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.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Goodbye Hjelmer

The former owner of My Favorite Queen Anne Tavern passed away this week. I think he was about 58. He hadn't been well for awhile, and his lifestyle wasn't conducive for good health.

I met Hjelmer bartending when we sojourned what was, for us at Nightwatch, pretty far from our usual haunts. I was actually just curious about the place, wondering if it had changed much from my days as a bad Seattle Pacific student. I remember several visits there with friends, a little bleary-eyed, as I recall.

One visit, and we were in love. From the tacky atmosphere, the leaking bathroom fixtures, the nudie wall paper, it was a real place.

Happily it seems that it has not lost it's soul, despite being sold and upgraded by the new owner Christian. The regulars feel comfy, and the younger-upwardly mobile are hanging out in numbers.

Anyway, tough Hjelmer melted a bit with Father Kim & I -- showing us pics of his family graves in Norway, having us pray for his young nephews as they took first communion or were confirmed in the Lutheran church.

He gave us all something to talk about -- not the greatest businessman in the world, but I do admire his moxie at taking a stab at it. Our prayers go out -- for God's mercy, comfort to the family, and smooth seas ahead. He will be remembered.


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