While waiting to open the mission and begin to feed the homeless, we noticed a man outside the door in a most unusual outfit; he was wearing nothing, but what I would call, a floral G-sting with his cheeks greeting all passers by. One of the staff grabbed a shirt and a towel and told him he would need to cover up to come in and get served. When we opened the doors, he had managed to find a summer dress of sorts, and as he spoke I could hear that he was mentally challenged and a sadder more heart wrenching fella I can't remember seeing. The clothing staff fitted him with some decent clothes and he ate and was on his way. I suppose about ten percent of the homeless people I see are of diminished mental capacity, and one can only wonder how they exist on the harsh streets of Portland. Midway through serving, on the sidewalk outside, two men launched into a vicious fist-fight. It's been a long time since I've witnessed two adult men violently throwing well-guided punches and the merciless thud it makes on a face. Two of our staff went out to try and stop it but they had to be very cautious because these were not schoolboys you could grab by the nap of the neck and break apart, this was fast and hard! Finally, with lots of shouting, they came to a truce of sorts.
I saw two men I knew who were from Teen Challenge when I worked there; one greeted me enthusiastically and we hugged and talked about his struggles; the other lowered his head under the brim of his hat in hope that I wouldn't recognize him; I busied myself until he left and said a little prayer under my breath.