Today is Saint Valentine’s Day (commonly called Valentine’s Day), a day on which valentines and other tokens of affection are exchanged.

Saint Valentine was a martyred Roman priest who died circa 270 A.D. His feast is held February 14th.

“The customs connected with him in English-speaking countries are probably a survival from a period when a pagan festival associated with love occurred about February 14. He is now popularly considered the patron of lovers and the helper of those unhappily in love.” (Columbia Encyclopedia)

Hezekiah was a young African American man in love. The object of his affection was Rebecca, called “Becky” by most people. Hezekiah met Becky more than a year ago at his sister’s birthday party. They started dating shortly thereafter. Hezekiah thought about Becky all the time and hoped she thought about him as much.

Because of their work schedules, they were not able to see each other a lot during the week, but seeing her mostly on weekends was no longer enough for Hezekiah. He wanted to be with Becky more and more. He decided to talk to his father about asking Becky to marry him.

Hezekiah’s father smiled when Hezekiah told him how much he wanted to marry Becky. He said, “Son, what are you waiting for? It is not like it used to be when African Americans could not legally marry one another. Go ahead and ask her. You will not know how she feels unless you ask her. You have my blessings.”

On the evening of Valentine’s Day, Hezekiah and Becky got together at Becky’s. They exchanged hugs, kisses, valentines and gifts. When Becky opened her gift, she gasped.

Hezekiah had given her a diamond ring.

With beads of perspiration breaking out on his forehead, Hezekiah got down on his knee in front of Becky and asked, “Will you marry me?” Becky grabbed Hezekiah around his neck and hugged and hugged him. “Yes, my darling Hezekiah, I thought you would never ask.” Hezekiah slipped the ring on Becky’s finger.

Just like the ending of fairy tales: “They lived happily ever after.”

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...