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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2006
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Wendy N. McDougal

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Courtesy Photo
Mary and William Harrison Winton relax after his 90th birthday party. He got just what he wanted: a pair of comfortable Croc-style shoes like his grandchildren and great-grandchildren wear.

Pop at 90 gets what he wants: Crocs

Wendy's word

As we see what the "chatter" is for today, I will have to say this is one of the sweetest stories I remember having the joy of writing. When I first received the call, I began asking the usual journalistic questions about where the event had been held, who was there and what went on.

With each detail, I became more and more inspired by this sweet man called "Pop" and his wife, known to all as "Mom." His landmark birthday is one not many will see in their lifetimes, and the precious, "trendy" gift he asked for (and received) just made me grin from ear to ear.

Here is his story as we take a look at what's going on around town.

Winton turns 90

An eventful summer it has been for Mr. and Mrs. William Harrison Winton, known as Mom and Pop to many family and friends. Following a landmark anniversary this past summer, Mom turned 87 in July; then the celebration continued with Pop's 90th birthday Aug. 31.

One of my favorite parts of this story was learning that prior to the marriage in 1936, Winton rode the Keller Memorial Drawbridge on its opening day to prove his love to fiancÚ Mary Jane Brown of Kentucky. With that kind of gusto, it is no wonder the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in June. However, the festivities last weekend were centered around Pop's big day. At the Hickory Hills home of daughter Carolyn Joyce Winton Poovey and husband Michael "Mike" Owan Poovey Sr., family members gathered for food and fun. Of course, the table was set with cloth napkins, as Mom never allows paper.

All the couple's favorites were served, including barbecue ribs, baked beans, chips, potato salad, slaw, bread, sweet tea and lemonade. Last, but certainly not least, a birthday cake arrived with a "90" adorning the top, followed by many balloons and gifts.

While most "youngsters" this age receive treats and a bounty of good wishes, Pop wanted nothing more than a new key-start lawn mower, a Weed Eater, and — my personal favorite — a pair of new Croc-style shoes popular with the younger generation. After he opened them, he put them on and wore them all day.

Born in Somerville, Pop is a World War II veteran, stationed in Japan in 1945. He worked at the Alabama Hosiery Mill for 20 years and later retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1980 after 25 years of service.

Mom and Pop are long-term members of Ninth Street Baptist Church in Decatur, and he built beautiful furniture over the years for the church and for family members.

Attending the party were their other daughter, Mary Norma Winton McAlister, and grandchildren Tamara McAlister Butler Williams and husband Michael "Tony" Williams, M. David McAlister, Michael Owan Poovey Jr. and wife Rachel, all from Decatur, and William Ashley Poovey and wife Amy from Florence. Their son, the late William Harrison Winton Jr., was there in spirit.

Their great-grandchildren present were James David Butler, Leann Williams, Lauren Williams, Jane Hollis and Michael Owan Poovey III, all from Decatur, and William Ashley Poovey Jr. from Florence.

Parties are great, gatherings are memorable and celebrations are cherished, but perhaps the sweetest tribute to any parent or grandparent is knowing you have positively impacted future generations. When I stopped by to gather the last bits of information and pictures for this tribute the other day, McAlister shared several personal family heirlooms that offered a crisp vision of the Winton family.

The words of granddaughter-in-law Rachel Poovey describe this special couple well. "You are a gift. You are always thinking of others and making a difference in the lives of everyone around you. You are the building block of our family. We are thankful for every moment we share with you because it continues to bless our lives long after it is over."

This week, McAlister said she had spoken with her mom while Pop was out mowing the yard and trimming the shrubs, just like he does every day, weather permitting. Mom was enjoying one of her favorite pastimes, cooking. "I made a pot of soup and cornbread," she said, "But no one is here to eat it."

Mom, next time you make some, just give me a call. I will put on my Crocs and be right on over to join you.

Fraternity pledge

Congratulations to Jackson Gamble, a Decatur High graduate, on pledging Sigma Chi at The University of Alabama.

Women's Connection

Women's Connection, formerly Decatur Christian Women's Club, will now hold meetings on the second Saturday of each month. You can join in the fun Saturday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Decatur Country Club. Pam Montgomery, "The Gourd Lady," will display her work and tell about the gourds she paints and transforms into decorations and useful pieces of art. Bettie Gobble of Columbia, Tenn., will follow, as she speaks on the "Successful Home Executive with a Guaranteed Plan for Living." Her hobbies include decorating, creative writing and shopping. The cost of lunch is $13. For reservations and free nursery care, contact Nancy Fortune, 340-0113 or nbfortune@mindspring.com, or Maxine Hall, 773-4978 or Hornet
@leee.org.

That's all for now. It's been great "chattin" with ya!

Let me know what is going on in your little corner of the world. If it's special to you and features any of the great people who live in our community, then it will make a great Chatterbox item. Just e-mail me at ddchatterbox@yahoo.com, or call me at 350-5730.

Wendy N. McDougal Wendy N. McDougal
DAILY Staff Writer

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