By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Mayor Ronnie was out of town taking care of our town, and so he asked me to meet with Amy Golden, who wears many hats for the City of Athens as being the one who is in charge of Special Projects. We talked in May about the recently re-organized, refurbished and renewed Athens-Limestone Senior Center located at 912 Pryor St. The Center is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., and the phone number is 256-221-0968.
“This is an iconic place for all our community,” Amy said, and added, “it was inappropriate for seniors to not have a place within the city limits.” Amy is glad that the City voted to slate fifty thousand dollars to get everything up to code and the building made attractive again, and she is grateful to Jackie Jackson and Kay Burlingame for their work with and for the Foundation On Aging.
The morning we got together, Kay came in to lead the Dancercise class, which I had the chance to observe. Everyone was enjoying themselves, and as Amy happily reported, “The numbers (of people coming to the Center) are growing every day.” We talked about the Fun Fest, which had been held on June 10 and was a rousing success. “Over 300 people attended,” she told me, “and people were so glad to be able to get together again.” She also mentioned that people are eager to provide programs, and eager to attend them.
Amy told me about the day that Mayor Marks, Holly Hollman and she were talking in the mayor’s office about what to do with the Center now that it had become the exclusive purview of the City. “Mayor, I could do this,” she told them, and is enjoying herself so much that it hardly feels like work. “I can’t thank the volunteers enough,” she said. Indeed, Amy is in her “Golden Zone,” and it seems like she was just made for the job.
Here is a rundown of some of the activities on the schedule, with new things being added almost daily. Every day is a Games Day, with dominos, cards, checkers, chess, corn hole, Yahtzee, billiards, and Rook leading the line-up. Bridge is played on Tuesday, and Bev Blakely is taking the lead on organizing Hand and Foot, a card game that takes 5-7 decks in order to play the game, and will be played on Monday.
One the last Tuesday of every month there is the Lunch With Friends catered meal for all senior adults who have attended the center at least four days during each month. There is live music, and reservations are required. Silver Sneakers exercise class is on Wednesday from 9-10 a.m., and each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Melinda Jones with the Athens-Limestone Library comes and talks about some of her favorite books and brings puzzles. There is also a free lending library with no library cards or fines—you just take the book, read it and bring it back; or keep it if you wish. Also on Thursday is what Amy calls “Athens Opry,” a live music event that features country, folk, gospel, and some contemporary tunes.
But wait! …there’s more — crafts, big band music, rocking in the rocking chairs, and there is talk of gardening with raised beds….
Our time flew by, our joy quotient had increased significantly, and then it was time for Amy and Ali to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner