Lawrence County definitely has that #8216;I don#8217;t know what#8217;

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2006

While sitting at a local restaurant earlier this week with one of my friends, we had an interesting conversation.

You see, my friend is very observant.

He tends to notice the things that others — including myself — often overlook.

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My friend — like myself — has worked in several other towns around the area throughout his career. And although I think it took him awhile to explain exactly what he was thinking, I think I may have eventually gotten his point.

It’s hard to pin down, but there’s just something about Ironton, and Lawrence County in general, that is missing from many other towns.

I still can’t put my finger on what’s so nice about this area.

Someone from France would probably call it “je ne sais quoi” — or literally translated — “I don’t know what.”

Yet, I do know one thing. The Greater Ironton area is what small-town America should be: Friendly smiles, clean neighborhoods, a slow pace and low stress.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few of the ideal small-town traits in that description, but those are just a few that come to mind.

And anyone who has ever read Dan Rapp’s column in the Sunday edition of The Ironton Tribune probably would understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Or stop in one of the shops or restaurants around the area — from Proctorville to downtown Ironton — and you may understand.

And those “I don’t know what” things can be so easy to take for granted after awhile.

When you live in the same town all of your life — I don’t care what town it is — you’ll eventually grow numb to its charms and begin focusing on only the negatives.

It’s easy to forget about what sets your city, village or neighborhood apart and grow accustomed to the people, places and things that make them unique.

And now that I’ve been in Ironton for several months, I’ve begun telling myself that I won’t forget about what it is that sets this city and county apart from most ZIP codes in Ohio.

And for those of you who have spent your entire lives — or most of your lives — here, now is a good time to remind yourself of those things that are truly Lawrence County.

There’s nothing like it in the world.

Don Willis is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445, ext. 12 or