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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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Dragging our moldboard plow through the fields in the spring always tended to turn up more than just the soil. Sometimes there would be a cow’s lost neck chain that got scraped into the spreader or parts of a deer carcass turkey buzzards might have pulled off the road.

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The fact we had to play on soccer and rugby pitches was emblematic of how softball was trying to carve out its own modest space in the world of European sports. There would be no diamonds, no bleachers and no hot dogs being sold.

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We’re lying on the couch, watching Netflix. My girlfriend rests her hand on my belly. I shift on my side so her hand slides off. She puts her hand back on my stomach. I browse through the movies, reading the descriptions below the titles. She rubs my belly and sighs.

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When we first arrived, he took me to the balcony and put his arm around my shoulder. We were seven floors up, and the cars below us looked small. I think he wanted me to notice that. He pointed into the darkness.

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I was working off of a playground tip, and the first thing I noticed was: The gym was blue – the walls, the court – as in so much blue that when I walked out of it an hour later, the colors of the outside world didn’t seem to fit anymore. It was a Croatian who told me about the weekly pickup game, but because the men usually spoke English to each other, I gathered they came from different countries in eastern Europe.

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The history of agriculture in most Western nations follows the same pattern. Humans on the European continent domesticated the aurochs early on in their evolution and eventually produced the dairy cow.

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