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, June 29, 2007

F**** Cool Incarnation

I can't reproduce the conversation -- one of those nights I wish I had a wire to secretly record what happened.

He was drunk, expansive, brimming with poetry and juiced up love for God and humanity.

I've never seen him before maybe never will again. But he gave me a gift -- some original poetry, a picture of a soul pulled two directions, and the earthiest endorsement of Jesus ever given. "He f****** took all the f******* sins of the f******* world. The f******* cool Incarnation. F******* incredible.

His final words to me were the same used at my ordination. Maybe not exactly.


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Side bar: Aromatic bitters

I complained to the bartender that I'd had a gut ache all day after overdoing it at lunch time at my favorite Mexican place (it's a sure sign of age -- didn't eat as much as I once could, but still, the bellyache).

The Milkmaid said, "I got just the thing" and pulls out this ancient bottle of Angostura Bitters, throws a few drops into a highball glass with some tonic water. I was doubtful -- the brownish liquid slowly diffused in the bubbly.

I took a tentative sip. Not bad, very interesting taste.

While finishing off my remedy, I'm reading the bottle.

Almost immediately my gut ache left me. Where can I buy this stuff? And what the heck is it?

My online research has netted a "per case" source, but everyone seems to agree that one bottle lasts a half-lifetime.

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Apostles Creed in the tavern

"Sullivan" stops me on the sidewalk, asks for prayer. It's 9:00 p.m. Three years ago I met him at a bar downtown and he started off defending his Roman Catholic faith by quoting the Apostle's Creed. I recited it with him; he was amazed that a Free Methodist would agree. We have more in common than he thought, and we've been friends since.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Street Theology

"Catholics like the crucifix, reminds them of Jesus' suffering; Protestants like a plain cross, reminds them of Jesus' resurrection. Do they both work for dealing with vampires?" Question from a patron at MFQAT (My Favorite Queen Anne Tavern).

Ran into MVW at St. Martin's. He hasn't moved very far since I knew him at Nightwatch 12 years ago. Insists he's doing fine, truly nice to see him.

Delivered one female to shelter at midnight. Don't know what she said to me; my Korean isn't any better than her English.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Isaac Palmer -- death

Today a small group of us met with the contractors doing the work on I-5. Not the subcontractor, but the general contractor, up from California. They were all decent guys, really seem to want to do the right thing, make things safe for everyone.

The problem is there are not enough shelter beds, not enough affordable housing. People have to survive, and Interstate 5 is dry and accessible. There have been homeless people camping out in this stretch of the freeway for a very long time.

Twelve or thirteen years ago there were 200-300 hundred people in the greenbelt at the NW edge of Beacon Hill -- called the Jungle. Some of the campsites were unbelievably developed -- with huts made out of found materials, design, an aesthetic, homey touches all around.

The contractors want to have a list of options to pass out to homeless people.


Oh yeah. Operation Nightwatch turned away 3 women last night.
Rick photo credit: John Decker

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Milk Maid Leaving?


The Milk Maid is saying she might have another job, about 90 minutes closer to home.

It may be too early to get all worried about it. She's been working the bar, pulling beers, waving off offers, settling down the rambunctious, and (she does it all) frying up burgers for a reeeeely long time. A smile is never far from her face. Some folks call her mom, and she told me she gave up being mad about it.

"I worry about this place," she told me last night, but it wasn't the place so much as the people who circulate in and out. That sort of loyalty is pretty rare these days. Anywhere.

I wonder what will happen.

When Harriet left the Dog House in May of 1980, Mount St. Helen's erupted.

Stand back!

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