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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 Dairyman.

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It could happen. Movies have shown us how.

Whether from the radiation of a NASA Venus probe, the mutation of prions from Mad Cow Disease or – as postulated by Harvard psychiatrist Steven Schlozman – a virus leading to the condition known as Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, the threat of the infectious brain-eating undead looms over us all.

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Our family’s history starts with a pond on top of a hill. It was first dug by my great-grandfather, Claire Dennis, as a watering hole for cattle. He lived and milked there for two years without electricity. Because the milk carts, pulled by horses, would not make the climb, he had to haul his milk over a mile in metal cans every day.

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Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Agrarian philosophers founded the new republic of America on the idea that the farmer was the ideal citizen. One of his reasons for claiming legitimacy for the occupation was the closeness to nature not experienced by most others who didn’t farm.

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Her addictions ruled her. It affected all of her decision-making. When she had what she wanted she collapsed into neurotic pleasure and forgot about those who cared for her. When she didn’t have it she was consumed with achieving the buzz.

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Iceland is dominated by volcanoes and mountainous highlands at its center. Although picturesque, most of the surface is barren, the arable land occurring in pockets around the coast.

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The puck was two caps from teat dip drums joined together, but the black electrical tape that covered it lent it a feeling of authenticity.

The sticks were sections of stiff plastic piping we tapped on cows’ thurls to head them towards the parlor. When the last cow on either side of us had a milker on, my father and I squared off in the middle of the pit.

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