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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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When I was in junior high, our school principal showed up drunk at a basketball game. He shouted at the referees over a bad call, calling the decision “asinine.” When they gave him a warning, he told them to look it up.

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“You’re going to die.”

It was my landlord who said this, and she couldn’t hide all of her smugness in saying it. It was the first of many times we would hear it.

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I walk the Corrib often. I’ll stroll its banks if it’s a nice day, or sometimes at night, if I happen to be feeling contemplative. The River Corrib is supposed to be the shortest and fastest river in Europe. The water crashes out of the spillway in the heart of Galway, Ireland, and rushes along the stone walls for several hundred yards before emptying into the bay.

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The American Rabbit Breeder’s Association or, more commonly, ARBA. If you say ARBA out loud enough, you realize it sounds like a sect. Little did I know – it was an even more dangerous organization.

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There’s a danger that lurks in the Irish countryside. A hazard waiting latent under the gray skies as one passes the seemingly quiet stone houses, covert with peril. Something that has victimized all those who live there. Something few are spared from.

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There’s an old gag in my family that started off as what they interpreted as an annoying habit. Thanks to 4-H and National Holstein Conventions, I was able to visit a few states and the landmarks in them. When I saw one of those places on the television, I would point out that I’ve been there.

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