There was a party on the sidewalk, spilling out from someone's swanky downtown condo. They commiserated with me ("The priest has a flat!) and two different women (!) offered to help me out. Made me feel like a million to have some young thing in party clothes offer to help. heheehee. Fifteen minutes and I was on my, thank goodness I had everything I needed.
But it was a great night -- ran into an old friend up on Broadway. Larry saved me when I was about 20 -- crash on the freeway, and there was Larry my bud directing traffic around me, helped me limp the car off the freeway. There's a lot more to the story. Anyway, nice conversation with him and his fiance.
On to MFQAT. Lots of regulars, lotsa NW love out there -- it has been upscaled so some people miss the tawdriness of the old place. The new bartender doesn't ignore you or growl, so maybe it's just no fun anymore? But the three HD wide screens are sure nice for watching ice skaters. Nice conversations with several patrons, and many more greetings.
Then on to the Dravus Street bar. Wasn't sure I was going to stay long, but it was midnight (bar time) before I got out of there.
Milk Maid was back.
She's had a tough couple months. She fell on the job a while ago and fractured her hands or wrists, and had to take many weeks off the job. She was back for a week, then her aged mother passed away (prayers go out to the extended family). So this was the first Thursday back.
I asked if what bartender V. said was true, that she had worked at this bar for 30 years. She said yes, off and on. Amazing. (Also amazing, that the owner would give her a hard time about applying for L&I from being injured on the job. Unbelievable.)
She was really happy to see me (did I mention I was alone tonight?)
As I stood at the bar, I looked down and saw a blue Mariners bag, and yep, sure enough there was "J" parked there, just like last week. He still has no place to go, so I called our worker back at the home office. No more shelter left (it was 11:15 by this time). I asked "J" what he was going to do. I guess he's been going to a 24 hour restaurant in Ballard and hanging out for the night. They don't mess with him, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. It must be a headache for the crew to have a drunk just sitting there for a whole shift. They must be cool with it or it wouldn't continue. (Note to Pastor Dave -- does the former barmaid from 3rd and Bell still work at this 24 hour restaurant which we have visited?)
Anyway, had a very dynamic conversation with "J." Encouraged him to get a vision of himself helping others in like circumstances get off the booze and back on their feet. He's sort of given up because he's been fighting alcohol his whole life, has a few months of sobriety a year ago, but relapsed. Really praying that he would commit himself to the steps and give himself over to God as he understands him. He was shedding tears as we talked, but I've learned not to take the tears of a drunk very seriously. Still, there was resonance.
Thank you to the donors who make the work possible, to the hardest working crew of people in the world: Ann, Paul, John, Sherry, Theo, Jeff, Billy, Alfred. Looking for a part time job? Call our office: 206-323-4359. And thank you Lord for trusting us all with the care of these precious lives.