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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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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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It wasn’t long after we left Wells and set out into the lifeless gravel that I realized I underestimated the amount of water I should have carried. Even before I ran out, I became faint. Not wanting to validate the danger of the situation, I let Paul go ahead of me while I dug out a few energy bars.

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We froze when we heard the screaming. My girlfriend’s father had gone ahead to bring the car around while she, her mother and I waited by the door of the restaurant. He shrieked as if in the greatest pain of his life. The women ran toward him.

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