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, December 01, 2005

MFQAB Reopens!!

Yeah! My Favorite Queen Anne Bar has reopened. Under new management and looking unbelievable. Met the new owner (we try not to use real names of establishments or people -- give us some feedback here!). Definitely a different type place, very nice, very non-smoky. In fact there were more people clustered outside than inside drinking. It will be interesting when this non-smoking rule goes into effect.

But I'm getting ahead of myself on a busy night. It's really cold tonight, but early in the month many people have checks and go rent cheap rooms in hotels, or just plain party all night. So there's excess shelter space, though there is snow on the ground.

First stop after checking in at Nightwatch (14th and Main) was to Harborview Hospital. Here we visited our ailing tenant. He's pretty out of it. Started to say, "Don't take any. . . " one would presume "wooden nickels" but he fumbled a bit, then said, "Don't take any hookers." When I asked him what he meant he just laughed and said, "You know what I mean, right there, you know?" All I could do is think, "huh?"

From Harborview we scooted down to the Dravus Street Bar. Always interesting. Had a cup of java, greeted the Milk Maid Bartender, and regulars: "H" "J" "K" H is driving me crazy because I can never remember if he's Harry or Howard or Homer or Horton and I've met him too often to not remember. Alzheimers? If I remember properly how to spell it I must not be suffering. Oh, and note to self. The crazy kid is not Dogboy -- misinformed. He's Goulet.

Here's a replay of my "conversation" with Goulet. He asks me an unintelligible theological question, then takes umbrage at my response of "excuse me?" Then he tells me "A lot of people touched the Bible before anyone ever read it." Ah, I think, a discussion of textual criticism and documentary reliabilty. Before I can respond he asks me if I have ever asked God about aliens controlling humans with microwave energy so that we will fight with each other. He got up and moved and I pondered the likelihood of alcohol psychosis.

As we were leaving (we being Father Kim and I) we were stopped by one honest man -- a Scotch-Irish "I" (Hey, he fits in very well with the list of regulars above!). Grew up agnostic acknowledged his lost-ness. His blunt openness was refreshing. Hope we run into I again.

Milk Maid came all the way out to the sidewalk to thank us. (She was afraid we wouldn't come back after MFQAB reopens -- we started going to her joint looking for MFQAB evacuees two or three months ago.

Anyway, from Milk Maid to the yuppiefied but nice MFQAB. Kind of quiet, hasn't had it's grand reopening yet. After being empty for three months, it will take time for word to get out. But it was good to see some regulars, they seemed happy to see us. The whole place is muted and rich in feel, very different but cool. And NO SMOKING.

On down to Third & Bell. Place was packed -- first of the month, people have dough in welfare land. Third Gospel looking natty in the bar, R#3 playing pool and looking as healthy as I've ever seen him, sans wheelchair. "K" greeted us warmly as usual, and the Man With No Identity there as usual. I need another name for him, now that he's got two pieces of picture ID and is soon going to get Social Security. Hope the room opens for him in our building.

We had a deeper conversation than usual -- me trying to fit a wedge between the Catholic priest who got in the worst bar fight he's ever seen, and a living love faith relationship with the Creator. Every human being is broken and at some level a failure. This does not negate the fact that God can use them for a good purpose. We all sin. But God loves us. I think MWNI is getting it. I also took the opportunity to pick at the source of some of his anger with family over money and respect. He wished me a happy Christmas, but I pointed out I would see him at least three more times before Christmas.

Home to Nightwatch -- where there was a quiet night, no turn-aways and no problems. Off to bed! Pastor Rick


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