Hangin’ With Holly…In Lieu Of Ronnie

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Mayor Ronnie had a planned appointment, and asked Holly Hollman, City of Athens Communications Coordinator and Grant Specialist, to sit in for him. We had just come off of a wonderful Veterans’ Day celebration as well as parade, and Holly had been able to watch from her “fave spot” at City Hall. We talked about this weekend’s Christmas Open House, and all of the upcoming seasonal gatherings and festivities that make Athens “especially special.” In a bit, we will talk about a special project that Ella Lovvorn and the mayor are working on for the holidays. I will give you a hint, the word “gingerbread” is in the mix.

Seeing as this edition of Athens Now falls squarely in the midst of the Thanksgiving holiday, Holly wanted to take the time to talk about why Thanksgiving is so near and dear to her heart. By way of back story, Holly’s mom, who is known to everybody as “Mama Shirley” nearly died a few Thanksgivings ago in 2011. There were blood clots in her lungs and she was hospitalized. Very quickly it looked like she wasn’t going to make it, that she was essentially brain dead, and the nurse told Holly to gather family in order to say goodbye.

Well, Holly wasn’t having it, and this happened to be on a Sunday when a lot of folks were in church, so the chances were huge that Shirley was receiving a whole ton of prayer in that moment. The short version is that Holly went to the head of the bed and sternly said, “Mama, open your eyes.” Holly said it more than once, and, you know what? Shirley Hollman did just that. Today, Mama Shirley is spry at 88, and Holly felt that it was time to get the recipe for her scrumptious dressing, something that has always been described as a bit of this and a pinch of that. Holly ended up filming her mom making the dressing so it can be preserved for posterity, and that is one of the many reasons why Thanksgiving is so near and dear to the “heart of Holly.”

Something else that is dear is the fact that a while back, Mayor Ronnie gave his business card to six-year-old Ella Lovvorn and told her to come visit him in his office if she so desired. She took him up on it, made an appointment through his secretary, Kim Glaze, and came to discuss the fact that she felt that the City of Athens needed to have a gingerbread contest during the holidays. Ella suggested that the “grand prize be $5,000 dollars and a lava lamp.” While the mayor gently let her know that the $5,000 part would not be in the budget, the lava lamp was a definite possibility; Miss Ella also was firm in her desire to be one of the judges, and in addition, she wanted “to taste the house.” There will also be a donation made to Toys for Tots, and the contest will be decided on December 2 at the Athens Activity Center at 9 a.m. To register for the contest, go online to Ella the Elf Gingerbread Contest.

There was only one thing left to do, and that was to pray, and so Holly expressed gratitude for a woman who had been pronounced brain dead and a six-year-old who wanted to “taste the house” while making Athens an even more wonderful place to live.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner