John Harrigan: Dumpster-diving bears, rockets and a real patriotic ending
When the place-name "Warren" comes up, many people who've been there think "rocket." That's because there is a huge Redstone rocket standing tall in the middle of town. But these days, Warren seems to be synonymous with "bears."
It's funny in a way, unless you live in Warren and are trying to run a restaurant, some of whose patrons are, as they say Down East, from away.
I liked the way the New Hampshire Union Leader's Bob Hookway put it: "Families of unruly black bears seeking food have been hauling trash out of dumpsters and throwing it around, threatening to tap into a store's grain supply, and generally alarming campground visitors."
As for suggested methods to drive the bears off, such as loud noises (minor explosives, and, I guess, yelling), the bears seem nonchalant and are taking to "reluctantly meandering off at their own pace."
Hookway has a future writing about errant bears.
Carole Clark, at the Scenic View Campground, said that the bears are scaring customers (somehow this reminds me of the old adage that once the camel's nose is under the tent the entire camel comes in), and that when some campers went to the dumpster to throw some trash (i.e., to a bear, food), they couldn't because the dumpster was full of bears. (Imagine a hapless camper encountering the rear-ends of dumpster-diving bears.)
All this might seem funny to some, including me, but I don't have to deal with it.
If I did, I'd stand up at town meeting and advocate reopening the town dump.
That's where we went as teenagers on double dates to be up close and personal in a touchy-feely way with the bears, or something.
At least the bears were concentrated out of town.
When the town of Jefferson was forced to close its dump, the rats had to go somewhere, which was my house on Route 2 just beyond the Waumbek Golf Course, where Cedric Phelps Road comes in.
I've no idea where the bears went, if there were any, but when I saw huge rats lumbering around the kitchen in the middle of the night, it was war, and the rats lost.
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It was a strange week, what with the Fourth falling on a Thursday. Legions of people assembled numerous days off to make it a more-than-a-week vacation, on either end of Thursday.
The land beyond the great notches was full of people towing various things or sporting them on their vehicles' roofs, ranging from ATVs to canoes, bicycles and kayaks.
The ATV thing is taking off like Warren's rocket (sort of), and will, I think, eclipse snowmobiling in three years or less.
We have the only large, circular trail system east of the Mississippi, a circuitous system that will become even larger, down as far as the foothills of the Whites, if plans bear fruit.
The Fourth is the only major holiday without a guilt trip. It's everybody's birthday.
I decorated the ATV for Memorial Day, and so left it in the front driveway for the Fourth, and decorated the '47 Jeep just before Colebrook's July 4 parade.
We could have joined the parade, but preferred to park the Jeep in a tight spot on Main Street (hey, that's what Jeeps do best), and the owner of a '54 Jeep backed up to give me extra space.
And then hats off and hands on hearts, lucky to be in a country with the longest line on Earth of people wanting to get in, we watched the colors go by.
John Harrigan's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire News. His address is Box 39, Colebrook NH 03576. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.