Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #114

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #114

…When it comes to avoiding bad weather, it is wiser to duck a one-two punch, than stop it with your face…

Acting Secretary of Agriculture Herbert Love and his bride Phoebe have seen more than Sec. of Ag-001enough devastation before they can reach the major Gulf of Mexico port that once was Galveston. The flattened buildings and depopulation are not very out of the ordinary for a storm such as this. You need to know what it looked like before, to understand the devastated after. But as a presence, the Presidential Train and all its trappings are comforting still, though the Loves are not exactly well known.

Herb Love delivers a reassuring speech to those very ready to receive; those who cannot find hope in their circumstances and see him as an answer to earnest prayers of intercession. Beside the presence of the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and a trainload of goods, tents and fresh water, the most tangible evidence that the survivors of the Galveston/Houston area can hold on to is the promise of the Army Corps of Engineers. They are planning to erect a seventeen foot high seawall between them and anything the Gulf of Mexico can dish out.

In addition to a concrete wall, which is designed to manhandle nature, Love tells them about establishing a network of observers for the purpose of reporting climatic conditions, both in the United States and without. The region’s scientific community of countries are banding together, including those unfriendly on other levels, such as Cuba and Mexico; or the misunderstood, including the Bahaman Islands and the British West Indies.

(Sam Rabin Art)

When it comes to avoiding bad weather, it is wiser to duck a one-two punch, than stop it with your face.

Down in New Orleans, they can tell you something about taking two blows on the button. And just ask the good folks of Greater Tallahassee, who have spent the past number of days living and breathing something could have avoided and remained mainly ignored or neglected. But they did not, standing tall in a world where humanitarianism is becoming a lost art.

The Levee at Canal Street

Sure, John Ferrell had a vested interest, a personal agenda, as did those concerned about the well-being of the Tallahassee Junior Women’s Club, but what this grouping of ordinary everyday people has accomplished is amazing.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #114


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #33

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #33

… Women cannot be presidents, my dear, too temperamental. ” proclaims old Jefferson. “Chairwomen, I would say, but not president…

Capitol Building Tallahassee Florida

The long awaited and much anticipated Summer Cotillion, as presented by the Tallahassee Junior Women’s Club (Mrs. John Ferrell president and committee chairman) has finally arrived. Members and guests are filing into the Grand Ballroom of the State Capitol Building, hungry for a holiday, seeing that Independence Day is more of a Northern thing. Independence has escaped many of those south of the Mason-Dixon Line, a way of preserving a lifestyle that flies in the face of those who comprise the majority in the Union.

If you find yourself not attending this function, you are bedridden, diseased, or socially invisible. Politicians are there to press the flesh. City fathers snuggle up to the politicians. Women are there to be seen. Men are there to see as much as they can. Debutantes aspire to social heights, while their male counterparts are like kids in a candy shop.

All in all, it is a great excuse to dress up and rub elbows with folks infrequently seen in this primarily horse and buggy paced world.

Those attracting the most attention, in this buffet of mostly beautiful people, are the Midway and Quincy contingents.

It may seem unlikely, but shy James Ferrell will be the icebreaker between the two diverse communities. He is also the moth to Abigail Smythwick’s flame. As soon as she and her father make their entrance, young James lights on the budding belle, even though he had never met her father, a churlish figure whose gray long-tailed jacket reeks of Confederate indolence, sans medals and rank markings.

“Father, I would like to introduce, James Ferrell. His mother is the president of the Tallahassee Women’s Club. They are putting on this grand event.” She boasts of a potential beau’s credence.

“Women cannot be presidents, my dear, too temperamental,” proclaims old Jefferson. “Chairwomen, I would say, but not president.”

James fails to object, rather extending his hand, “It is an honor to meet you, sir.”

The clenching of hands nearly buckles the younger’s knees.

“My daughter speaks so highly of you, being of good stock, with healthy Scottish roots. Anglo-Saxon people are the backbone of the globe.”

“I did not tell you he was Scottish, Daddy.” She is ignored.

“She tells me you are interested in law.”

“Yessir.” James is still massaging feeling into his right hand fingers. “Constitutional law is my true passion.”

“Laws are intended to protect the weak. The United States Constitution does the same. Perhaps you will be able to correct these unfair advantages in the course of your endeavors.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #33


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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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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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