Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Short Night

Got stood up tonight, so didn't spend much time out. I went on my own on the street for 14 plus years. But I've been spoiled the past 5 or 6 years with good walking partners.

Continue to deal with the situation "Man with No Identity" presents. Hopefully the VA will be able to get something going soon. I wrote a letter this week to the parish in NY where this guy was baptised in the 1940s; they also supported him in his elistment in the military in the 1960s. PRAY!

Trying to get shelter situations sorted out for the coming season -- winter shelter sponsored by the city of Seattle is being delayed until Dec. 15 as the space is not ready. If there's a snow storm before then I don't know what will happen.

Also, My Favorite Tavern on Queen Anne Hill is still closed; rumor has a sport bar going in there. Wonder where my flock has scattered to? Will have to pursue it this week. Also spoke to my 5-year Sober Man I'll call "Wally." What a hoot. He's got a chance to go to Nepal for some environmental org. Amazing what happens with the booze is gone! I'm going to go to his house later this week with Father Kim.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Not As Much Fun

I was totally by myself tonight -- and I can tell you it is not as much fun as last week! Every week now I have to drive past my usual stop on the top of Queen Anne hill. It looks like My Favorite Tavern is undergoing a huge face lift. Hope all the regulars are okay. Wonder if they miss me at all on Thursday nights?

Not sure why, but I just didn't have the starch to go hunting for everyone at Interbay or whereever they're hanging out now. (next week next week).

Headed down to 3rd and Bell. Seems like a whole new ball game in Belltown lately, more trafficking than usual, or maybe it's just that I'm having to walk farther from the tavern than I used to, thanks to the night club scene picking up. Belltown is the new Pioneer Square (not so new actually -- I did a public walk in 1995 to draw attention to the drug problems -- enforcement seems a little pointless perhaps. Walking around in a clerical collar sure draws the paranoid stares. In fact, last week these two women about broke their necks looking at me after coming out of the tavern here.)

At 3rd and Bell I spent time with R #3 and The Man with No Identity. R#3 wanted to talk theology -- "Why I'm not a Roman Catholic." Since I knew the Man with No Identity was a cradle Catholic I didn't want to rise to the bait. Besides I had business -- trying to establish the identity for the Man with No Identity. We agreed to get together the next day. (ed. -- I hauled him over to Gethsemane Lutheran where they have a worker Jan who helps with ID. But even she was stumped.) And that was pretty much my night. Rick

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Triple Threat

Father Kim & I had a third helper tonight -- Mistie from SD, which could be a mid western state or a city in SoCal.

It was a pretty interesting night. Since my favorite Queen Anne tavern is now CLOSED (oh my gosh, a whole chapter on this next week) we decided to take stuff to Tent City 3, currently located at Church By theSide of the Road (yes, that is its name). We brought blankets, cups, napkins, a few other necessary items. These were received with thanks. I jokingly told them it was a peace offering. They said, "Okay, we forgive you" and then I heard that apparently our night crew at the Shelter Dispatch Center (14th and Main) had run off the Tent City Outreach team when they came recruiting new members. At least they acknowledged that they should have called first instead of just showing up. I'm sure my crew thought they were just fishing for dinner and didn't have a referral (our usual requirement).

The three of us split up and got involved with various conversations. Mistie was absolutely fearless, which is great for a first-timer. She would be a great outreach minister.

From there we went to Third and Bell. Most the regulars were absent, the usual bartender was getting a much needed break -- traveling to Reno with the owner as a thank you for working four straight months without a night off. Bartender "D" was back (hey, didn't she fire him once?). Talked to "He Who Has No Identity" about our attempt to get him set up with Social Security as a step to getting him off the street. Progress is being made through VA and others.

It was pretty early, but decided to make an early end of the night. Got back to the Dispatch Center about 11:15 or 11:30, and there was a maelstrom brewing -- evidently one of the women's shelters had a closure tonight. No one called us. Phooey. There were eight disconsolate/angry women storming around trying to collect themselves. Half of them marched out with blankets, the other four Father Kim kindly hauled to Tent City 3 for the night. But they weren't very happy about it.

(Ed. note -- the following week we found out that there are two more nights in October when this shelter is scheduled to be closed. I have sent letters to First Covenant Church, asking them to consider covering these two nights, staffed by the usual staff -- in at 9:30 and out by 7 a.m. We shall see. Why the shelter can't figure it out for themselves is beyond me. . . )

Friday, September 02, 2005

Another Great Quote

Father Kim was out of town so I was on my own last night.

Had several people invoke my clergy privelege last night -- so I can't really share any of the big news from my favorite Queen Anne bar. Needless to say it will affect us all; these sorts of events can cause people to seek personal change and growth -- painful, but ultimately good.

Had a great visit at Third and Bell, although I've got tell you, there was a ton of street drug trafficking going on. All these twitchy people gathering, then suddenly dispersing, and looking at me in a most paranoid fashion.

At Third & Bell saw several regulars, though R#3 was AWOL. I think he should have to call us if he's NOT going to be there. I don't think he drinks, just likes the company. Anyway, D. was thankful I was attempting to assist him. Not sure if there's anything we can do, his name and birth certificate don't match -- his service record etc all with a name he wasn't born with. But I suspect after talking with him -- if he had the identification at some point, he can get it again, assuming he's accurate in his info. We shall see. He's 65 and sleeps outside and believes he shouldn't anymore. The last few times I've seen a little sloppier than I remember in times past, not sure what to make of it other than the usual progression of the disease.

Some guy started chatting me up in the bathroom (hard to describe it as a bathroom, the door is stuck open and the back of your head is clearly visible to the bartender -- in fact when I first went in there last night, she stopped me, turned me around for a hug -- her in the door of the men's room and me inside. HA.

Anyway, a guy followed me in, and started talking over his shoulder (any guy can explain this if you ask them). Anyway, he said something like how important it is to do good, and I tried to shape this thought a little -- because I believe it is biblical that we are "blessed to be a blessing." It wasn't exactly what he meant (probably more like "what goes around comes around" or that misunderstood idea of making good karma for oneself). Anyway we had this little patch of common ground, and I went back out to the bar to my interupted conversation. Suddenly this hand was thrust into mine with some real folding money. I was sort of mid thought and didn't really look at what was handed me, and when I finished my sentence, turned around, and the dude was gone.

The other patrons thought it was pretty cool that he had done that but when I said something about sending the money to help people in New Orleans, they vetoed it. "It's for Nightwatch" so there you go.

Plus another great quote: "My mother was Lutheran and my dad was Roman Catholic. I'm a Little Schizophrenic." -- Rick

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Mind Control

Oh my garsh. My weekly meeting with the Messiah led me to a web site which exposes mind control technology. He is devouring this stuff, because it confirms his delusions: I'm not recommending this junk. Imagine how hard it is to dissuade someone who says "satellites are controlling my mind" when they can go onto the net and "prove" it really is possible.