Santa Barbara

(from a 10 November 1945 letter)

On the way up the coast the ship put into Santa Barbara. The place is quite nice, but too quiet. Most of the people are retired.

One of the other officers and I went to the Mission that is about one-hundred and thirty years old and sure looks it. The brothers wear robes and leather sandals; no socks even though it was quite cold. There were graves for the many Spaniards who had settled California and also for about four-thousand Indians.

While in the cemetery I saw a hummingbird that was as big as my thumb. One of the brothers was feeding the bird sugared water from a small vial attached to the end of a stick. When the brother pulled it away suddenly, as he did a number of times for our benefit, the hovering bird raised its outer dark brown head feathers so as to expose bright red feathers that were otherwise concealed. The bird’s head appeared to become bright red in an instant.

That bird reminded me of an Irish cop getting mad.


Copyright © 2005 (text only) by Louis D. Chirillo