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Getting back to the country life

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP - On the eve of his 35th birthday, Larry Berry reminices about the decision he made to leave city living behind.

"When I got here, there was no turning back," he said.

Berry is a Mansfield native who was raised in the Johnstown area of Lawrence County. He eventually settled on the southern part of Dog Fork Road in Lawrence Township. Berry's house was struck by The Ironton Tribune's dart for this week.

"Isn't that something? A dart hit my house, and I couldn't win the lottery to save my soul, even though I don't play it," he said.

"I like the privacy and the people," he said. "In town (Mansfield), people fight, bicker and carry on."

Berry now works for the Local Millwright Union 1519, based in South Point. His wife Tammy is a native of South Point, and he met her there while he was building a house. The couple now have two sons, Logan, 6, and Alec, 4.

The Berrys also built a house on a hill on Dog Fork, where Larry said he could not ask for better neighbors. Construction on the house began in September 1998, and the family moved in the house in March 1999. The house not only houses the family, but their pets which include parakeets, dogs and cats. The family did have pigs for a while, but they are now in the freezer, Larry said.

The house is also across the hill from Larry's brother. His brother's 7-year-old son Derik stopped by Tuesday afternoon to play with Larry's sons.

Logan, a student at Dawson-Bryant Elementary who recently won a tee-ball trophy, first said he was unsure what he wanted to be when he grows up. However, Derik forced the answer out of him.

"I want to be an Army man!" Derik declared.

"Oh, he guessed it. Daggone it," Logan said.

At first, Alec said he wanted to be a policeman. After his brother and cousin said they were going to be Army men, Alec decided he wanted to be an Army man as well.

When Tuesday afternoon's rain began, Larry yelled for the boys to get on the porch, joking that a tornado was going to come. Derik and Alec ran in circles around the porch, yelling "Tornado," with Derik hopping up and down on a bouncing ball holding a football. Alec then grabbed a pair of grill tongs saying, "I'm going to eat the tornado!"

"There's never a dull moment here," Larry said.

"I just love it out here," he said. "If you come out here and meet the people, you'll make up your mind quicker than anything."