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.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

little things matter. . .

From Robin, in the Nightwatch office:

Almost every morning now when I get to work, "Chuck" is out front talking to the crossing guard. This morning (as usual) Chuck starts talking to me asking me if I'm "working hard", etc.

{Chuck has a repertoire: "Keeping out of trouble?" "Working hard?" "Keeping busy?" Pretty much one of these three, every time he sees you.}

Chuck mentions that his alarm clock didn't go off for some reason this morning. I asked him if he missed an appointment or something important. He says, "No, I set it so I get up in time to talk to the crossing guard."

{The crossing guard keeps track of the kids on the way to Gatzert Elementary. He's a retired sheriff's deputy, on duty before and after school at 14th and Main.}

It made me realize that little things in life make all the difference. Having a nice crossing guard makes Chuck want to get up and out of bed every morning. Just wanted to pass that story along, it just made me smile :)

{Thanks, Robin}

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I don't like to think of myself as a slum lord.
Nightwatch has this building with 24 senior residents. They're pretty much old, poor, formerly homeless.
And pretty dang fun.
I'm wandering the hall and someone says something about their smoke detector beeping. "But it only happens when the power goes off."
Well, shoot. How often does THAT happen?
"Every night?"
Apparently when this building was renovated 28 years ago, they wired three or four rooms each on a 20 amp circuit. This happened before Mongo Size televisions and home oxygen machines and microwave ovens for low-income people.
I got one nice guy to make a bid. Now what? I need a few more professionals to come and give bids on rewiring. And if anyone has an idea on paying for it, let me know. First bid was about ten grand. {{sigh}}

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Phone conversation of the day.

I'm putting together a list of resources for pastors, related to drug & alcohol stuff. A guy at an AA office says: "What? God didn't give phone books for pastors?"


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Drinker's Bargain

The booze hound says, "I'm okay, at least I'm not homeless."

The homeless boozer says, "I'm homeless and I drink, get over it. At least I'm not a junkie."

The junkie says, "It's organic. As soon as I get a place, I'll kick it. At least I'm not some old boozer."

It just goes round and round like that. As long as you can see someone else worse off, then you are okay.

I've seen serious alcoholics pulling down six figures. They have no pity for the homeless alcoholic, other than flipping a pan-handler a buck. When they feel like it.

Being self-absorbed and self-serving cuts across income, class, education, political opinion, orientation, and classification. What do you think?