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 to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >