Raymond Kitchen, owner of Kitchen's Auto in Paris, walks out of the shop's front office. Raymond has been working on cars since age 9 when he fixed the flooding carburetor in his uncle's '53 Buick. Raymond's shop has become the daily meeting space for a number of other older men, affectionately dubbed the "Board of Directors" meetings.
Raymond pours coffee for Chuck Newbury during the “Board of Directors” meeting in the early morning hours at Kitchen’s Auto. The gatherings provide meaningful connections for this group of Paris residents.
Bobby Dryden (from left), Raymond, Wayne Wagoner and Jeff Kitchen sit around the small table in the back of Kitchen’s Auto enjoying a lunch of beans, cornbread and potatoes prepared by Wayne’s wife. On some Fridays, one of the regulars at the “Board of Directors” meetings brings lunch for the group.
Wayne and Bobby are familiar faces at the morning gatherings at Kitchen's. Bobby is known as the group’s troublemaker, often playing pranks and playfully jesting with fellow regulars. One of his favorite pranks is putting vaseline on the inside of car door handles.
Wayne sits and watches Jeff as he works to repair a vehicle. Jeff says he's been working on cars "ever since he was old enough." In his younger days he not only repaired cars, but raced them.
Jeff uses a flashlight to illuminate the underside of a vehicle he's evaluating for repairs. He says working on a car can be like a puzzle and when you figure it out, it can be very rewarding.
Jeff's son, Tyler Kitchen, checks the oil in his grandfather's 1966 Plymouth Barracuda he's helping restore. Tyler is not only the third generation of his family to work at the small auto repair shop, but also the third generation to work as a firefighter.
A bird house with a sign that says "Kitchen's Auto" hangs from the ceiling in the back room of the shop where the "Board of Director's" meets.
A set of wrenches hangs on the side of a workbench in the shop.
Old auto repair manuals are stacked on a bookshelf in the back room of Kitchen's.
Jeff removes a flat tire from a local farmer's trailer outside of the shop.
River, the furriest member of the “Board of Directors,” waits for his daily allotment of treats.
Three generations of Kitchen men – Jeff, Raymond and Tyler – stand for a portrait in the family's auto repair shop. Founded by Raymond nearly 40 years ago, the shop has become a staple in the area not only for their skill but also for the community they've built around the shop.