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A farewell column: Thank you, Chilton County

By CAROLINE CARMICHAEL/Staff Writer

A little over one year ago, a recent college graduate stepped into The Clanton Advertiser, was directed to a desk by friendly smiles and took a seat between future friends at her first professional job.

Although she sensed adventure ahead, she did not yet know the fondness she would develop for the small town and its many wonderful people that she would some day have to part with.

But from the moment a cross-country trekker hauling a cross on his shoulders landed her first story — “Walking in faith” painting the headline — she believed much good would come from her time as a staff writer in Chilton County.

Since God was clearly directing her steps, it had to.

Today, as I write my farewell column, I know this to be personally true, and I hope it is a mutual sentiment with those I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting and working with throughout my time here.

In about one week, I’ll be saying the hard goodbyes, packing my desk and ultimately passing the giant peach under whose shadow I became a journalist by the skills, experiences and even relationships acquired in Chilton County.

I have you to thank for that.

It has been a joy learning the quirks and perks of small-town life, writing about its happenings and hopefully making some impact on the lives each of us at The Clanton Advertiser work hard each day to deliver quality news to.

The next chapter in my life (and my life is certainly turning out to be an intriguing book) involves a much heftier writing and reading demand. And books. So many books — 18 for my first semester, in fact.

Yes, it is back to the world of academia for me! I will be a seminary student, pursuing a master of divinity.

While I anticipate combining writing with ministry in some form or fashion in the years to follow, I do not yet have a detailed plan for the degree.

That’s the fun part.

In the words from my first column as a 19-year-old intern for our sister paper the Shelby County Reporter, “My adventures here have been wonderful.”

Finally, in the words of my last column as a staff writer for The Clanton Advertiser, I bid you farewell:

Goodbye, Chilton County. Thank you for having me.