Where have all the matchbooks gone?
Not long ago we had a power outage in my area, and as with any good prepared family, we broke out the flashlights and candles and went about our business without much fanfare or loss of productivity. We didn’t have much of an issue lighting the candles because of the butane grill lighter that we use for lighting our gas fireplace, but I distinctly remember thinking that there just HAD to be some matches around the house somewhere. True enough, I had a small box of matches right next to my humidor with my cigars, butane lighter, and cutters, but only the one. I am a cigar smoker – I should have tons of matches. I remember in my younger days my mother had an old glass vase (it was a hurricane lamp if memory serves) just filled with matchbooks and match boxes of various varieties. This addition to the coffee table wasn’t just useful… the look was visually stunning. It was colorful, elegant, and understated. The vase full of matchbooks spoke of restaurants, pubs, bars, museums, hotels, and country clubs we had visited from a wide arrange of cities, states, and even different parts of the world. It spoke of adventures, travels, and curiosity, though I don’t even remember a conscious decision to bring back matches.
These days the only times I even see boxes of matches are when I am at a tobacconist buying some new cigars for my humidor. The smoking ban in almost every restaurant in the country is partially to blame for this – it no longer meant that there is a need for baskets of matches at every concierge desk or hostess table. I don’t begrudge this to society, as I cannot stand cigarette smoke and I am perfectly fine without it interrupting my meals, but it should also be said that the ability to produce fire at any given time is certainly a formidable tool for a gentleman’s proverbial kit bag.
So, after the power outage incident, and the realization that my butane cigar lighter was quite nearly kaput, I have come to the decision that I will endeavor to recreate my mother’s vase full of matches. Now I just have to find a place that still has them.
Who out there does something similar? Where did (do) you get your matches from? Any hotels, clubs, or restaurants still offer these to their guests? Let me know in the comments!