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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 Dairy.

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Ireland, until about the 1940s or so.

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Whenever my father needed to motivate himself while working on the farm, he would say, “Come on, man, rock ’n’ roll.” All day, he passed between feeding something, milking something or doing some sort of fieldwork, and if you were around and listened, you would eventually hear Rick Dennis tell himself to rock ’n’ roll.

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At one point, the FBI monitored his movements and kept a file on him. Since then, he has been awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, inducted into the California Hall of Fame, had a holiday declared in his honor in three states and, finally, an asteroid named after him.

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When I was young, it was almost cruel to see the presents laid out under the tree on Christmas morning, knowing there were cows to milk first.

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One of the cruel aspects of getting old, for those lucky enough to have made it that far, is requiring care from someone else. Nursing homes, in addition to being expensive, are the biggest fear of the elderly heading toward dependence.

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Farming can be a balancing act, especially when it comes to managing cash flow. Once in a while sacrifices have to be made. Sometimes that’s attempting your own vet work or maybe putting off updating equipment for a summer.

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