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The Station by Chris Paul
Via The Players' Tribune, Chris Paul discusses what inspired him to start the Chris Paul Family Foundation and to give back and support communities.
Via The Players' Tribune - You remember that bit from The Original Kings of Comedy, where Cedric the Entertainer is doing the impression of the old guy from the neighborhood who’s always talking with a cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth?
Even if you’re too young to remember the bit, if you’re from the South, you know this guy. Every neighborhood had this guy. You could find him at your local service station. You pull up with your car’s engine rattling, and he comes strolling out, wiping his hands with that greasy red rag.
“Can you fix it, sir?”
“Can I fix it? Boy, I been here 30 years. Been here longer than you been alive. Of course I can fix it. Come on, now. I know a carburetor problem when I see it. Bring it in the garage.”
Except it doesn’t sound like that at all, because somehow he’s speaking in complete sentences while smoking a Winston at the same time. So it sounds something like, “Canahfixit? Beenherethirtyoddyearnow. Courseicanfixit. Cmonnah, knowadangcarburetorproblemwhenahseeitnow. Brangitinnagrage.”
Cigarette flipping every which way as he’s talking, breaking the laws of physics.
That was my grandfather. That was Papa, to a T. He opened the first African-American owned service station in the state of North Carolina, and he was the hardest working man I’ve ever seen. He wasn’t just blue collar. He was blue pants, too. Every single day, he wore the same outfit. Light blue work shirt, dark blue work pants, red rag hanging out of his back pocket, “JONES” stitched in red across his chest pocket.
If you lived in Winston-Salem and you needed a tank of gas or a carburetor or just a conversation, you went to see Mr. Jones.
We used to sit down for dinner at night, and his hands would be so greasy that we’d say, “Papa, you need to go wash up!”
He’d say, “I washed ’em already!”
He wasn’t lying either. Man, he worked so hard for so long that the grease was just ingrained in there. No soap could wash it away. It was literally skin-deep.
Everybody in Winston-Salem knew him. He was a legend. Nobody even knew me and my brother by our names. We were just “Mr. Jones’ Grandkids” to everybody. Even when I got to high school and I was making a name for myself playing basketball, it was always, “Man, Mr. Jones’ Grandson is pretty good.”
That’s the kind of weight his name carried. It followed us around. He was my best friend in the world. Whenever my mom was mad at me for something, I’d go see Papa. Whenever my coach was mad at me, I’d go see Papa. What is it about grandparents? I can’t explain it. They just get it, you know what I’m saying...
Read the whole article HERE.