I went viral last week.
Okay, maybe not "viral" in the sense that that term is usually used to describe. I was not being forwarded across the country with the subject line being "YOU GOTTA SEE THIS!!!". It was more in the "I got my family in a straight-up uproar after one statement via my Facebook status update" kind of way.
I said something along the lines of "Spaghetti & ketchup. Shut up. I like it."
It was intended to be a statement against my co-workers who earlier in the day said, "You eat spaghetti with ketchup on it?!?! That's DISGUSTING!", but it ended up getting more comments of support (all extended family members, of course) and before I knew it, many of my aunts and uncles had posted to their Facebook statuses (or is "statusi" the plural of "status"??) that they, too, were in love with the concoction of spaghetti, ketchup, and cheddar cheese that for as long as I can remember has been lovingly referred to as "spaghetti and cheese".
According to family folklore, my Grandpa Rogers came home one day from work with a newspaper clipping with the recipe for spaghetti and cheese on it (I know, I know...how do you need a recipe for 3 ingredients? Beats me.) I have actually thought about how different our family dinners would have been had he never seen that newspaper article (something tells me they were grasping for news stories back in the 1960's). What made him think, "Oh...that sounds delicious! I bet my family of 12 would really enjoy some spaghetti drowned in Heinz."
I meant to ask him about it...
My Grandpa Rogers died last night and I have to be honest, I'm thankful that the only thing I never said to him was, "Really? Ketchup and spaghetti? Huh."
I was lying in bed last night and was trying to remember the last time that I saw him and I'm pretty certain that it was in church. My grandparents spot was second row, left of center. My parents row was back row, left of center (Do you consider it odd that we have called dibs on our pews for the last 30 years? Even when the new sanctuary was built, my parents just transferred to the same area of church that they had when they were teenagers. I'm pretty sure that the next time I go back to Hope Bible Church, I can look at whoever is sitting in my pew and say, "You're in my spot.", but more than likely it will be my older brother who will be sitting there.)
Between Sunday School and the church service I used to go up to the first pew in front of my grandparents (they got there early for the best seat in the joint), do a 180 and say hey. My grandpa always looked surprised that I was there just to say hi (they knew just as well as everyone else that Steve's family took up the last pew). While the first time didn't really produce anything of substance, he had come to expect me to go up there and eventually our exchanges became easier and easier.
The first time I said, "I love you!", he replied with a pretty big grin, "Oh, well....uhhh...I love you, too."
I'm not sure when I started to make a point to tell the people that I love that I love them, but I have to say...I'm so glad I started.
I realized last night that even though my grandpa had 6 boys (and 4 girls), this is the only picture in existence of 4 generations of Rogers men.
(For those of you who have never seen a picture of my dad, that's not really what he looked like all of my life. He usually sported a flat top and a glorious mustache.)