Sunday, May 20 , 2018, 7:44 am | A Few Clouds 53º

 
 
 
 

Captain’s Log: Of Aviaries and Chiropractors

Visit to aunt's house opens a young boy's eyes to a backyard bird cage — and a neck and shoulder 'fix'

When I was a little lad of about 6, my family often visited my really cool great aunt in Los Angeles. She was a chiropractor, and that was OK, but what really made her cool — from a 6-year-old’s perspective — was that she had a big aviary in her huge backyard.

Capt. David Bacon
Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)

The first time I laid eyes on it, I just stared wide-eyed at the biggest bird cage I had ever seen. It was roughly a 20-foot cube of frame and soft wire mesh.

Aunt Esther raised finches and other small birds in her aviary. She made decent money with it, but I’m sure she did it mostly because she loved colorful little birds, and they brought peace to her soul. Chiropractors need therapy, too.

These little birds were beautiful with bright colors and cheerful songs. I spent a great deal of time at the aviary and loved it. Those birds helped me learn what is important to critters and how they establish order within a community.

One of the reasons my dad enjoyed visiting his aunt was that she would give him a quick neck and shoulder fix. One day, she asked me if I wanted one, too. I said sure, thinking that if it was good enough for dad, it was good enough for me.

Once in the treatment room, I laid on one table and watched her work on dad on the other table while waiting for my turn. She was rubbing his shoulders, and it looked like it felt really good, so I was eager for my turn.

Then suddenly, she grabbed his head and did that characteristic pull and tweak that chiropractors love to do to crack — loud enough for me to hear — and loosen the neck. My eyes flew open wide. I jumped off that table and hit the deck running toward the nearest door, hollering over my shoulder, “I’m outta here. Gotta go see the birds!” I was so scared that I didn’t even wait to see if dad lived through it.

All these years later, even though I’ve had the procedure done to me numerous times, I must admit that I’m still not comfortable with it. Sorry, chiropractors. I know you do good and beneficial work, but that was a traumatic moment for a 6 year-old.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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