Author: Ryan Dennis

Rabbit Shows: An Amusing Tale Of Brutal Competition

If you say ARBA (short, for the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association) out loud enough you realize it sounds like a sect. Little did I know it was an even more dangerous organization. I handed my rabbit to the judge. Unlike showing cattle, this is the entire role of the rabbit exhibitor. Rabbits are in their prime when they are under six months of age. I had an English Angora five months old with long, dense wool. I was thirteen. My grandparents had driven to me to the show in Rochester. Most other breeders with Angoras were old Asian women,...

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Bad Principles and the Abuse of Power

When I was in Jr. High our school principal showed up drunk at a basketball game.  He shouted at the referees over a bad call, calling the decision “asinine.”  When they gave him a warning, he told them to look it up.  It was the type of juvenile thing my friends and I said to each other, but it didn’t work out well for our principal, because he was kicked out of the game.  Both parents and students watched in silence as the figurehead of our school was escorted out.  I had once seen him tell a kid that...

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The Geography of Family

Our family’s history starts with a pond on top of a hill.  It was first dug by my great grandfather, Claire Dennis, as a watering hole for cattle. He lived and milked there for two years without electricity. Because the milk carts, pulled by horses, would not make the climb he had to haul his milk over a mile in metal cans every day. Being the highest point in the county there was no geographical pardon from the winter winds that tore over the hill, still notorious among hunters and neighbors. When electric lines finally passed through the bottom...

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Strange Bob Square Bale Pants

In our old stanchion barn there was a large fan built into the wall. The blades turned quickly and the image of the calf hutches outside flickered in front of you. One of the first lessons I remember as a child was being told not to stick my hand in it. At the same age I also recall sometimes finding pieces of cat next to the fan. It was more puzzling than upsetting, even at that age. I had always considered barn cats to be a steady, grounded subculture of animals that were still around because of their savvy...

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Chris and the Cornfield Romance

My parents have a bad habit that I don’t condone: They watch “The Bachelorette” on ABC. In the reality show, either a man or woman spends the season narrowing down a group of potential partners in search of “love”. I call it a loss in the battle for cultural integrity. They call it entertaining. Although I’m not proud to admit it, there have been times when I’ve been in the house while the show was on and somehow, despite the air of superiority I try to maintain, I found myself watching it. During the 2014 season, household enthusiasm was...

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