Matches from Mother Russia

Not long after we got married, my bride went to light a candle. And all she had was a lousy made in America book of matches.

To be fair, she had never seen a book of paper matches in her short life. Neither did she know how to operate books of matches, became somewhat discombobulated, and began yelling at me in Russian.

“AMERICAN! What are these things?”

Or something like that.

“Where are the matches?” she demands. “This is garbage. Is this some kind of joke?”

Or words to that effect.

Her face was soviet red.

I pause and measured my words carefully.

“Let me see what you doing sweetheart.”

I take the book of matches, tear one out of the book, calmly strike it, and light the aforementioned candle.

“See, honey. It’s simple. Prosta!

I make my voice imitate a cell phone commercial that I’d recently seen that plays on the Russian word for simple.


“You’re probably used to the wooden match…”

She storms off mumbling something about her grandmother being right about the poor Americans who lived under bridges.

I remind her that we are most certainly not living under a bridge.

Sure, the parsonage has horrible green carpet, but we have a roof and such.

She continues her stomping and such.

Two years later…

Eventually, her parents make their way to the land-without-wooden-matches.

As her mother unpacked her suitcase, she unloaded approximately 10,800 boxes of Russian made wooden matchsticks.

Which, is a lot of matches.

My bride had convinced her mother that the poor Americans – in addition to having no taste in carpet – couldn’t produce a simple matchstick. Russians apparently did not use the lowly and simple (prosto) paper matches.

I’m not bragging or anything, but I’ll just add right here that we did beat the Soviets to the moon.

Oh, and we CAN make a pretty good box of matches. Just see Maryland Matches or Diamond Brands!

But, I’ll never experience the joys of using American made matches again because I have about 10,700 boxes of Russian fire-starters left to go through.


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