Author Archives: Ashley Ware

“Never strike the last match,” 

“Never strike the last match,” 

Willie: O-o-okay, here’s another one that came from, um…Vietnam, it’s “never strike the last match.”

Me: What’s that one mean? 

Willie: Okay, that means if you have one match left in a book, don’t strike it. Cause people in Vietnam, what- what used to happen is, they used to smoke, right? 

Me: Uh-huh.

Willie: And it would be nighttime, and they’re in the jungle, and they light a match, and then people know where they are, so people start shooting where the match is.

Me: Ohhh. 

Willie: So there’s a saying, don’t light the last match…or, don’t strike the last match…They say it’s bad luck.

My dad heard this from a few different neighbors growing up, ones that had served or were close to people that had served in the U.S. army during the Vietnam War. In the context of war, it was rather literal in its meaning, given that revealing your location could very easily get you killed; but in regular life it would be used as a way of saying don’t ruin your plans before they unfold. I couldn’t find anything online about this phrase, but the closest thing I could find was the saying “three on a match,” which means if three soldiers light their cigarettes on the same match, one of the three of them would die. Considering the meanings are pretty different, I wouldn’t say they’re the same saying with different words, but they probably evolved from one or the other.

“God don’t like ugly, and he’s not too fond of pretty, either,”

“God don’t like ugly, and he’s not too fond of pretty, either,”

Willie: Here- here- here’s another one. God don’t like ugly, and he’s not too fond of pretty, either.

Me: What’s that mean?

Willie: Okay, God doesn’t like people that do bad things, um…and he’s not too fond of people that wanna be perfect, or picture perfect.

My dad heard this from a couple of different places growing up, most namely his grandmother, in preachers’ sermons, and from the little old ladies after church service. It means God isn’t fond of people who are bad and sin often, but he also isn’t fond of people who try to be perfect. Honestly, I’m a big fan of this saying in particular, even though I’ve never personally heard it in context. In my opinion, sometimes, people can misunderstand what their religion asks of them in terms of morals, and try too hard to be the perfect person. Oftentimes, that can be more detrimental.

“Have a spicy salad,”

“Have a spicy salad,”

Paula: Um…there’s gotta be some midwife’s tales, right? Um…like, uh, have a spicy salad. Or something. If- if you look that up, you’ll find that’s something that midwives used to tell women.

Me: …Tell pregnant women to have a spicy salad?

Paula: …to have the baby come.

My mother wasn’t entirely sure where she heard this from, but in my own research on the topic, it seems this saying was born from a local restaurant in LA. At this restaurant, they serve a certain spicy salad that is believed to help induce labor in pregnant women, and they have a chalkboard dedicated to all the women who went into labor shortly after eating this salad. Its a really interesting piece of folklore to me because of how, as my mother said, it seems like something a midwife would say to an expectant mother, but it was ultimately born from an entirely different place out of, most likely, sheer circumstance.