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, March 30, 2007

Street Minister plays mean bass guitar

First half of the night was very boring.

We complained amongst ourselves.

Within seconds we had Tug Boat Annie chasing us down the street to say hi and happy Easter. Nice breathless conversation.

Skipped our final stop in favor of a new place in Post Alley downtown Seattle. Big joint, lots of young people. The musician gave us a big dose of his theology, then invited Pastor Dave #2 to join him on some numbers -- Willie Nelson, Beatles, Pink Floyd. Dave #2 knows what to do with bass guitar. The crowd ignored us.

We left a little before midnight, got pan-handled by "H"
"I take Visa & Mastercharge!!" he hollered as we walked away.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


"Sin is like bad barbecue. Tastes pretty good goin' down, but in the middle of the night it wakes you up."

"He was about 18 inches from conversion. The head was there, but the heart wasn't."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm a geezer

Today we were cleaning out files. From 1991 logs. I finally realize the awful truth.

I am a geezer.

Here was the best entry we found so far, thanks to Steve T. (You know who you are) from May, 1991:

"Armchair philosophers abounded, discussing life on Mars, law, education, communism -- and the perils of maintaining a pet rat while homeless. You know, the usual stuff. Blessings to all, Steve" (with Sonja)

Just another night helping homeless people from 16 years ago. Rick

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rough Night, Not

The routine isn't very exciting blog material: "Six blankets to Tent City, consoling a bartender on the loss of her brother, pleasantries with da boys, blessing the woman on the corner at midnight."

The bar tender at the last place gave us a teasing bad time: "Hey, you, show me your ID." So I gave it right back.

Took out the Jetta key. "Watch it buddy, I'm armed." Flip goes the button like some big bad blade, out pops the key.

"Whoa, watchit with that." Word.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Seamless Night

Started out at a Lutheran church-lady mission night. Eleven godly women. Someone had to ask: "Are you ever in . . . dangerous situations?
Next stop, some bar where they told me about a shooting the previous weekend. Only four customers tonight, who woulda thunk it?
The night ended with the whining of a long-time homeless guy who bugs our staff because he wants to be treated like he's better than everyone else, and has been barred numerous times for doing whatever he feels like doing -- for survival sake. I hadn't been around him for years, and he managed to aggravate me in 15 minutes, some sort of a record.
Patience, dear God, NOW!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Homeless in San Francisco

I'm on vacation, but I can't get away from it.

On the way south to visit my brother in San Rafael, I met a fabulous person who directed me to a program called Project Homeless Connect. I spent part of Wednesday observing 1,700 volunteers assisting several thousand homeless people with everything: TB screenings, foot care, flu shots, book exchange, free lunch with entertainment, massage, haircuts, ID replacement, info on Vet's benefits, housing, counseling for drug/alcohol. It was exciting and moving; something we definitely need in Seattle.

For more on Project Homeless Connect:

Later that afternoon I met with San Francisco Street Ministry staff and one board member. They have paid chaplains on the street every night until 4 a.m. Nightwatch in Seattle was originally modelled on them, though we have grown much bigger and in different directions.

Back next week. Rick