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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.

LATEST

This summer, people in New York state had something to talk about other than the wet weather. Convicted killers David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility near the Adirondack Mountains, kindly leaving a note that read “Have a nice day.”

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I was admittedly intrigued when an Icelandic farmer told me his town was owned by the mafia. I could imagine The Godfather playing out much differently in the north, where a horse head is more likely to be dinner rather than a threat, and the gangsters would be hard to tell apart because they would all be wearing wool sweaters.

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“You put a suit on a monkey – and it’s still a suit,” I’ve always said. Usually the other person would try to correct me and suggest that I’ve switched the expression, that it’s “still a monkey.” “No,” I would reply. “It’s my belief that it’s OK to be a monkey. It’s the suit that should be called into question.”

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“They’re going to be happy chickens,” he said, pointing to the fence that took up most of their lawn. “The happiest chickens in town.”

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In hindsight, I could have avoided being kidnapped.

He seemed to be about the same age I was at the time. He had a shaved head, suspenders over a white shirt, and tattoos on his neck and arms. People tried to avoid him, and those that didn’t he asked, in a gruff voice, if they had a fag (cigarette).

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He was a man in his 50s, his long braids swinging quietly between his shoulder blades as he pedaled. He moved patiently on an old white bicycle with a ratty flannel jacket and other clothes like it draped over the handlebars and strapped down on the back.

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