What Makes Ronnie Roll: “Ardent” In Athens

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

I was sitting at the round table in Mayor Ronnie’s office on Monday morning when Kim Glaze, City Hall’s Executive Secretary, popped her head in the door and said, “Mayor is on his way, and he asked me to ask you if you know what ‘ardent’ is.” I answered, “Yes,” laughed and said, “OK. This is going to be an interesting way to start off our interview.” I also wondered if this was a trick question.

In came the mayor and while heading to his desk, he smiled and said, “So, do you?” I quickly replied, “It basically means passionate or strong,” and then waited for the other shoe to drop. “Very good,” he said. Then I got it! He was testing me to see if I was aware of the fact that the Corporate Spelling Bee is coming up, and I told him that entrance to the Bee had been opened up at the Chamber Coffee, and teams were firming up. I asked, “You going to compete, Mr. Mayor?” “Oh no, I am just the timekeeper,” he said as he imitated doing the job. (The annual Corporate Spelling Bee will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, March 9 at the Athens Middle School Cafeteria, 100 U.S. Highway 31N in Athens. Free admission to spectators; refreshments served. To sponsor a team or for more information: 256-230-3050, or learntoreadcouncil@gmail.com.)

“Ardent is going to be a theme, here, today,” said the Mayor, as he handed me a copy of the proclamation he had just signed re: March being “Colon Cancer Awareness Month,” with the tag line of “Go Blue.” Each Friday in March, Athenians are encouraged to wear blue to show support for finding a cure. As most of you know, a couple of years back the mayor had a bad scare with what at first looked like it might be colon cancer. As a preventative measure, several inches of his lower intestine were removed, and while the outcome still looks positive, that was one rough time, which he understandably does not want to repeat.“Ardent prayers” had been the subject of the sermon the mayor had heard the day before, and he described them as “passionate, intense prayers,” or “the kinds that get things done.” The answers to those kinds of prayers are necessary if the battle against cancer is ever going to be decisively won.

Ardent is one way to describe the rains we have had recently. By some estimates, more than 12 inches fell, and the mayor mentioned that his gratitude was deep over the fact that none of the possible tornadoes had materialized. “I don’t want to think about what it would have been like if our guys had to deal with a tornado after rain like this. The ground would have been so soft that all kinds of trees would have fallen on power lines,” he said. Ardent thanks were in order.

Mayor Ronnie mentioned that ADECA (Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs) had just approved a grant for $400K that will fix the standing water problem on Sanders Street near the Athens-Limestone Hospital. He went on to mention that Poke Sallet Follies is coming up next week, and showed me the picture of his goofy “Barney Fife” character who will be returning to “Poke.” “We are ardent in Athens for seniors,” he said with a grin. “Mr. Mayor,” I replied, “I think that if you run in 2020, you need to put your ‘Barney’ picture on your flyers.” He shot me a look of mock outrage, we prayed, and then it was time for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali ElizabethTurner