Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #31

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #31

… James Ferrell would rather study schoolwork than dance with adolescent debutantes who ‘have all the sense that God gave the Dodo bird’, as he puts it…

Silly Girls

By the grace of God, and a little luck, August 21 does arrive as scheduled.

The entire day is dedicated to preparing for the Cotillion, which includes the making of Grandma Ferrell’s special punch, whose secret ingredient is rumored to be the state of Georgia’s best XXX hoochinoo. The thirty gallon stainless steel milk can mixture should go a long way to assure a good time will be had by all, should they sample even one innocent glassful.

Juicing the fresh Florida oranges, peaches and grapefruit was the hardest part of the process, but that was done two fermenting months ago. The carbonated ginger ale and phos-ferrates are added just this day, as volume fillers; so sweet and so lethal.

Primping occupies the remaining three hours, most importantly to the females. However, the annual struggle with James Ferrell to get in the proper spirit, disappoints all in the family, though shocking none. He is actually a girl magnet, which may explain his reticence, because he would rather study for the upcoming school year than dance than dance with adolescent debutantes who ‘have all the sense that God gave the Dodo bird’, as he puts it.

This year, his 16th, resistance to his suit of clothes seems curiously mild, not the chest thumping bravado that may disguise changes that show signs of his coming of age.

  Martha Ferrell reminds her son but once. “Miracles never cease to amaze,” she tells Agnes, who is clinching the corset that shrinks the woman’s waist by two full inches.

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 her father’s sixth decade to the silence of her mother’s dying heart (during childbirth).


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #31


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #30

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #30

… Princess  Olla holds up the Paris creation against her body, not about to let on that she herself has spent time wearing it…

Cotillion dress

That same Friday night, in the less contentious environs of Tallahassee, society’s’ finest prepare for tomorrow and the anticipated Summer Cotillion. It unofficially marks the average annual easing of the “lazy days”, as the sun mercifully starts to drop from its zenith overhead. Shadows begin to lengthen and the dogs come out from under their back porches.

Martha Ferrell prepares for the event by unpacking her favorite gown, first checking for damage from last year’s gala, i.e. footprints on the hem from ballroom challenged partners, or traces of champagne and hors d’oeuvre or third most likely culprit, moth-eaten holes. Lastly, and most important of all, the issue of whether her almost five gallons fits into this three gallon (satin) container.

“What do you think, Agnes?” She does an awkward pirouette in the dress, tailored for her six years ago; a present honoring her fortieth year.

“Maybe we could let out the sleeves some. It looks tight above the elbows.”

“Yes I think you are right.” She confirms the mirror’s reflecting truth, without vain regret.

Agnes is wearing a gown that her mother wore the year before she was born. She has matured at an scary rate, nearly… no definitely surpassing mom’s womanhood; filling in the spaces and providing the kind of cleavage that may well cause the hormone levels of men aged twelve to infinity to rise measurably.

“My, haven’t you blossomed, my dear. Girls are developing faster every year, it seems,” Martha concludes correctly.

Two generations of “real” women are joined by an admirer of both.

“Why Nessie, I remember your mamma when she wore that dress, her first Cotillion I reckon. So beautiful and so graceful,” He muses, then reconsidering, “But you better wait some years before you become a mother. If you weren’t my daughter, I would guess you for a twenty year old college girl.  You are saving yourself, aren’t you?”

“Oh, Daddy,” Agnes (Nessie) blushes, which rhyme with messy, a nickname, as well as her bedroom comportment, “of course I am. You don’t allow me to have suitors!”

Cotillion dress“All right, point well stated.” She is behind many of her peers and he knows it. “It’s just that you look so grown up.” John turns his attention to his wife. “And as for you my dearest, forget about altering your dress.” He peeks around the corner, into the hall to motion to Olla. “I think this one will assure of being belle of the ball.”

  Olla displays the Paris creation, this time merely holding it up against her body, not about to let it be known that it was her own very skin which spent time as Martha’s surrogate mannequin.

The new owner rushes to it, stroking the rose colored satin, admiring the Parisian lace and trying not to shed tears of joy.

The incredible irony of the moment is lost on the ignorant.

  • “Oh mother, you must try it on straight away,” encourages Agnes.
  •  Before she obliges, Martha turns to say, “John Ferrell, life with you is one big surprise.”
  •  John Ferrell is telling himself, ‘Wheeewww, I’m sure glad she will never know the truth’.
  •  Princess Olla/Laura Bell mutters, “Surprises ain’t always good ones, Miss Martha,” under her breath.

Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #30


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #21

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #21

…This prompts the appearance of the upper-floor maid, Princess Olla,  having been with the Ferrells since 1888…

Upstairs Maid-001

John Ferrell waves heartily at the cloud of dust speeding away at the machine driven paceRelated image of twelve miles per hour. Had he wanted to, he and his Saddlebred could outrace them. But his horse would run out of gas sooner than their auto.

Tallahassee Women’s Club

He continues swinging both arms on his way back to the stable, retrieving a package that tagged along with him from town. The bulky box contains a surprise, not to be viewed by the lady of the house; at least until the Summer Cotillion, sponsored by the Tallahassee Junior Women’s Club: Martha Ferrell current president. She is need of a show-stealing gown and this custom made Parisian dress should do the trick, the tailors being familiar with the classic lines of a woman in full bloom.

However, the August date of the ball is fast approaching, leaving no time for professional alterations. It would be nice to know if the authentic pearl buttons will meet their loops at the dress back (when worn by his wife), without a cinching girdle. Martha Ferrell will have nothing to do with those medieval devices, unashamed of her figure, unlike many of the younger members of the women’s organization, who insist on narrowing their waist to teenage proportions. Martha’s hour-glass will just have to let more sand pass to the bottom.

gownJohn agonizes about the subject, as he walks through the mouth of large oaken doors, into the emptiness of his house. After washing his hands in a hall basin, he unboxes the dress, holding it up by the shoulders, allowing it to unfurl. Layer upon layer of rose colored satin and lace could easily stand on its own.

With no one to see, he puts it up against his frame, concluding that if it would fit him, it would Martha as well. He even goes so far as to put the gown through the four-quarter pace of a lively Strauss waltz, complete with live music coming out of the front-room phonograph.

The sounds of the Danube River Valley project out of the room. This prompts the appearance of the upper-floor maid, Princess Olla, who had been repacking the dressers and armoire following the travel/camp carnage of the preceding hours. She has been with the Ferrells since 1888, so she been previously witness to things that would make a sailor blush. But this whimsical display by the man of the house is not unprecedented, though it brings abnormal warmth to hers ears nonetheless.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #21


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