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Alfred or Junior?

By Lori Freeze

You may know my dad as a Forest Service employee, from his years running a flea market, or as that fella who treks uptown nearly every day using a walker to lessen the danger of falling.

Fellow federal employees know him as Alfred Webb, but to many friends and family members he will always be “Junior.” It’s a designation my grandparents (Alford Marcellus Webb and Eva Ardell Roper) apparently intended and is on his birth certificate from July 17, 1925. It didn’t get used officially, he says, because he wasn’t given his father’s entire name. A spelling discrepancy with both names complicated matters, with his birth certificate listing his father by his full name but spelling it “Alfred.” The baby is listed as Alfred Webb, Jr.

He answers readily to Dad, Alfred, Junior or Al, and to “grandpa” with 11 grandchildren and, so far, five great-grandchildren. Four of his children live in Stone County: Jan Misenheimer, Frances Webb, James Webb and myself. Son David and step-son Andy Burr live in Florida, and stepson Karl Burr is in Louisiana.

A widower since 2011, he continues to live independently on Oak Grove Street. His destination walking each day is Lancaster’s on the courtsquare, a store he has frequented all his life. His route to town has changed from the sidewalks along Sylamore Avenue and Main Street to back streets with less vehicle traffic. Before he stopped trusting himself to drive a couple years ago, he would drive to the walking trail or to First Baptist Church and walk laps on the paved surfaces. Now, just the trip to town is more than most folks think is wise, but everyone seems to agree there’s only so much you can say to a determined 93-year-old. He has figured that if he stops walking, he will stop being able to walk.

The regulars who gather at Lancasters, as well as many other people around town, help keep watch out for him and offer him rides (which he usually refuses). He’s been tattled on for mowing his lawn on a hot day (a chore he has since relinquished) and walking when it’s too hot, cold and/or rainy.

No matter which aspect of his life is being considered, people generally describe him as hard-working, honest, fair and dependable.

See the full story in the July 18, 2018 issue.

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