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, November 11, 2005

Veterans Day Eve

Happy Veterans Day. Tonight we ran into vets wherever we went, from Operation Nightwatch where staff and volunteers who are vets served homeless vets a meal and found them shelter for the night, to the taverns where we ran into all sorts of interesting vets. At the end of the night at midnight, as the bar closed I went around and checked -- about 80% of the patrons were identified as vets. I thanked them all. Some were quite moved.

At the Dravus Street bar I was chided for having missed a week. Last Thursday I was ill (sorry about the lack of updates tsk tsk). Milkmaid missed me. I laughingly told her I had thought about calling in. I haven't run into such an enthusiastic response in any bar in a long time.

Met H (no teeth?). Met S. who was in total collapse and finally as the cab came to haul her (him?) out, s/he revealed he was facing a health crisis -- darkly alluded to. I gave him/her my card, said it would look better in the morning, and pushed her out. The gender confusion by the way was all ours. Pastor Dave was sure it was a guy in transition, but I was willing to think S was simply a big lady. The Marine Corps ring was curious though. S. made everyone happy, buying a round. J. played pool with Pastor Dave. K-J asked for prayer. Met K. too. Couldn't get away from her once she started her long rambling tale -- delusional I think, but God love her, she had perfect nails and offered me half her sandwich. Found out that the skinny regular has a street handle -- he greeted me civilly, but then he hadn't been there very long, unlike other visits. Dog-boy? I wonder about the derivation. Can hardly wait to hear him bark. Just hope he doesn't bite. Still no evacuees from our old haunt which continues to be shut down and no sign of a soon-resurrection on Queen Anne Hill.

Didn't get to Third and Bell until 11:15 -- despite agreeing to a short stay, Dave got involved in a pool game with R#3 who wasn't too happy with me for my failure to find him a wheelchair (I thought this would be a slam dunk and failed miserably -- then on the way home Dave said his church has two in a closet -- cha-ching!). The Man with No Identity is soon to emerge from the shadows. DDAY is next Tuesday. I found it a little ironic that I'm unable to help a homeless vet on Veteran's Day because the Vet's office is closed. Any obstacle can and will be found.

The MWNI actually teared up when I told him I was going to call my favorite WW2 vet today -- my dad. MWNI has been an orphan since he was 2 -- a loving grandparent raised him, but he wanted me to know I was truly blessed to have both parents alive. He also made a special point of wishing me a happy holiday.

Bartender "2nd Gospel" had to unlock the door to let us out at the end of the night. Visited NW staff back in the office after midnight. Off to bed, finally. Rick, late!


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