Two days from now, Feb. 14, is Valentine’s Day. Also known as St. Valentine’s Day of the Feast of Saint Valentine, it is associated with romantic love.
A popular myth of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry.
Ironically as a former Justice of the Peace, I performed numerous military members weddings and their soon to be spouses on Valentine’s Day. One particular wedding I performed a few of years ago was really interesting and somewhat bizarre to say the least.
The young man in question was in the Air Force and his parents were not thrilled that he was marrying his high school sweetheart. At the courthouse, they whisked him away for over 40 minutes to try to convince him not to marry her since they didn’t approve. Since he was 20 years old, they could not legally stop him from doing so.
The good news is that the ceremony finally proceeded, and I eventually pronounced them husband and wife. As the parents glared with their arms crossed during the nuptials, I conveniently didn’t add the optional phrase, “Is there anyone here who can show just cause why these two people shouldn’t be married?” It was a short marriage ceremony!
Another Valentine’s Day wedding I performed was actually at a flea market on Fredericksburg Road. The couple met at the flea market where they both worked a booth located next to each other.
They would sell their products at the market every weekend, and when they didn’t have customers, they spent time visiting with each other manning their booths. One thing led to another and they became engaged, and I was the lucky judge who officiated the wedding.
I performed the wedding at the flea market in the office used by all the concessionaires. Other than family, most of the attendees were also people who rented booths at the market. In their 40s neither one of them had been married before. That was definitely a unique wedding.
As stated earlier, Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic love in 18th-century England. That is where it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, and sending greeting cards known as “Valentines.”
Those Valentine’s Day symbols are used today to include the heart-shaped, doves and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten Valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Fifteen years ago, while serving as a Balcones Heights city councilman, I convinced my fellow council members to appropriate some funds to host a Valentine’s Day Party at the Crossroads Mall Convention Center. We hosted it for a number of our senior citizens. We dubbed it the “Sweetheart Party.”
Over 50 “young” people attended and danced to the oldies played by a D.J. who specialized in the classics of the Big Bands and singers of the 40s and 50s. Growing up in the 50s as a kid, I remembered the music as well.
We also presented a single carnation to all the ladies when they came in to the venue. It was an awesome event, and the seniors talked about that Valentine’s Day for a long time. There was some speculation at the time of making it an annual event. Unfortunately, it did not happen.
On Valentine’s Day, many couples, young and old, are expected to exchange vows since it is the most popular day in the year to get married. Whether or not you get married, it is still a good idea to at least send someone you care about a Valentine’s Day Card.
And as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”
Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.