abe villarrealAbe Villarreal is the Dean of Student Success at Cochise College. He enjoys writing about people, pastimes, and the small things in life. 

I like bumpy roads, and other things that are now unlikeable

By Abe Villarreal

There is a lot to like about all the things we don't like anymore. The things that we are too rushed to appreciate, too busy to know they are still there. Too focused on too many things.

Like bumpy roads. I like them. Bumpy roads in the middle of nowhere and bumpy roads on side streets when you are trying to take shortcuts. Bumpy roads that make everyone in the car bump up and down. Or the bumpy roads that make you slow down to almost stopping. We all need some bumpy roads to break up the flatness of our lives.

People don't like drip coffee anymore. The kind of coffee that you prepare first thing as you enter the office. The kind that comes out of the old familiar Mr. Coffee pot. It's got a few tan-colored rings around the corner, but it's been faithful to you. The drip, drip, drip, and the little rumbling sound that you wait to hear to know it's time to get up for your first cup of the day. I like drip coffee.

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Pigeon coops and other things we left behind

By Abe Villarreal

Every now and then you notice that times have changed. That you are living in a different generation than that of your parents, or teachers, or people that came before you. A different generation than the one you entered at birth. I noticed it when I realized that no one keeps pigeons anymore.

Pigeons in backyards, in homemade coops. People used to have pigeons. Not just farmers but everyday people. My grandparents had pigeons. I wonder why they did. The birds are messy. They need to be taken care of, and every now and then they get out. Sometimes, the dog gets to them which never ends with a happy ending.

It used to be ordinary for ordinary people to have pigeons. Even after the end of the agrarian society, after the industrial revolution, after World War II, after cellular phones, people still had a few pigeons, in coops, in the back yard. Not anymore.

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Signs worth reading need to make a return

By Abe Villarreal

I like signs that really mean what they say, even if what they say might be a little more than what you thought at first glance. Like "coldest beer in town." I saw that sign at a lonesome pit stop down a rural road in middle-of-nowhere southwest New Mexico.

It was one of those pit stops that only gets a few visitors a day. There's a couple who has lived in the homestead down the valley. They run the place. Wife shows up early to open it up for the coffee drinkers. Husband comes in later to greet the evening drinkers.

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The meaning of keeping things from the past

By Abe Villarreal

Whenever you think of your grandparents, you think of the things they had but are now long gone. Things that you wish you still had but for some reason don't. Only grandparents have those kinds of things. We'll all be grandparents soon enough.

Like those treasure chests at the end of beds or in closets. They looked like something too fancy for your household, and you wondered how they were passed down through the ages. They surely must have been handed down from aristocrats or royal families. The people you wish to claim as far away ancestors.

My grandparents liked to keep things, just to keep them. That's what you do when you grew up in the great depression. The old jacket from high school. The wedding dress you can't fit into anymore. The lucky hat, the noisy washing machine, the big box TV. The kinds of things that we switch out regularly because we can. Those things they kept.

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Moms are the best kind of marketers out there

By Abe Villarreal

One new thing about the new year is that I gave up coffee. I never thought I would write these words. Maybe I’ll have it again someday. I know I will, but for now, no coffee.

I started to experience a little bit of acid reflux, and I narrowed it down, through a process of elimination, to the coffee. Now that I’ve been coffee-free for over a week, the reflux is gone.

I’ve always been a coffee drinker and a tea drinker. Now, I’m more of a tea drinker. Green teas, chamomile, mint medleys, and more. Then, when I thought I couldn’t meet a tea I didn’t like – I found Dandelion Root.

At first sip, I felt like I had made a mistake. That in my cup of coffee, there were bitter roots from ancient plants. Unburied after hundreds of years and ground up into a tiny tea bag somehow making its way into modern day supermarkets.

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I like the old McDonald's and other places of the past

By Abe Villarreal

In a coffee shop where I like to do my writing, a small group of people broke into a Spanish worship song. I didn't expect it but it was nice to hear. The group didn't look like a religious group. They didn't have big Bibles with them, and they weren't wearing crosses. They were just people.

This coffee shop is in Mexico, and as I peeked up from above my laptop screen, I noticed that the folks looked like a mixture of Americans and Mexicans. Maybe there were others, too. In between their singing, they shared short messages. I couldn't hear them too well and I wasn't sure what they were saying.

They weren't always singing in tune, and some didn't know the words to each hymn but they managed and, more importantly, knew that their flaws were what brought them together. These days, we let our flaws keep us apart.

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Celebrating Christmas in the southwest is different

By Abe Villarreal

I like celebrating Christmas in the southwest because it's not the kind you see on TV and in the movies. No one is ever snowed in and there is no such thing as clearing the driveway. Most of us can't ever imagine experiencing a white Christmas. That's fine with me.

In the southwest, we have evening skies with all the colors of your favorite tree ornaments. You can't tell Christmas is coming from the weather, but you can feel it because the homes are a little cozier, a little fuller.

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Finding new little things to focus on in the new year

By Abe Villarreal

In 2024, I hope we advance enough as a society to fix age-old problems affecting us all. Like the spit guards over salad bars. Those things never work for me.

I'm into health and wellness and all those things that make us feel like we are safeguarding each other, but spit guards are awkward. I can never reach the food in the back and those are the items I usually always want. The avocadoes are always back there.

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