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  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/iOJwD.St.138.jpeg|442
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, longtime shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, retires Tuesday, 12.24.13. Charlotte Observer Columnist Mark Washburn sat down with Parker to discuss Charlotte and his life.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/xkleo.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, longtime shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, retires Tuesday, 12.24.13. Charlotte Observer Columnist Mark Washburn sat down with Parker to discuss Charlotte and his life.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/12MUn0.St.138.jpeg|385
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, the shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, retires Tuesday, 12.24.13. Many of his customers opt to drop off shoes to be polished and pick them up later.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/I3Opr.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Nearly 80, Grady Parker, was born and grew up in the Brooklyn neighborhood in Charlotte, about six blocks from the Latta Arcade where he shines shoes. Parker retires Tuesday, 12.24.13.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/EoW93.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, the longtime shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, took up shining shoes as a teenager after deciding he didn't want to be a golf caddy. Parker retires Tuesday, 12.24.13.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/lwsOT.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker started shining shoes as a teenager. He points out a scar near his right eye he got from an errant golf ball on the first - and only- day he was a caddy. Parker retires Tuesday, 12.24.13.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/uLbgB.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker did about anything he was asked to do during 30 years on the job at Piedmont Airlines. He started shining shoes at the Latta Arcade after retiring from that job. He retires again, this time from shining shoes, on Tuesday, 12.24.13.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/WHG3Q.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker has been married for 60 years. He and his wife have 10 children. He'll retire from shining shoes at the Latta Arcade on Tuesday, 12.24.13.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/fGPoc.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker takes a phone call from one of his sons. He learns his wife will be getting out of the hospital that very day. The couple just recently celebrated their 60th anniversary while she was in the hospital. Parker will retire from shining shoes at the Latta Arcade on Tuesday, 12.24.13.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/2NHLC.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, the shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, retires Tuesday, 12.24.13. Nearly 80 years old, he has been a fixture there not only shining shoes, but dispensing his wisdom.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/DuHjk.St.138.jpeg|458
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, the shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, retires Tuesday, 12.24.13. Here are some of his tools of the trade.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/1hyFvK.St.138.jpeg|513
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, the shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, retires Tuesday, 12.24.13. When shining shoes, he first cleans them with saddle soap.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/lrlnh.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, the shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, retires Tuesday, 12.24.13. After the shoes are clean, he apples polish with his fingers, carefully rubbing it into the shoes
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/13QcVo.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, the shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, retires Tuesday, 12.24.13. Charlotte Observer columnist Mark Washburn takes notes while Parker buffs his shoes to a like-new shine.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/11gzdO.St.138.jpeg|525
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Grady Parker, the shoe shine artist at the Latta Arcade, retires Tuesday, 12.24.13. Yes, the Charlotte Observers columnist Mark Washburn did pay and tip Parker for his shoe shine.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/12/22/15/54/W1anw.St.138.jpeg|519
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    If he's not shining shoes at the Latta Arcade, Grady Parker is talking to the passersby, many who have know him for the nearly 30 years he has been there. Parker will retire Tuesday, 12.24.13.
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