Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #184

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #184

…Alpha looks handsome in his black cap and gown,  but pays a price, his dark presence soaking in the penetrating sunlight like a sponge…

LATOBSD3-001


At the end of the second quarter of 1913 Alpha Omega Campbell is about to graduate from Tufts University School of Medicine, formerly Boston College of Physicians and Surgeons. If anyone from Quincy would have been so foolish as to predict that the runt of the family they had rescued from the grip of Jefferson Smythwick, would become a doctor 17 years later, they would have been laughed out of town.


Old Doc Ziggy was the first to have an inkling back in 1897, when Maggie Lou was new and the then Alfrey Campbell would explore all the wonders of his black bag. He has spent the intervening years as A.O.’s personal career consultant, imparting as much of his knowledge as he could and encouraging him the rest of the way. It has been sixty years and an Atlantic Ocean away, since a German university fashioned the good doctor.

Now he is the proud Omega to his dear Alpha, part of the well-traveled Tallahassee contingent, here in Boston for a slice of history; Willy, Amanda & family of course, with John, Martha, James, Abbey, benefactors Herbert and Phoebe, Laura Bell and 16 year old Maggie Lou.  Out of nowhere, Atlantic City produces brother Hosey and a floozy, though no one would freely admit to any association.

A hot summer sun beats down on the plaissance grounds, where Tufts graduations are held; ten rows of folding chairs for the graduates, twenty for spectators behind.

         Alpha looks handsome in his black cap and gown, with three rings on each sleeve and white shirt and bow tie, but pays a price, his dark presence soaking in the penetrating sunlight like a sponge. Looking closely at the second row, you can see the third person in, in between Misters Calvert and Carson; fall off his chair like a lead-filled balloon.

 Prowling nearby, as they often are where there is a significant human interest story to be had, Harv Pearson plops his notebook on the grass to rushes to his aid, without realizing there are over two hundred new doctors in a fifty foot radius. “We need some water and a towel, Campbell’s dehydrated,” says physician in waiting, Carson.

“He will not be the last,” Harv suggests, “not if they don’t shorten those speeches.”

 He will be the last black person to faint, the other two of his original freshman class minorities having dropped out of school early on.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Graduation Day by Howard Temperley

Graduation Day by Howard Temperley

Episode #184


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #176

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #176

…what may have happened to his most valued employee, his new truck and the man now pounding on his front door…

The Seminoles by James F. Hutchinson

The sound of barking blue-tick hounds spurs well-meaning fugitive Clete Wilsup on. They have trailed him all the way from the central time zone, though not entirely onEscape2-001 foot, showing no signs of giving up, regardless of jurisdiction.

Seminole Ridge is an interesting topographical feature. The ridge is a part of a 30 mile formation extending well into Georgia and is reminiscent of escarpments carved into the earth by the glaciers. Florida and glaciers are far from synonymous, but so are freedom and Blountstown.

Clete is not a spiritual man, yet he feels like he being led to the Love homestead by some unseen force, The ancient sounds of Seminole Indian drums getting louder the closer he gets. At the peak of the crescendo, the two warrior ponies greet him; he will sprint the final mile up the drive, sapping what is left of his dwindling strength.

   “Herb, do you hear a knock?” wonders Phoebe Love, making sure it is not part of a lifelike dream. Before he can answer, they hear it for sure, with an accompanying, “Mr. Love, let me in! The police is after me!”

“That sounds like, Clete. Where are my pants?” A thousand scenarios have been playing in his brain, in an impossible attempt to guess what may have happened to his most valued employee, his new truck and the man now pounding on his front door.

A chorus of whooping barks spill in with Clete. The door is latched and questions follow.

“Willy’s in the Blountstown jail. A fancy car drove into us, while I was driving, killed a Blount and they be blaming Willy. They wouldn’t listen to me, I tried tellin’ them, but this guy Blount owns the town and the law.”

Love does not hesitate in picking up the receiver on his telephone.

Leah-001“Who is the party you wish to call?” begs the graveyard shift operator.

