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, September 29, 2006

Pastor Dave's Big Night

Yes, it was a little slow on Dravus Street -- I was talking with Mitch, minister candidate, chit-chatting with our favorite Milk Maid. Pastor Dave decided to amuse himself with pull tabs.

Guess what. He won the big pot. $105 simoleans.

He paid me back five bucks for the hamburger he ate, and I told him he had to buy me water at the next stop.

I'm betting he's the only minister to win pull tab money while out on Nightwatch.

Mitch has quite the story of coming to faith. He's hoping to finish school, become a minister, maybe in an alternative setting.

Hey Mitch, you can have my job! Rick

Friday, September 22, 2006

Boogie Down, Babay!

Cheer up, baby.
Whistle a tune. . .

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Alcohol and Philiosophy

Would someone PLEASE donate a listening device or wire I can wear and secretly tape these conversations. Please?

The Jewish-Communist-Freudian-Philosopher-Fast Talker had so much to say there's no way I could keep up. Meanwhile Father Kim dealt with the Montana-Navy-Episcopal-Train Guy.

Later we called for shelter for a woman in distress, high as a kite IMHO. John @ Nightwatch said yes, Hammond House had a spot. She turned it down, said she wanted something to eat. Offered to walk over to the store across the street but she again turned us down. So we were done with her.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Homeless Style

Check out the club where I spoke to the morning Rotary. It is a first class deluxe place. I love Rotarians and their $125 golf tourneys. They do a lot of good.

Later in the day I was grubbing out the kitchen with David (a volunteer) and Ann (Deputy Director), checking mousetraps; and then moving ceiling tiles in our new space, getting dust and grit and fiberglass all over my nice slacks and clergy shirt.

I'm not brilliant enough to figure out that I needed to leave the house at 6:30 a.m. with two or three sets of clothes. I needed my rubber suit, an extra pair of jeans, a helmet and goggles, union suit, mask. (fiberglass in the new ceiling in the office, yuk).

What about the poor dude who hires out at a temp service for the day, gets paid $80 and ruins his only pair of jeans? See why they "look homeless?" It happens every day, believe it. Rick

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I'm not complaining -- it goes with the territory. Taking care of people is aggrivating at times, and tiring always.

Tonight, instead of talking with folks, we spent the night getting ready to move the Nightwatch office -- tomorrow. Yikes.

I gotta get to to bed.

Nighty night and love to you, dear reader.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We are all cousins, yes?

So, I was at a family gathering, and one of the distant relatives was so sloppy drunk by noon that he couldn't stand up.

Now usually I might be irritated or frustrated with such behavior, or go out of my way to avoid such a person. But this was my relative, for goodness sake. I was sad, I wanted to do something, to let the person know I care about him and will help him get help, whatever it takes. Let's work together, get this thing figured out. Come on, now.

I asked myself why I'm so interested in getting some help for this person. He's my relative! I can't let him do that to himself -- a pattern of behavior that is leading him to an early grave!

Aren't we all relatives though? Maybe that guy in the shelter needs me too. I should help him as well. He's a cousin, to somebody who cares, maybe.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Scritchy People

She stood at the end of the bar, jittery.

"How you doin'?"

Her eyes darted around the dark bar nervously.

"I'm fine."

I doubted it. She was looking for her connection, her fix.

Like certain people and ice cream! Don't despise them. Just love them.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Believe It Or Not

"You're Methodist? My family was Methodist."

I started feeling a little scritchy in the back of my brain, wondering where we were going with this.

It's the seediest bar around, Bob Marley wailing in the background, lots of whispers and coming and going. The guy is lit up but not too bad.

"I don't really . . . well, I guess I do believe that stuff. Well some of it anyway" he faltered.

I recognized in the faltering that he wasn't really going to deny his faith -- the faltering meant there was something still there that said "I can't prove I believe anything but to say that I don't believe is worrysome, and if it is worrysome, I must believe, something at least."

The next words he said to me nailed it "I'm too old for this."

"For what?"

"All this; propositioned, offered drugs. I've got a 10 year old," and then silence as he thought about how many beers and how long he was sitting in darkness with a bunch of thugs.

"Nice to meet you." He shook my hand and headed out. It was 10:00 p.m. He left 2/3 of a beer on the counter.