I only saw it in a picture. That was 40 years ago

My dad was brilliant at designing things. He could take out a white sheet of paper and invent something that never existed before.

Back in the early 60s my dad fabricated three stainless steel grills. No, not the ones you buy at the big box store. I’m talking about commercial-grade stainless that cooked with charcoal. Of the three, only one remains and he gave it to me 30 years ago. That grill can cook numerous whole chickens on the “spit” (the rod).

I’ve followed in his tradition of rotisserie cooking chickens. You marinate them with Lawry’s seasoning salt, both inside and out for at least 24 hours. You then put them on the spit and they spin on the rotisserie for 90 minutes. They come out hot and juicy – just incredible.

The maximum number of chickens I have ever cooked on that grill is four. They fit nicely. There is a space between them and it gets the job done. Until the day…

Each year, I like to do a cookout for the Charlotte Rescue Mission staff. It’s my gift to them. Last year I grilled four chickens. Everyone loved it. This year I ordered four chickens. When I went to get the chickens out of the cooler, there were five. Let me take you back almost 40 years.

In 1963, my father used this same grill. There is a picture of five chickens on it. I think he was more proud that he got five chickens on the grill than how they tasted. It became his bragging rights story.

I asked my food services manager why we had five chickens when I ordered four. His reply? “Everyone loved the chicken so much last year, we were hoping for more.”

Five chickens. I had never cooked five chickens. Would five chickens fit on the spit?  I could simply explain it was not feasible and everyone would understand. But that meant I would only cook them four chickens, not five.

Yes, I prayed about putting five chickens on the spit. It was as if God inspired me with an idea. I adjusted the right setting to give maximum space on the rod. Then I loaded the chickens on it. When all five were on the rod, there was less than two inches of room outside the hood. I needed more. I couldn’t move the right adjustment. The only thing left to do was to squeeze the chickens together – tighter. That’s what I did.

Each chicken was compressed to get a little more space. The amount each chicken gave me wasn’t much, but with each one, I gained a little more space. By the time I was done, I had almost three inches of room. Ninety minutes later, they were cooked. I cut them up, and served them to the staff. I was the last one through the food line. There were still some burgers and dogs remaining, but the chicken was all gone. All five chickens were devoured.

There are things that happen to you and me on a daily basis that appear to be too hard to tackle. We look at the situation and decide to take the easy road. Let me challenge you to take the hard road, the one that appears to be impossible to cross. As you rise to the occasion, you will accomplish what you thought was impossible. You will develop confidence to take on new challenges, new situations you think are impossible.

I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well, my friend.

The Rev. Tony Marciano is executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission, which provides a free, long-term Christian recovery program for men and women addicted to drugs and alcohol.

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