On Homer: The Eagle Lady

Many of the characters and situations in Halibut Rodeo are inspired by my stay in Homer.  Like most fiction writers, I often speculate on the lives of people I see on the street, inventing identities, imagining conflicts, etc.  Such ponderings often lead to fully developed characters in my short stories.  Many of the main characters in Halibut Rodeo have their origins in this process.  Other characters live on the fringe of the book as an aspect of setting, adding shades of detail to the main action. The Eagle Lady is one such “detail.” She worked at Seward Fisheries, and even though I saw her nearly every day, I never said more than a few words to her. It was hard to tell how old she was. Nearly 70 was my guess, though she still wore heavy make up and a mass of curly red hair that might have been a wig. She was about six feet tall and walked with a severe limp. Someone told me the limp was from a career as a rodeo rider. After retirement she moved to Homer. And why the Eagle Lady? Bald eagles are nothing unusual in Homer. You see one every day in the summer. For years the Eagle Lady had been feeding the eagles in her backyard with scrapes of fish. Up until a few years ago, at least, the second largest concentration of Bald Eagles in Alaska was in the ex-rodeo rider’s backyard.

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