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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 can’t say no. Because of it I’ve ended up on top of a crane, on a tour bus with strangers and semi-kidnapped by a punk gang. It has led to some good stories. Many I use as party tricks. Someday, though, I suspect it might be the end of me.

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Before, I had thought mid-life crises had to look like this: You get a Mustang or a younger partner, maybe change your job or get a new haircut or hike through a remote mountain chain. Maybe you take up tango or change your name to Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of love and beauty, and then force everyone to call you that. My mother, however, did none of that in her middle years.

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I could have either chosen to participate in the culture around me or stayed in my room and watched Internet TV. It was a line that became my defense to the people I explained this to, and one that I often repeated to myself.

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They said there wasn’t a horse he couldn’t train.

They said the most obstinate animals are obedient to him.

They said a horse sensed his authority the moment he stepped in the corral.

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Sometime in early December, the municipal leaders will put up the town’s Christmas decorations in Galway, Ireland, where I’m living again.

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The race for the presidency heats up with the primary season just around the corner and the general election only a year away. Lost among the debates, the negative ads and the relentless analysis by pundits is the fate of farming on voting day.

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