Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #157

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #157

…Harv Pearson is the nearer to the telegraphic news ticker, so he picks up the end of the two foot and adding paper ribbon, reading his way back to the busy machine…

Tickertape machine

Chapter Nine

SHIFTING SANDS

“What is coming through the wire?” asks Judith Eastman. “It looks unusually long.”

She is speaking to Harv Pearson, in a rare moment when they are in their Rochester office simultaneously. One or the other or both are on the road most of the time.

“Might be a test run. It’s a bit early for news and there hasn’t been anything worthwhile for weeks,” certainly not of the human interest variety, the kind that makes good pictures and good press.

They are at the mercy of the news and news makers. Beginning with their first issue of the Pearson-Eastman Journal, the blockbuster interview and pictorial of Teddy Roosevelt in the American West, they had set the standard for finding great stories, combining the two mediums into a must read for millions of readers, i.e. subscribers.

Harv is the nearer to the telegraphic news ticker, so he picks up the end of the two foot and adding paper ribbon, reading his way back to the busy machine. He keeps adjusting his reading spectacles like they must be distorting the words.

“Does the cat have your tongue?” asks Judith playfully; curious as to why his mouth is hanging open without so much as a peep.

“We’re headed for California,” he says simply.

“Another gold rush?”

“Only if the U.S. Mint isn’t earthquake proof.”

“You don’t say.”

“Read for yourself,” he hands her the start of a frightening account. “It’s on fire, Judith, my God, it’s only after 5 o’clock in the morning there. Most people were sleeping when it hit, I would think that casualties are high.”

“We wouldn’t get there for three days.” She recounts the train ride back from Yosemite, in the Journal’s inaugural days.

“There is nothing else going on.” He laments the fluffy content of their magazine of late, though no one in their right mind would wish disaster on anyone for the sake of news. “If I know Jackson (his editor at the Quincy Reporter) we’ll be lucky if we beat him there.”

“You mean your newspaper has room in the budget for that?”

 “He watched me chase stories for years, not standard procedure for a small town rag, but I own it. He does not take that into account. If I told him he couldn’t, I would lose my Quincy Reporter-001credibility. The Reporter has the reputation of getting a big story first hand.”

“So, why don’t you sell him the Reporter?” This is not the first time she has suggested that move, for mostly selfish reasons that include taking away the one threat to his continued and permanent presence in her life. She has passed that point where she has enough emotional fuel for a return trip to her once lonely world. If only he would take that final step concerning their relationship; a proposal of betrothal instead of status quo-sal. “I mean, he has been running it without much help from you for five years now, something he pointed out when you were too busy to buy those new printing presses. The poor guy is working himself to death while you are doing a scant imitation of William Randolph Hearst.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #157


page 145

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #116

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #116

…I am going to give those people a “welcome home” they will never forget…

Inspiring words, among other accounts, pass by the desk of the President of the United States. These are his people, the people of Herbert Love’s world and he could not be more proud. So moved is he that he breaks from his long-held tradition and leaves his handicapped Ida in the care of Major Walter Reed. The imitable and nearly invisible V.P. Garret Hobart (a lame duck by most accounts) is entrusted with Washington D.C.

I am going to give those people a “welcome home” they will never forget.”

Time to Remember-001And so he does, while rushing off to the state capitol of Florida, with most of the Washington press corps tagging along. “The gratitude of this nation will not be a mime’s cheer.” William McKinley is not just a decent man. He is forward looking in his direction, yet he seldom ignores the needs and the desires of the few. This is an important quality for a country that is expanding nearly as fast as its rapidly improving sectors of communication and travel.

In less than two months there will be a presidential election of 1900, so this trip to Florida may do wonders for McKinley’s patchy Southern support. Herb Love does not have a widely public personae, so his best friend cannot garner him support, only Love’s little slice of the Panhandle and not much more below the Mason-Dixon Line.

But this September of disaster and the related stories of heroism and triumph over adversity, may well translate into popular votes in November.

Speaking of popular, the Republican nominating committee and attending convention had decided that the office of vice-president needed upgrading. They choose Spanish-American War hero and current governor of New York state Theodore Roosevelt, to replace the ignoble Hobart, who was merely a crony of first term financier, Marcus Hanna. So it’s out with old and in with that “damned cowboy”. In political circles, that is a term of endearment.

Enough of back-door politics though.

There has not been a preponderance of “full dinner pails” in the South since the Civil War, though steady progress can be seen.  But in the wake of the hurricane, whose fury should have been given a name that progress has been set back.

As it turns out, it is not too late to cash in on the workings of the Love complement, as reported by Harv Pearson and spread nationwide by everyone’s source for news: large sheets of thin paper with black ink printing on it; singular to each city, bound by unwritten rules of fairness and confidentiality. Because of the efforts of hurricane heroes and revealing reporters, the sitting President should receive a beaucoup bump in popularity. Luck and timing is a politician’s greatest ally.


Alpha Omega M.D.

welcomehome

Episode #116


page 106

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #113

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #113

… Residents of Gadsden County will read Harv Pearson’s accounts and count their blessings, realizing that they were merely grazed by a storm…

Image result for close call

Recovering from the Great Storm is an ongoing theme.

The same can be said for the rest of the Leon/Gadsden detachment, having set up a temporary clinic in the gymnasium at Tulane University. From all accounts, local hospitals are beyond capacity, breeding grounds that form germs and bacteria not seen here, ever. Isolating the stranded Tallahassee Women’s Club from these strange strains is seen as the sensible thing to do, as agreed on by Ziggy and Jacques. Young Alfrey is getting field training as a nurse, carrying out orders of the doctor and dispensing the medicines from the apothecary.

