Before Amenities Arrived in Cholla Bay

by ANON from Phoenix

    This is a story about a happening that took place in Cholla Bay many years before the area was endowed with electricity and telephones. The citizen band (C.B.) radios were our only form of communication. One day I received a call from a very excited friend, Paul, who proceeded to tell me to get to their house right away because he and his wife, Jean had something very special to show me. My first reaction was to an emergency, but as he rattled on I could tell this was not the case and he went on to tell me he and Jean had been sitting on their porch having their evening cocktail when along comes this vendor carrying a cage overloaded with little birds of every color of the rainbow plus colors they had never seen before so get here and share this spectacular scene with us. I begged for ten minutes and then I’d be there. While collecting my car keys, etc. I recalled how Jean had had Paul screen in a section of the porch on the ocean side of the house and put in a few tree branches so they could make it an aviary for little birds they had hoped to acquire and felt certain this is where they had put their precious purchase.
    Just as I was getting in my car I heard my neighbor calling for me to wait. This neighbor, Terry, was the bird watcher of the community so I figured she had heard the call. As she got to the car she confessed she had been ‘rubber necking’ on the C.B. and wanted to join in. She got in the car and we were on our way.
    What a sight we walked into. All these colorful lil’ finches (about 2 dozen of them Paul said) jumping from branch to branch enjoying their new found freedom. Paul was right, of the twenty-four finches no two seemed to be exactly the same color. We all sat there for the remainder of the cocktail hour admiring the sight until darkness forced the closure of the fun hour.
    Jean’s house was the center for the ladies, almost-daily, card games. For the next few weeks the aviary and colorful birds were the center of attraction for everyone who entered the premises and passer-bys walking the beach.
    Horror of horrors!! This colorful array came to a surprise ending. Everyone living in this area knows it ‘almost’ never rains in Cholla. They claim the average rainfall is 1½ inches per year, but this night I think we got the years supply plus a little extra. Paul and Jean got up that morning to an aviary full of lil’ drab brown finches fluttering branch to branch trying to dry out their feathers. They took the whole situation in good spirits while Paul did express a desire to see that vendor again. No, not to bawl him out or to complain, but just to find out where he found all the colors and how did he apply them to the bird without making them sick. After a couple days Paul and Jean decided the lil’ birds had returned to their natural color so why not let them return to their natural environment and they opened up the screens and let the lil’ finches fly off onto another new adventure.
    The birds certainly were the talk and attraction of the community for a few weeks. However, since that happening I have never heard of anyone who has purchased an over-crowded cage full of colorful lil’ birds and that incident took place over thirty years ago right here in Cholla Bay.

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