Leap Year Proposals

According to old Irish tradition, February 29th is the day ladies may propose marriage to a bachelor who has caught her fancy. Back in 1288, the Scots passed a law that allowed a woman to propose marriage to the man of their dreams in a Leap Year with the law also stating that any man who declined the proposal on this day would have to pay a fine. Of course, he could probably quibble his way out of it if the young woman wasn't wearing a red petticoat (since Queen Margaret added that little rule as a footnote to the law).

So I embraced my own Scots-Irish ancestry and proposed to Private Henry Schwesinger of the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on February 29th, 1864. He happened to be bivouacked in our fair town and I took a shine to his ginger curls and German accent.

My unladylike behavior caused a collective gasp among Augusta Society and my membership to the Beehive Sewing Circle was immediately revoked (not that I mourned its loss - needlework gives a gal squinty eyes). Folks weren't sure what was worse: that I had done the askin' or that it was a Yankee that I had asked!

Regretfully, my sweet Henry was wounded during the Battle of Chickamagua and taken prisoner. He died in that hellhole known as Andersonville (But that, my friends, is a tale for another day).

I never did marry however, I never regretted my Leap Year proposal. So, ladies, you just go put on those red petticoats, take the bull by the horns, and do your own proposin'. Life's too short to be lollygaggin' around a-waitin' for a Leap Year to do your livin' and lovin'

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