Laughing Matters: Strange celebrations of the Fourth kind

by Charles Marshall | July 8, 2009

My family just celebrated Independence Day as we do every year, and for the first time in my life, it strikes me what a strange thing our celebration is.

First, 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?

Personally, 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 just because it’s southern doesn’t mean I have to embrace it. 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 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.
I think it’s a pretty easy decision to make, when you think about it in those terms.

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!
I’ve found this process usually takes about three hours. After three hours, 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. “Did you see Frank’s cool new dentures? Yeah, I understand they’re homemade!”

Finally, after a long day of feasting, 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 back yard 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.

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

Charles Marshall is a Christian comedian and author. Visit his website at

Carefree Aesthetics clients look younger, better

By Curtis Riggs | July 8, 2009

brendaCAVE CREEK – Helping people look younger and feel better about themselves is the goal of Carefree Aesthetics owner Brenda Szewc.

Szewc, a registered nurse who specialized in cosmetic surgery at the Mayo Clinic, opened her business inside the Sonoran Beauty Salon at 6501 E. Cave Creek Road in May. Her knowledge of human anatomy, received through her nursing and Allergan Cosmetics training, has helped Szewc specialize in the Botox and Jevederm injections she administers.

"I have the knowledge of where to place them to get the effect the client and I are looking for," she said. She can improve someone's appearance quickly with no down time for her client. "They look better and feel better about themselves."

She specializes in removing crow's feet, the ‘angry look’ around a person's eyes and taking away lines from around the mouth and nose.

"It softens a person's look," she adds. The softening effect is desired by the majority of her clients.

She is willing to stay after hours or come in early to accommodate clients who are on tight schedules.

Her extensive training and competitive prices played a big part in helping to get the business off the ground in its early months.

She is running a special on Latisse, which is used to thicken and lengthen eyelashes, in July and August. She is offering Latisse at $100 a kit, which is a $20 savings for clients.

Botox has been used as filler around the forehead and eyes since the 1970s.

Juvederm has been used to fill in lines around the mouth and nose for many years and the newer Latisse product is becoming well known for the way it can work wonders for eyelashes.

Initial consultations at Carefree Aesthetics are free.

"My job is to understand what clients want and to direct them to the right products to achieve their desired goal," she said.

To learn more about Carefree Aesthetics visit the website To schedule an appointment, call 480-390-0565.