Willy Campbell and Jacob Haley have teamed together, joining other squads of men searching for survivors of the consecutive calamities. Sadly they overlap, with combinations of dead and injured commingling.

Quincy Reporter-001Harv Pearson has taken his journalistic independence to the streets, gathering stories of tragedy and heroism to send back to his Quincy Reporter. Residents of Gadsden County will read his accounts and count their blessings, realizing that they were merely grazed by a storm, whose right arm reared back like a boxer, only to deliver a knockout haymaker punch to the west.

But not all that Harv encounters is gloom and doom. As he roams the French Quarter, Bourbon and Royal Streets, sounds of an interesting style of music echoes through the taverns and eateries, melodically resisting the prevailing somber tones. Harv writes, ‘This “Jazz” seems to be a combination of dixielandjazzAfrican and European folk music, with dashes of blues, Dixieland and Ragtime. Improvisation and spontaneity are trademark styles of musicians, who know and live their music; a form of music like none I have ever heard.’

He continues.

‘New Orleans has grown to near 300,000 people, resilient types, who bravely shrug off adversity, all the while embracing the richness of their culture. Some would call it excess, but as I see it, these Orleanians have perfected optimism and made it their own.’


Alpha Omega M.D.

Aftermath-001

Episode #113


page 103

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #106

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #106

…”The next time we get decent warning before a blow, will be the first time.”…

And no sooner than the temporal needs are restored to those who have fortunately endured, which nearly all Floridians have, relief crews are assembled to aid in whatever way possible. Phoebe Love organizes the Gadsden/Leon contingent, able to gather the majority of the disbanded Gadsden County Anti-Slavery Society, especially those involved in liberating the Campbells four years ago. Main man Willy Campbell, Hillside Joseph, Harv Pearson of the Quincy Reporter, liberation specialist Jacob Haley and of course John Ferrell, who favors the chance to get anywhere near New Orleans.

Doctor Ziggy has joined up for medical support, likely in short supply, with, going on twelve year old, Alfrey along side. Apothecary Jacques Francoise has emptied his shelves to aid them in dealing with disease and infection.

Bleaker Brothers-001The now Famous Fabulous Flying Bleaker Brothers would surely have added their skills, but they are working the Virginia State Fair followed by the Ohio State Fair; for all their talent, they unable to juggle their schedule.

The rest have been absorbed by the Washington relief train, selfishly diverted to Florida by Herbert Love. But any questioning the stopover is lost in the spirit of volunteerism.

“I am so sorry we did not issue a storm warning’” Love apologizes, perhaps unnecessarily, to the group, while holding fast to his wife, “something, anything that would have saved lives.”

Quincy Reporter-001

“Hurricanes are devilish, Herb. The next time we get decent warning before a blow, will be the first time.” Quincy friend and historian, publisher Harv Pearson has seen and reported on many storms in his long career and though none packed the wallop of 8 September, he knows how fast a tropical storm can explode into a hurricane and ways to predict are slow to improve.

“Thank you for taking me off the hook, Harv, but I promise you folks that, from now on, we will find a way to predict the path and intensity of hurricanes, storms of tropical nature. There are over six thousand casualties in Galveston alone. 6000 Texans no more and John Ferrell here does not know if two members of his family are alive or not. I imagine that every one of you have been directly affected somehow.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #106


page 97

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #29

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #29

…The action we are contemplating could go a long way to eliminating the need for vigilante raids, in the name of freedom…

Rescue-001

Pres. Jacob Haley of the GCASS group ends the social section of their meeting, gavel-less style.

“However, the Pensacola & East Railroad cuts through the backside of the plantation. It also crosses State Road 268 and there will be a full moon the night of 5 October. These are real positives.

          “And negatives? One of us must infiltrate Sumter the day before, the 4th, to prepare the old lady and the children, for the five mile escape route.

 “And there will be one of us stationed at each of the three mile of track, until road 268, where a LOVE  ICE truck will take it from there, for the final leg to Quincy. We figure no one will suspect an ice truck.” Smythwick has been known to line the pockets of certain unnamed constabulary, enabling to keep his “employees” on the property.

But the early hours of the daily ice run should mask its surreptitious companion purpose.

So far, Haley has dominated the meeting, doing much of the research on their possible mission, mainly because he is the lone black in the raid contingent. He is the most likely candidate to take on the highest risk.

Every mission seems to spotlight a different leader. Herbert Love planted the seed this time, the inspirational forerunner. In the past, other ventures have been precipitated by those most greatly been affected by witnessed injustices. There are many of these in the course of living in a segregated environment.

“Jacob has done a great job with the plan, even to the point of volunteering to go undercover. So I would like to propose that we accept it as presented. A show of hands please… unanimous? Good. We have 45 days to hand out assignments. There is a sign-up sheet at the end of the table for those who want to be part of the action.

“And remember, as always, we are not to discuss this or any other rescue with anyone, period.” Love exhorts the room.

Jacob Haley has one closing thought, “The action we are contemplating could go a long way to eliminating the need for vigilante raids, in the name of freedom. We are acting above the law, but Jefferson Smythwick’s influence will be severely damaged if he loses his best people.”

Quincy Reporter-001The publisher of The Quincy Reporter, Harv Pearson will see to it that Smythwick will not become a sympathetic figure, only pathetic. “You can be sure that my paper will make the Campbell escape the headline story. And every paper in the Panhandle and north will get the story as well. We will refresh the slave issue, make it the topic of the day from Texas to Maryland, the Texas Rangers to Grover Cleveland.

“Let’s put an end to neo-slavery for good!”

‘Yes!’, ‘Amen!’, ‘You bet!’, ‘Slavers be damned!’, are among the shouts of acclamation, robust reaction to Pearson’s inspiring impromptu speech.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #29


page 28