Abe Observes

abe villarrealAbe Villarreal is the Assistant Dean of Student Support and Civic Engagement at Western New Mexico University. When not on campus, he enjoys writing about his observations on marketing, life, people and American traditions.

By Abe Villarreal

In an era where traditions, practices, and everyday items seem to change as soon as we get used to them, I wonder why somethings can’t just stay the same.

Things like the song you hear when your beautiful bride is walking down the aisle, or the pomp and circumstance march as graduates arrive to receive their degrees. Those things shouldn’t change.

By Abe Villarreal

Every time I check the mail, I am reminded about how great it is to be in America. Seems funny, but getting your mail, usually on time, in that little box at the end of your driveway seems like a very American thing.

I was watching a news story on television some time ago, and an immigrant from a third-world country expressed how special she felt as a new American because she received her mail without even thinking about it. We take these things for granted.

How about dialing 911? Not everyone in the world can do it. In about two seconds, we can dial this universal number and get emergency assistance. We don’t have to worry about paying for it or even giving the operator a good reason. Help is on the way. That too feels American.

By Abe Villarreal

All my life I've heard that I was lucky to live in the greatest country in the world. Hearing something like this makes a kid feel special. What did I do to be blessed in this way? I live in a place that is better than all the rest in the entire world. That’s something.

Hearing this is great for me, but what about the kids that live in those other not-as-great-as-America-places? When we speak like this, we trick ourselves into believing that we are better than others. And once we believe this, we begin to act like we are better than others.

By Abe Villarreal

Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong generation. I love listening to the old standards. Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, they all take me to another place.

Those over the top movies of the ’30s and ’40s where movie star legends were too big for the big screen are just my thing. They didn’t seem like you and me, they were untouchable celebrities that we could only dream of meeting but knew we never would.

By Abe Villarreal

Every Sunday morning, I enjoy a traditional breakfast of comfort food at the Drifter Restaurant. It’s the kind of place where the décor hasn’t been updated in decades, and the seat coverings tell the history of a small diner-style eatery that has fed generations of families. The dishes are big, the personalities bigger.

I sit at the bar where adult drinks aren’t served, but a small group of regulars sit side-by-side and get caught up with the week’s happenings. The small talk is usually short and after the usual chitter chatter about the weather, the stories of old times begin rolling.

By Abe Villarreal

When you watch one of those black and white episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, you are left with a feeling that America was once a place of harmony where neighborhoods were safe, people were loving, and you could go to bed at night without too many worries.

If that place ever existed in reality, it is a place of a distant memory. Things aren’t so black and white anymore. There is a lot of gray, not only in politics and the complexities of war and peace, but also in how we view each other. And not just how we view each other as strangers, but also how we see each other as neighbors.

By Abe Villarreal

For many of us, the phrase “I Have A Dream” has become somewhat of cliché. We all have dreams. That fact alone is somewhat meaningless.

But some of us are more than dreamers. Sometimes we wake up, thinking that our dream is a message, an alarm that is telling us to take action. Most of the time we talk ourselves out if it. We go back to sleeping and dreaming.

And then there are dreamers that have wild and crazy illusions of living in a fantasy world. A land of make-believe. A place where we hold hands, get along and treat each other with respect.

By Abe Villarreal
It was the night before Christmas,
and all through the town,
everybody was worried, they were all looking down.
They scrolled and they scrolled, faces of anxiety and worry,
squinting at their phones as they frantically hurried.
Shopping is what they were busily doing,
Picking and choosing, their minds were a’ brewing.
To find the perfect gift, a symbol of love and of caring,
it was too late, the clock was staring,
with the face of time that had left them.

Live from Silver City

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