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Ryan Dennis

Ryan Dennis is the son of a New York dairy farmer and a literary writer whose early essays were originally published in Progressive Dairy.

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The French have more style than we do.

I say that in concession, the grievance not coming from American nationalism nor any bad experience as much as regret that I will never have the advantage of being French.

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New Year’s Eve traditions vary all around the world, as customs are meant to encourage luck and prosperity or chase away evil spirits. In Holland, they toast with hot spiced wine. In Belgium, they exchange gifts.In Spain, they eat 12 grapes between the first and 12th stroke of midnight.

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As this goes to print, a highly anticipated time of the year for many has come around again: hunting season. When I’m asked to describe western New York, I tell the person it’s hills and deer hunting. We don’t have the big white-tail racks found in the Corn Belt, but a mix of fields and woods supports a strong regional herd.

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As I write, it is only two weeks until I turn 30. Although I’ve known it was coming for a while, only now, seeing it in print, do I realize what a large sum the number contains. Although it is a common and predictable angst shared by all of humanity that makes it this far, that does not lessen its totality.

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Lately, I’ve been listening to classical music in the milking parlor. I do it while spraying it down, when everyone else is gone. Sometimes when searching for the music I wanted I would go too far and land on the classical music station. Usually, I switched it back right away. I surprised myself the first time I didn’t.

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My parents have a bad habit that I don’t condone: They watch “The Bachelorette” on ABC. In the reality show, either a man or woman spends the season narrowing down a group of potential partners in search of “love.” I call it a loss in the battle for cultural integrity. They call it entertaining.

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