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Strange celebrations of the 4th kind

We just celebrated Independence Day again, and for the first time in my life, it strikes me what a strange way it is that we celebrate this holiday in my family.

Strange celebrations of the 4th humor article by funny speaker Charles MarshallFirst, we go over to my Uncle Harold’s house and stuff ourselves almost to the point of hospitalization. Then, at some point in the afternoon, somebody comes out of the house and announces “We’ve got watermelon!” An almost tangible glee grips all those in attendance. Wonder of wonders! We’ve got watermelon! Can life get any better?

I’ve never understood this excitement about watermelon. But Charles, you say, aren’t you southern? Aren’t all southerners supposed to like watermelon? Maybe so, but the fact that I’m southern doesn’t mean I have to embrace everything the South is known for. You don’t see me cutting off my shirt sleeves and calling myself Charles the Cable Guy, do you?

So, what’s the big deal with watermelon anyway? I don’t get it. It’s hard to get excited about a treat that tastes like water. I mean, think about it. It’s the only fruit that tastes so much like water that the word “water” is actually part of its name.

I could see how it might have been popular in the olden days, back before they invented refined sugar, but now we have candy bars for crying out loud. So, your choices are to stand around in the sun eating watery fruit, or head inside and raid Uncle Harold’s cookie jar. It’s a pretty easy decision to make, when you think about it.

Next, at our little celebration, someone from the kitchen announces that Aunt Cassie is making real homemade ice cream! Yippee! Hooray! Huzzah! Real homemade ice cream!

This process usually takes no less than three hours. After three hours, the demand for Aunt Cassie’s ice cream has grown so strong that, under great duress and threats of physical violence, Aunt Cassie reluctantly ladles out soupy spoonfuls of her real homemade ice cream. Yummy.

I don’t mean to disrespect my relatives or anything, but you have to wonder if any of them have ever wandered into the frozen food section at the grocery store. They’ve got mounds and mounds of ice cream over there and, if truth be told, it’s about a trillion times better than homemade ice cream.

“Homemade” may have been a good thing back in the Great Depression, but these days we generally look down on it. It’s just not an expression you hear bandied about with much enthusiasm these days. “Did you see Frank’s cool new dentures? Yeah, I understand they’re homemade!”

Finally, after a long day of feasting, either one of two things happens. Either we all pile into the cars and suffer through a couple hours of traffic to see The Big Fireworks Show at the Mall or we create The Big Show in Uncle Harold’s backyard with firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers. And every year without fail, some cousin of mine narrowly escapes dismemberment or an early death. And that’s just from playing with the sparklers.

I just realized I have a little extra free time coming up and some leftover bottle rockets from last year. If you never hear from me again, you’ll know I should’ve stuck to the sparklers.

© 2024 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site or contact him via e-mail at

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