In honor of my war hero on this Memorial Day evening…I post a memory of my dad PFC Arthur Elijah Gravley who landed on the shores of North Africa in WW II and later was captured by the Germans. He spent 26 courageous months as a POW in Stalag 2B. A strong, skinny farm boy from Brevard, NC who came home, not broken but molded into a man.
Here is a memory of his gentle, clever manner:
My Dad was the best man in the world to punish you without touching you. It could come in the form of a snap of his finger or just a little grunt. But his best yet came when I was a teen-ager.
My neighborhood friend at our house on Long Forest Dr. was Barry Reeves. Barry lived up across the street from Long Forest Dr. on Buncombe Rd. Barry and I started a band, which I’ll tell more about later. Barry, Butch (Barry’s younger brother), Robbie Riles , and I were riding through a neighborhood near our house one day. Barry was the only one who had access to a car at that time for fun rides and band trips. Well, we were riding along singing and laughing and having a good time. Barry and I had just finished drinking Pepsi Colas when I decided to dispose of the glass bottles by tossing them out the window of the ’58 Ford. We took great joy in watching them hit the pavement and break into many pieces as we drove off. I assumed no one saw us , or if they did surely they didn’t know who we were.
The next day Daddy finished his lunch and lit his after-lunch cigarette, blew out a puff of smoke into the air and looked up at me across the table. “I had a flat tire yesterday,” he said reflecting.
“You did?” I said. I wondered at this point why I didn’t know about it. Things like that were usually known around the house the day it happened, not the next day.
“Yep, I was driving on Overton Drive and ran over some glass in the road where someone broke a bottle.”
He half smiled, half frowned. I could have swallowed myself and disappeared from the room at that very moment. I was speechless.
I knew at that moment and know today that Dad did not have a flat tire. I never in all my years later even asked.
I just knew that I had been had…in my dad’s own way.
“If people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, there is death. But if their thinking is contolled by the Spirit, there is life and peace. Roman’s 8:6”