The Man Who Polished Al Capone’s Hubcaps

As a boy he lived in Al Capone’s neighborhood. He was at Normandy on D-day. A mortar explosion tore his machine gun to shreds. The medic carried him out- they told him he was lucky he survived. Today I went to see him. He sits in the nursing home in Yoakum, waiting for the day he’ll be with Jesus. It’s been several weeks since I saw him last. I showed him a picture I had taken of Al Capone’s 1928 Cadillac when I was in Hot Springs Arkansas. He looked at it closely and said, “Why, that is Al Capone’s car!” We talked a bit about days gone by. As a boy he earned shiny new silver dollars by polishing the hubcaps on Capone’s 1928 Cadillac. World War II was not his only conflict. After they patched him up he went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam. Somewhere along the way he became a pilot and once rescued some missionaries from a guerrilla takeover in a hostile country. The missionary’s response to their killers challenged him and later he surrendered his life to the Lord. I count it a real pleasure to know Pete Barrasi. Today we sat together and looked forward to the day when we would be together in heaven. With no more pain. With Jesus. One of these days the doctors will tell us that the cancer finally got him. But Pete knows better. He told me today that when the mortar blew up it wasn’t luck that kept him alive- God wasn’t calling him yet. “When God calls, you have to go.” I think he is looking forward to that day- and I know I am looking forward to the time when Pete can talk to me without being wracked in pain.

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