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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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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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The first adult book I read was Riding for the Brand by Louis L’Amour. I was 12. Afterward, I read anything with cowboys, guns and a high sense of justice, writing book reports on Zane Grey and pushing aside homework for Larry McMurty.

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Tristan told me to come to Dublin that weekend and bring my boots. He had gotten the allotment. He had been on the list for more than a year, and it was finally his. Tristan said the word again, as if it was the grandest thing he knew: The Allotment.

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