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.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Solo Night

I've been spoiled the past 6 years with great co-ministers on the street: Father Kim & Pastor Dave. But once in a while I have to hit the bars by myself.

Tonight started at the Operation Nightwatch Dispatch Center. Here homeless men, women, and families are fed, comforted and sent off to various shelters. One of the volunteers said they were trying to get groceries donated for the meal they bring to us; I whipped out a letter they could take to the grocery store -- we're a non-profit, and companies like the proof of it.

So, got a little later than usual start -- drove by My Favorite (Closed) Queen Anne Tavern. It's still closed. The flock is scattered. I'm surprised I haven't found any more of the folks than I have, and a little disappointed that MS Guy or someone hasn't called. Did run into the bar tender -- er, former bar tender. Gave him a ride home, but did he call and say he wanted to work for Nightwatch as a security guy? No. I'm bummed. Don't you think there's delicious irony in a former bar tender working for Operation Nightwatch?

From here I drove to Interbay -- where things were really happening at the Dravus Street tavern. It was super busy -- a few working girls, some regulars. The place was packed. The Milk Maid barkeep gave me hot lemon water, God bless her. She really really is looking forward to our visits on Thursday nights.

"Scotty" tried talking to me again. He's been there every time I go in, seems like a little alcoholic psychosis. Even the other patrons keep away. I heard the MM trying to explain him to a concerned customer. He's so foul and twisted that true conversation seems pointless. I wouldn't pursue it.

Another customer came to me and confessed to having relapsed, but acknowledging God in his life and the desire to help others. He made some reference to my position and I let him know that he could have an impact on people that I never could because he's been there -- formerly homeless, struggles with alcohol or addiction. I'm not sure he got the message but it was a dynamic moment.

There continues to be a lot of curiousity about us but a pretty good reception here overall. It's probably the closest bar to Pastor Norm, by the way.

From here I went down to 3rd & Bell. Second Gospel working the bar, saw the Man with No Identity and gave him some much needed good news -- his military info had come in, we now have the ability to get him VA picture ID and with that we should be able to get him his social security. It was a bad day -- someone had come to his camp site and stolen his gear -- clothes and everything. He was pretty glum until I told him of my progress.

Came back to HQ and heard that we were going to be turning away women again because the idiots that run a women's shelter which was going to be closed for two nights decided that the alternative church basement I set up for them wasn't really needed . . . Arrrgh. Oh boy someone is going to hear about this one. Lovingly. R


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