset Martha by raising the still broiling subject of slavery. Her lectures, planned or spontaneous, about the difference between slaves and servants are legendary. They can wear a person out.

“Oh, I see. You mean like Mother Nature’s joke on a woman who has assumed her child Continuedbearing years are decades behind her?”

“That is a cruel way to put it,” she admonishes, “especially since her mother died giving birth.”

“That is too bad, I’m afraid,” John says, snatching his watch fob from out his vest pocket. “Say, we best be going, that’s if you want to set the tables before everyone arrives.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #32


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