By Steve Walker
This coming Saturday, February 14th 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 many wedding ceremonies for numerous military members and their soon to be spouses on Valentine’s Day. One particular wedding I performed three years ago I still remember it as if it were last week.
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 minutes before the ceremony was about to begin the parents unexpectedly showed up and whisked him away for over 40 minutes in an effort to convince him not to marry her since they didn’t approve.
The good news is that they brought him back to the courthouse and the ceremony proceeded. I eventually pronounced them husband and wife. As the parents glared with their arms crossed during the nuptials in the back of the courtroom, I conveniently didn’t speak 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!
At another Valentine’s Day wedding over four years ago that I performed, took place 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.
Every weekend they would sell their products at the market 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 forties 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, 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.
Eleven 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 that did not happen.
This Saturday 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.