The Internet tells the story that back in the 5th Century, St. Bridget complained to St Patrick that men were really slow in asking for woman’s hands in marriage (What’s new?). Apparently, the single Irish women were a little tired of the antiquated custom that only men could propose so St. Patrick decided all aspiring women could propose during the extra leap year day. He wasn’t being all that magnanimous since by English law, the 29th of February didn’t have any legal status anyway.
In the first implementation of this “new” practice many years later, the law stated that any man who refused a proposal was fined and although that was a nice twist, the fine only ranged from a kiss to a pair of gloves. Good grief, if you had to wait until Leap Year to even ask for some reluctant beau’s hand and then were turned down, shouldn’t the effort have been worth at least a sheep or a cow?
But let’s “leap” ahead to 1934. Al Capp created the popular Lil’ Abner comic strip, and from that platform in 1937, he launched Sadie Hawkins Day. This event became a national sensation. The poor hillbilly Sadie was “the homeliest gal in the hills,” according to her father who worried that she would never find a husband. To find his Sadie a mate, Daddy arranged for the Sadie Hawkins Day foot race for unmarried women and bachelor men. If the women caught any bachelors, the men were duty-bound to marry them.
The tradition soon “leaped” to the college campuses and Sadie Hawkins Day celebrations became the rage with foot races that ended with mock weddings but mostly it promoted Sadie Hawkins Day Dances where women invited the men. Since the required attire was ragged hillbilly clothes (the skimpier the better), this fit well within the budget of most college students.
All this made me realize I’ve missed my chance. Here it is February 29th of a Leap Year and if I chased one o’ them younger fellers, he’d outrun me in total terror, and if I went after somebody older, I could catch them but then I’d have to take care of them! But just in case…
Back in the holler
Where the sun don’t shine
I’ll be yours
If you’ll be mine!
We’ll find a cabin
Cozy with laughter
And live the dream
Ah well, God Bless until next week.
Minshall’s RVing Alaska and Canada is available thru Amazon.