“James Ferrell in Tallahassee.”

After a dozen or so rings, lawyer Ferrell picks up his end, completing the circuit. “I…uh…. can I call you in the morning?”

“Meet me at the homestead.”

“Herbert, is that you?”

“It is and we have a serious situation to deal with. I made a huge mistake and we have to correct it. Willy is in jail and his apprentice his being chased by dogs.”

Company Town-001 “In Quincy?”

“No, Willy is in Blountstown. Cletus is here.” Herb is beside himself. “I cannot believe I thought we could do business with that man. It sounded like he had changed.”

“Oh my. I’ll be right over.” In the short time he has been e back home, James is very aware of Blountstown justice. And the day he turns down a client who literally supports his entire practice (on permanent retainer by the Pearson-Eastman Journal) is the day he commits professional suicide.

“That was Herb, Abbey. Where are my pants?”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Pants-001

Episode #176


page 163

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #166

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #166

… The solemn procession stops nearest the lone freshly dug hole around, below the shade giving branches of a sprawling magnolia tree…

Fifty hours and eleven hundred clickety-clack miles later, the Atlantic Special pulls up to Tallahassee station, pretty much on time. There is the usual crowd anxiously waiting for their people to stride from one of the ten passenger cars. Those who await James, Abbey, and Alpha are conspicuous by the color of their dress; black and blacker garb of mourners.

Laughter and tears

Laughter and tears mingle together, in no particular order, randomly interspersed between everyone hugging everybody. However lousy the reason for this reunion, the undertaker’s wagon lurking down the street with Doc Ziggy is poised stoically for the regretful procession, there is an unmistakable tie that is abiding; Ferrells, Campbells, Loves – friends, lovers, kin and kindred spirit.

They leave the platform, arm in arm, coming up behind the shiny black hearse containing Frieda’s earthly vessel which is void of her heavenly soul, pointed toward the cemetery over Macomb Street way.

The solemn procession stops nearest the lone freshly dug hole around, below the shade giving branches of a sprawling magnolia tree, in front of a slab of polished gray granite labeled:
Headstone-001

Becoming a grandmother without first being a mother is a trick saved for women like Frieda, whose love for someone else’s child is selflessly unconditional. Maggie Lou is a budding young woman, with physical traits provided by a genetic mom and dad, but more than a modicum of compassion and good old-fashioned grounding, dispensed by a kindly German Frau in her twilight.

Maggie Lou’s physical traits are not lost on Alpha Campbell, who has never seen her filling out a brassiere, looking more like 16 than 11. She has suddenly filled out that space in his mind’s eye reserved for “woman”. What a few more years might do for her maturity? He is smart enough not to scare her off with talk other than friendship. He can only hope that she will be there for him, when he is a doctor and she is not off limits.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #166


page 155

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #79

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #79

Chapter Five

HORIZONS

… Random occurrences have a way of effecting change, regardless of what day the calendar reads or the hands of the clock point to…

1900-001

Those who have predicted the end of the world were wrong. Numerous millenarians were convinced that the coming year of 1900 would signal the end of the world, as we know it and the beginning of the millennial kingdom, foretold in the Bible, as prophesied in Revelation. Extremist go so far as to sell or abandon (temporarily it seems) possessions, withdraw to mountain tops (to be closer to God), or dress completely in white (so Jesus would recognize them we he returns).

There as many interpretations of the Book of Revelation as there are organized religions, but there one sure thing; no adult hopeful of seeing Christ will be around for the next millennium opportunity at the year 2000.

Then again, what is all the fuss? 1900 is not the year that begins the Twentieth Century. For reasons few understand, 1 January 1901, will be the first day in the new century. It promises to be one of great change.

