As the second day of the weekend is still in its infancy and dawn has yet to break, a man caped in a yellow rain slicker fills his trunk with newspapers. Grasping bundles with wrinkled palms stained black from the ink, 80-year-old Buford Cabrera sets up a small stand to hawk Sunday papers at the same Red Bank intersection he's manned for more than 15 years.
"I never sold papers when I was was young. I waited until I retired to become a newspaper man," the Chattanooga native said.
Cabrera began selling papers in 1999 when he saw an advertisement for the job and decided that he needed some additional income to supplement his part-time career as the dairy manager at Bi-Lo.
He quickly became a fixture in Red Bank and has built up a group of regulars who visit him weekly. He doesn't know many of them by name, but he recognizes their automobiles and faces instantly and loves interacting with pets that have hitched rides with their owners.
What started as a way to earn a few extra dollars has become an enjoyable routine for Cabrera, but it's far from easy work.
Cabrera sets up before sunrise at 5 a.m. and stands for most of the day before he leaves at 3:30 p.m. He rests on the bumper periodically but believes he needs to be visible -- otherwise he may lose sales.
During that 10 1/2-hour shift, Cabrera sells an average of 160 newspapers. He's paid 50 cents apiece for the first 100 and 60 cents for every one sold over that, sometimes receiving a tip.
His all-time sales record was 200 papers in one day and 46 papers in a single hour. That was early in his career, when the threat of snow brought people out seeking the news.
"They (customers) like me because they know I'll be here." Cabrera said. "I've probably only missed four or five days out of the 15 years. ... My son got married one of those and I was sick the others."
Roadside newspaper stands were once fairly common part-time work, but now employ just over a dozen people in the area.
If you happen to be traveling past the intersection of Ashland Terrace and Dayton Boulevard on a Sunday, the odds are good you will find Cabrera leaning up against his tan Nissan Xterra SUV under the neon Maxi Auto Service sign, ready to get you reading.