Matches from Mother Russia

Not long after we got married, my bride started to light a candle. She had a little book of American made matches, which she didn’t know how to operate.

To be fair, she had never seen a book of paper matches in her life. She got a little discombobulated and began yelling at me in Russian.

“AMERICAN! What are these things?”

Or something like that.

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

Or words to that effect.

Her face was soviet red.

I paused and measured my words carefully.

“Let me see what you doing sweetheart.”

I took the book of matches, tore one out of the book, folded the book over the match, lit the match, and then the candle.

“See, honey. It’s simple. “Prosta!”

I imitate a guy on a Sprint cellphone commercial that I’d recently seen that played on the Russian word for simple.


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

She stormed 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 house had horribly green carpet, but we had a roof and such.

She continues her stomping and such.

Two years later…

Eventually, her parents made 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 prosta paper matches.

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

And we do make wooden matches, thank you.

We also make the paper kind in a little book. But, I’ll never experience the joys of using them again because I have about 10,799 boxes of Russian fire-starters left to go through.


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