Boll Weevil-001Random occurrences have a way of effecting change, regardless of what day the calendar reads or the hands of the clock point to. Just ask Herbert Love, whose cotton fields, as well as most others in the South, is introduced to Mr. Boll Weevil. Mr. Weevil is a multi-legged visitor from Mexico and he and his many relatives have dined on the bolls of the cotton plant; uninvited and unrelenting in its devastation of the textile industry. Herbert is diversified enough to weather 1899, due to the installation of a pasteurizing machine for his creamery and the growing popularity of his quality line of cigars. Please thank Mr. Luck and Mr. Campbell for that.

The weekly route to Tallahassee has been a resounding success. Fridays are a blessing for route-master Willy, a day to see the sights and know people.

It is so for his son, Alfrey, as well. He is a young eleven, thanks to his stays with the German Young A.O.-001 and exposure to toddler Maggie Lou (Ferrell). The skillful knowledge of a physician, who has practiced medicine longer than an average life’s span, provides a disadvantaged child with the gift of nurturing and healing; the starter kit for any aspiring doctor.

Alfrey Campbell is a true enigma compared to rest of Southern society. Just as he is entering adolescence, usually the prime time for beginning serious field work, he has no such duties, most of his time readying the ice wagon for his treasured Friday adventures. Herbert Love has gone as far as to hire a tutor to fill Alfrey’s days with matters of the mind, rather than the formation of calluses. Hardly a better situation exists for the grooming and preparation of a young mind.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #79


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #60

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #60

…The emotional bond that first gripped the two youngin’s in the summer, has progressively warmed, simmered, boiled and now threatens to surpass the rim of the pot…

Sweetheart Tree-001

Christmas Tallahassee-001What a Christmas indeed.

Unaware of John Ferrell’s various ins and outs, Martha Ferrell is equally unaware that son James has no intention of honoring the brother-sister relationship, as it applies to Abigail Smythwick. And to be sure, methinks the lady doth protest too much. Maintaining an acceptable decorum, in the company of others, is all that they can manage. The emotional bond that first gripped them in the summer has progressively warmed, simmered, boiled and now threatens to surpass the rim of the pot.

If one ignores something, perhaps it will go away. ‘It is sure to be mere infatuation, you know, a phase of adolescence’, Martha tells a friend, who has noticed how the two act away from home, specifically in her secondary school classroom. True siblings are rarely so close; twins being the possible exception, but James and Abbey are a year apart, the sole apparent separation.

 Take the day before Christmas break, the two week holiday from classes, creating a bridge to 1897. Everyone is anxious to set aside studies. Ferrell and Smythwick-Ferrell cannot wait themselves, to steal a moment during lunch.

“James,” Abbey whispers, “let’s eat our lunch outside. It’s such a pretty day.” She is incapable of suppressing the feminine charms emoting in all four directions and three known dimensions; doing absolutely nothing to establish her sisterly self.

“I’ve got a blanket in my locker. Meet me at the Sweetheart Tree.”

Around the corner, just out of sight, Agnes is an interested spectator, by definition a voyeur, secretly wishing it was she who had a young man vying for her attention. That “big sister” notion at first seemed ducky, idealistically pleasing. But it is obvious that if Abigail’s father had not died, she and James would be on a similar collision course. Adoption into their family has facilitated the attending of the same school which has only served to fan the embers into ardent flames.

Agnes shadows James on the way to the tree that has more initials carved into its bark than words in her favorite books, Little Women. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy were sisters fast and true, something to be admired, just not to be for her. Instead, she sees her brother courting the Meg to her Jo, leaving only Mother to confide in. When Agnes looks closely in the mirror, it is mother, Martha’s reflection she perceives. The end results of that notion are palatable, but only if she could find a man like James. He is the man she wished she could marry.

The younger Ferrell watches, as the rival for her brother’s affection applies her wanting lips on a defenseless, yet willing participant. Agnes has hid these confusing thoughts since from before her blossoming womanhood had intruded on normality. Very little has been the same since. What a cruel twist of nature; knowing exactly how you feel, not ever being able to state her case in understandable terms.

Even more frustrating, is the fact that, if she dares to undermine the situation, no good can ever come of it. Woe is she.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #60


page 55 (end Ch. 4)

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


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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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