One day, a brown Rolls Royce pulled to the opposite pump. A dapper man got out and proceeded to fill his tank. And of course, my big mouth had to say something.
"That's a good way to stay humble . . . pump your own gas."
The matching brown colored man smiled and laughed.
"That's about right," he said.
As I drove away, I read his vanity license plate. PIANO
photo by NoVARonHoly crap, I just smart-assed Allen Toussaint, famed musician, songwriter and a favorite New Orleans son!
In the months and years ahead, we often found ourselves at the same gas pumps and trading hellos. He'd ask if I lived in the neighborhood and I would point across the bayou to Moss Street. I would ask if he enjoyed the recent Jazz Fest.
After I moved from New Orleans to live in Houston for a year and a half, I returned to my favorite Mid City neighborhood and found myself at the Esplanade Shell once again. And who pulls up to the pump but Mr. Toussaint! I was happy to see my famous gas station acquaintance.
"Haven't seen you in awhile. Where've you been?" he asked.
Gotta love that.
Be sure to catch Austin City Limits featuring Allen Toussaint, full episode HERE. Watch his post-Rita thoughts at the end of the show.