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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

Whenever I eat one of those popsicles with the corny jokes printed on the stick, I feel like a kid again. Just the other day I had one that asked why the elephant couldn’t use the computer. The answer: he was afraid of the mouse.

The jokes are silly, but they always make me smile. Funny how the simple things in life take us to more innocent times. Like the times that we were kids and we could walk around the neighborhood, wasting endless hours by picking up sticks and kicking rocks. Whatever we could see was our playground.

By Abe Villarreal

I remember once my Nana told me to sit up straight. Actually, she said it tons of times. I could hear her voice now – “enderezate.” She always sat up straight. It meant something to her.

There’s something interesting about growing up poor. You don’t have much, so you focus on what you do have. When you’re poor, it isn’t the material things that matter. Instead, you focus on the things you can afford. The free things like sitting up straight.

Nana Rafaela was born in the town of Cumpas, Sonora, Mexico. Like most places where poor people are born, it was an agricultural community in 1925. She was one of five kids, and her parents were born at the turn of the century.

By Abe Villarreal

I heard a saying the other day. It went something like: See the world through the eyes of the person you are talking to.

It made me pause for a moment. I felt a little conflicted thinking of how often I speak to someone thinking of what I want them to hear while ignoring what they are telling me and why it matters to them.

By Abe Villarreal
A few months ago, I was watching cable news late at night. I saw an alert appear on the screen. The blonde lady speaking to me looked really tense. She shared that there were reports of an impending invasion. I thought to myself, “An invasion, how could this be?”

Those kinds of things don’t happen in the United States. She said it was a caravan of hundreds, maybe thousands of people from tiny countries thousands of miles away. They were coming, and no one was stopping them. It was late at night. I fell asleep listening to this alarming news.

By Abe Villarreal

In the busy streets of a metropolitan downtown, people are coming and going quickly. No one has time to stop and take a moment for a hello or a goodbye. The only things that seem to be without motion are buildings. There’s a need to get somewhere quickly. No time to waste.

It’s at least what I experienced seeing recently on a trip to Atlanta, Georgia. The humidity of the South, mixed with the diversity of a community rich in lively music and savory food, all made it for a memorable few days in the Peach State.

By Abe Villarreal

Every time we run into a friend that we haven’t seen in a long time, we like to say things like “what a small world.”

It is a small world for most of us. We don’t make it an effort to see most of it. Our personal worlds are even smaller. And in those tiny worlds we live in, we find comfort in knowing that those around us are just like us. They think like us, dress like us, and want the same things we want in life.

By Abe Villarreal

On a visit to Ellis Island a little over a year ago, I took a moment to stand and stare over the New York Bay. From a distance, a tall and proud Lady Liberty stands with a definite and welcoming demeanor. In one hand she holds a torch above her head. On the other, a tablet with July 4, 1776 inscribed in Roman numerals. At her feet lie broken chains.

At every turn, I could see the enormity and splendor that is America. The skyline of the greatest city in the world and the working people of the coast. Things big and small all moving together to keep this grand experiment of democracy alive.

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.

Live from Silver City

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