Yes, that was a bear you saw.
It was not a figment of your imagination. Nor was it the former Town Manager in disguise, snooping around to see how things are going under the new boss. It was also not one of my friend Dave Carpenter’s dogs running away from home. There is no bear on earth as big as Dave Carpenter’s dogs.
No, indeed. Ipswich has a bear.
Our Ipswich bear, however, is no cause for alarm. We have a big strong Animal Control officer, Matt Antczak. I imagine he can wrestle any bear that tries to take him on. This is just the kind of situation that Matt went to 10 weeks of Animal Control training for. I bet Matt got straight A’s in the bear-wrestling unit. I also feel confident that Matt would win since, as he tells me, the Ipswich bear is only a two-year-old. Standing on his hind legs, the Ipswich bear is all of three feet tall. He’s been wandering around Ipswich for a year or so, mostly making himself a nuisance by raiding bird feeders and stealing suet.
I asked Matt what strategy he would employ if he actually encountered the bear. I was ready to hear about a net dropping from the trees, a high-powered tranquilizer dart gun, and a half-Nelson, if not an inverted three-quarter figure-four leglock. But Matt had an even more ingenious plan in mind.
“I would make a lot of noise,” Matt replied, “and scare him into the woods.”
It’s clear that Matt subscribes to the classic wartime maxim “Know thine enemy.” The Ipswich bear has already demonstrated that he can be scared into the woods. Not long ago, the bear was on the deck of an Ipswich house when the woman who lives there suddenly appeared at the door — and scared the scat out of him. He fled into the woods without cleaning up after himself. This bear is a chicken.
But the bear may be dangerous in other ways. This past week, wolves escaped from Wolf Hollow, the great non-profit organization established in 1990 to teach people about the importance of the wolf in the wild. “I witnessed the crime scene,” my friend Dave Carpenter reports. “It was utter mayhem! I saw not only the Ipswich Police but also the State Police and special forces from the Environmental Police all hanging out together eating donuts.”
I suspect that the bear let the wolves out. You may doubt this, because people tend to think if you’re a coward, you’re also stupid. And this bear is definitely a coward. But I think even a dumb bear can be taught. And I can easily imagine a raccoon — probably the same raccoon that has bedeviled Ipswich Chronicle editor Dan MacAlpine in times past — teaching our Ipswich bear to pick a lock. You know how raccoons are. They’re “possibility thinkers.” They want to break in to any locked space just on the chance that there’s some yummy garbage in there.
But the wolves returned to their home, of their own volition. They looked around Ipswich and saw how bears and other varmints are living on stolen bird seed and suet. Unacceptable. “We are wolves,” one wolf sniffed. “We don’t do suet.”
Outsidah correspondent Dave Carpenter reports: “During the investigation, one witness said she noticed some Down River ice cream on several wolves’ whiskers.” This supports my theory that the bear was involved. You know how bears love ice cream.