Sharon Hall: A fond farewell to my Nugget friends

  • Sharon Hall
    Sharon Hall

Dear Friends, Acquaintances and (probably a few) Enemies—
As many of you know, it’s taken me a little over a year to retire—even longer if you count the five years I’ve been semi-retired. But the day has finally arrived. This will be the last week my picture will appear on The Dahlonega Nugget’s page two staff lineup. I will no longer be a staff writer for the best little hometown newspaper in the best little town anywhere, ever.
The Nugget has given me so many opportunities to do things and meet people I never would have dreamed of. I’ve joined volunteer firefighters as we all sat in a circle in a burning building waiting for the flashover—that moment when the flames journey up the walls and suddenly flash over onto the ceiling. That moment you are surrounded on three sides by a scorching blaze—only one of the moments I will never forget.
I’ve flown a small plane on Guy Wimpy Day. Thankfully, for about a minute. We were heading for a nose dive and the pilot told me to keep the plane’s nose centered in the cutout part of the steering wheel. When I told him I was too short to see the nose he immediately took back control—much to my relief. That’s another unforgettable moment.
On that plane ride I spotted the start of one of North Georgia’s most destructive wildfires. The two little camp fires I spotted from the air in 2001 turned into the Glass Mine Fire that totally destroyed 915 acres of national forest in north Lumpkin County.
I’ve interviewed fiddle makers; quilters; a 103-year-old Saint of North Georgia College, a former seamstress and dispenser of advice for the cadets way back when; and a 26-year sole Lumpkin County Commissioner who could tell you some of the best stories about the early days of this county.
I’ve visited and written about the former home of W.P. Price, founder of what is now Dahlonega’s University of North Georgia. I saw the Dahlonega Diving Bell when it sat abandoned on the banks of the Chestatee River when the property for Achasta was being cleared for construction.
I’ve covered court cases and calamities; festivals and fires; a building boom and bust; smooth and not-so-smooth changes of power. I’ve attended countless city council and county commission meetings, plus various authorities, committees and commissions.
I’ve written about tornadoes, ice storms, drought and heatwaves.
And if I haven’t loved every single minute (I’ve occasionally found myself nodding off in water & sewerage meetings or ready to tear my hair out at deadline), it’s been close.
I have been blessed to work here—at The Nugget and in this community. I love them both dearly. The thought of leaving makes me just a bit misty-eyed. Well, actually, sometimes it still makes me weep, though I’ve had a long time to get used to the idea.
But I figure the time is now or never. I’m getting older and so is my house. I can’t keep up with it anymore.
So I am moving to Florida to be closer to my oldest son—while I am still young enough to reinvent myself one last time.
I leave The Nugget in excellent hands. Publisher Matt Aiken and news editor John Bynum have done a really good job of making this newspaper one that looks good and people want to read. The coverage is good and the appearance is stellar.
And I am quite pleased—tickled pink, in fact—with Jake Cantrell, the young man taking over some of my former duties. I’ve been reading his features and hard news stories, and I like the way he writes. He goes for the details. He finds out the dog’s name.
And this may not be the last time my byline appears in an edition of The Nugget. There are still some stories I’d like to write and Matt has kindly agreed to let me submit an article to the paper from time to time.
So I won’t say goodbye just yet. I’ll just say so long, and thank you for your kindness over the years. I could not have asked for a better job or a better community in which to perform it.
Help us say farewell to longtime Nugget reporter Sharon Hall on a community wide Zoom call this Friday at 3 p.m.
The Zoom info is
Meeting ID: 441 026 3523
Password: 9wiMgg