Mayor Ronnie wears many hats, and sometimes that means literally. Every year, he dons his borrowed Dr. Seuss hat and spends time reading to various pre-school and elementary classrooms throughout Athens during Dr. Seuss Week. We talked about our favorites from the Seuss collection, including Horton Hears A Who, and Bartholomew And The Oobleck. However, this year, he chose a title of which I had never heard, and it was, Because A Little Bug Went Ka-choo! It was written in 1975, when Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), was 71, and for this book he used the pen name Rosetta Stone.
The story is about chain reactions and the law of unintended consequences. It is also a great cautionary tale about what happens when you don’t manage your emotions, as illustrated by a worm who gets mad about getting bonked on the head and goes and kicks a tree. No Mayor likes to be stumped by questions, and Mayor Ronnie found himself almost coming up short when one of the kids asked, “How did the worm kick the tree? He doesn’t have any feet.” His reply? “He was a very special worm.” Later, he asked the kids, “What does the Mayor do? What’s his job?” Their answer? “He reads to kids.” Would that his job was so simple! We both laughed as he told me of the morning’s adventures.
Contrast wearing a striped hat and reading to kids with going to New York City to talk to people in the world of high finance. He traveled with Councilmen Chris Seibert and Joe Cannon to present the complexities of our various projects and debt service to firms on Wall Street. He was just back from the whirlwind trip, and felt that the presentation made to Standard and Poors and Moody went very well. He showed me a number of the slides that comprised the presentation, and I learned that housing prices have been steadily rising since 2008, and unemployment has been steadily declining. “We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the State,” he said.
Anyone who knows our Mayor knows that one of his pet peeves is litter, and recently the City hired work release inmates to clean up the area from the east side of Walmart down the bank to Hwy 31. “They picked up 80 bags of trash,” he said with incredulity, and added, “Quit trashing our town!”
Spring cleaning for the City of Athens always has a literal end game; or, perhaps it would be better to describe it as an opening one since Opening Day for baseball, softball, and soccer will soon be here. One of the things that impressed the New Yorkers was the great increase in the number of kids that are participating in the Parks and Recreation teams. It most definitely speaks to the quality of life here in Athens, both for the kids and the adults who support them.
It was then time for Dr. Seuss, er, the Mayor to head out, but not before we prayed. Several people in our city have been sick, have been injured, or are fighting cancer, and we lifted them up to the One who loves them most. The kids at Piney Chapel Elementary were waiting to hear about the “very special worm,” and Ronnie needed to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner