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.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I decided to go out to visit my bars on Thanksgiving night. This is the first time in 20 years I've actually tried this, partly to preserve my own sanity and partly to keep the home fires burning. But last week I checked and yes, both the main bars I go to were planning to be open. What do you expect? People to suddenly have a life? Besides, by 10 pm on a holiday a lot of people feel like going out and getting drunk -- thanks to family tension.

The Dravus street bar was open -- some recognizable regulars -- though I haven't seen "J" for awhile, and Dogboy was AWOL. I miss the lumberjack/mohel. Milk Maid behind the bar described her cooking calamity -- turkey avalanche when the entire oven tipped forward and dropped a bunch of equipment on her, to say nothing of a 350 degree bird. She's gonna be sore tomorrow.

Down the bar was a lone guy working on a pitcher. He offered to buy me a beer. I demurred, but came down and sat with him and had a reasonably lucid conversation (one of these days I'm going to lay out a system for categorizing bar conversations -- instead of one to five stars they would have to be one to five pint glasses . . . ). This RC patron talked about a family situation. He also had some nice things to say about Nightwatch from years gone by -- apparently he bartended in the area when there were more ministers on the street. God bless him, I was really happy to have had one "one pint" type conversation. Made coming out to night worth it.

Went on down to 3rd and Bell. "K" says he had a fine meal -- cooked himself dinner, ate alone. I gave the "Man With No ID" his new Driver's License which arrived this week. He is really ready to move in someplace, hopefully here at Nightwatch. Lots of women from Angelines hanging out -- evidently they come to the bar to wait for their rides to various shelters. Lots of hispanic guys in tonight. "R" #3 was gone still, and 3rd Gospel in the bar, looking good. Don't see button down shirts often back there. Silent "M" enjoyed the conversation -- some sort of affective disorder -- stroke or something. Another vet.

Back at Nightwatch -- a wild man was talking to the martians, but the crew wasn't concerned about him. They deal with him nightly and he doesn't seem to pose a threat to anyone. What a life. In early (midnight home). Rick


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