By William Lawrence Sr.
Dan Colt sat in the parlor car quietly sipping bourbon and listening to two big drunks argue. He was going home in style, using his mustering-out pay to travel first class from California to New York.
In a few days, the sharply pressed uniform and highly polished boots would be replaced by a charcoal grey suit and cordovan brogans.
Colt was 21 – young to be a U.S. Army Ranger captain. He received a battlefield commission and Silver Star during a fight for a piece of Korean real estate.
The drunks got louder and suddenly started throwing punches. In a few seconds, Colt had them separated and even laughing. He was of medium height and build, not a big man, But he appeared bigger.
When he sat back down in the stuffed chair, the handsome silver-haired man sitting next to him addressed him.
“You know how to handle yourself.” It was a statement of fact.
Colt’s traveling companion turned out to be Thomas Meridian, the owner of Meridian Industries. Before the train reached New York, Colt was hired as Meridian’s bodyguard and aide.
Meridian’s home and company headquarters were outside of Ithaca, N.Y. Colt moved into his home, and soon became as close as a son to the Meridians who had no children.
He bought a toy poodle that he trained to bark at strangers, and enrolled as a business major at Cornell University. He spent a great deal of time in the Meridian kitchen.
In his travels, he had learned to cook and especially loved grilling. His favorite was a rosemary crusted chicken which he always served with a side of grilled veggies.
The Meridians insisted that he make it for all their special barbeques.
Colt had been at the Meridian estate for about a year when, late one evening, the dog jumped on his bed and barked. An armed burglar was in the Meridian’s bedroom. Colt moved fast. The burglar did not see or hear him coming, before it was too late. He broke the intruder’s arm.
He did not call the police. Instead, he took the whimpering burglar outside. “I’ll break both of your legs if you ever come back,” he told him. The burglar knew he meant it.
Within three years, Colt had his business degree. Three years later, he had a law degree. Meanwhile, he moved up in the company, and was eventually named president. It was understood he would become chairman when Meridian finally retired.
Colt eventually married a beautiful brunette named Kelly Barranger but remained close to his surrogate parents. The couple often went to visit them on summer weekends. Colt always manned the grill.
Dan Colt Rosemary Grilled Chicken
Make a rub of salt, rosemary, garlic powder and pepper. Dan’s proportion is 3 salt, 2 rosemary, 1 garlic and 1 pepper. How much you make depends on how much chicken you plan to cook. For a couple of drumsticks, a tablespoon of salt, two teaspoons of rosemary and a teaspoon each of garlic and pepper would work for most people. With regard to the rosemary, fresh is best but dried is fine and don’t worry about mixing them. With regard to the chicken, thighs and drumsticks are what Dan preferred.
Pat the chicken dry, coat it with the rub and let sit while you prepare the veggies. Cut an onion in rings, a bell pepper in strips and slice three carrots lengthwise then halve them. Coat the veggies in olive oil and smother to taste with garlic powder and salt. Remember, Dan was a guy who liked to live.
Heat up a side of the grill as hot as you can get it. Set the chicken down for about three minutes per side, then put the pieces on a spot away from the flames where they can roast at about 400 degrees. This means lid down. In five to 10 minutes set upon the grill a piece of aluminum foil with the sides turn up and spread the veggies atop it. In about five minutes the chicken should be done. Check with a meat thermometer which should read at least 165 degree.
Take the chicken out to rest. In about five minutes the veggies should be done. Place them over the chicken and serve.
Dan Colt Rosemary Grilled Chicken