What Makes Ronnie Roll: Enjoy The Ride, Part 5

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Since January we have been showcasing a book entitled, Enjoy The Ride, by Steve Gilliland, who is a presenter Mayor Ronnie had the chance to hear speak as well as briefly speak with himself at a conference. The subtitle is, The true joy of life is in the trip! This is going to be the last in this particular series, and I can’t wait to see what we are going to tackle next. One of the things I have appreciated over the years is the Mayor’s quest to grow our city well, and at the same time grow himself well. Personal development is never easy, progress can be and feel painfully slow, and I appreciate his commitment to never stop. If I may co-opt one of his sayings, “Golly bum, I wish more folks thought like that.”

As always, it had been a whirlwind of a week that was highlighted by an important milestone: his 50th wedding anniversary. He showed me the pictures of their special weekend away, and then we talked about all that was coming up, as well as how to wrap a bow around the series.

First off, Relay for Life is Friday, May 4th. This is something in which our town has participated wholeheartedly for many years, and honor given to those who are battling, who have survived, and who have passed on is always moving. Mayor Marks and County Commissioner Mark Yarbrough declared the week of April 30 through May 4th “Paint the Town Purple Week” in honor of Relay, and in this 200th year for our city, county and state, the slogan is, “Hope, Fight, Relay.” The event is being held beginning at 6pm at the Limestone County Event Center, located at 114 Pryor Street in Athens, right across from the Veterans’ Museum.

Athens High School students who are members of the Interact Club sponsored the Color Run 5K on April 28th. The purpose of the 5 K is to raise funds for charity, and this year’s focus is clean water. If you participate in the color run, you have to be willing to be coated in non-toxic color powder that is specially selected for the event. The color throwers actually get certified and take training to keep the stuff out of your lungs! City of Athens attorney Shane Black got “colorized” for the cause, and the picture shown at right was taken at the start of the race.

Mayor Marks then asked, “Can you believe graduation is almost here?” We shook our heads, and agreed to talk more in depth about the school year and the things our young people have accomplished next edition, and then for the last time he handed me his copy of Enjoy with its proof of being greatly enjoyed: folded down corners and pages, highlighting, notes in the margins, notes at the bottom and top, as well as my contribution: crinkled pages where I spilled a whole lot of coffee on it. “There’s so much good stuff in here,” he said, and we chose the story below to illustrate:

“A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present Seven Wonders of the World. Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes—Egypt’s Great Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon, the Panama Canal, the Empire State Building, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Great Wall of China. While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student hadn’t turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.” The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.” The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the Seven Wonders of the World are: to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to feel, to laugh, and to love.”

Then, as is fitting in this Relay for Life season, Gilliland told of a time when he spoke at an American Cancer Society Survivor Dinner. He asked the audience, largely populated by survivors, the same question. Their answer? 80% said, “Life.” We purposed by God’s grace to Enjoy the ride, and then we prayed once again to do just that. Then it was time for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner