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Abe Observes

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

By Abe Villarreal

In the ongoing search for details on my family history, I have come up with one common thread – my family on both sides have been poor laborers for generations.

For five years, I have been digging through passport documents, census records, phone directories, and birth notices. I've found interesting names like Zenon and Maximo. The journey has been exciting and frustrating. You see, for a Mexican-American, this kind of investigative work is never easy.

By Abe Villarreal

Every morning, I turn on the coffeemaker, grab my favorite mug, and then patiently wait as the sound and sight of the slow drip, drip, drip happen like clockwork. This ritual is what made me get through a year filled with worldly anxieties and unknowns.

Knowing I could do this each day, have a coffee in a familiar cup, is the kind of thing that reminds me of how the important things in life are always reflected in simple ways. Coffee, favorite TV shows, walks around neighborhoods, passing by pictures of family and friends, reading the newspaper funnies. They are all the things that kept me going.

By Abe Villarreal

In almost every home, of almost every community, somewhere there is a mom or a grandma awake before anyone else in the household doing what she knows best to bring a family together.

In some households, as the kids awaken, it is the smell of a freshly baked pie crust that greets their senses. Seems like the best way to start a day. The aroma of a flaky crust that will soon be filled with apples or peaches seems so American, and it is.

By Abe Villarreal

There is something about autumn that is like no other time of the year. Days are shorter. Skies are darker but yet people seem warmer.

When you think of it, seasonal changes are somewhat magical. They put us in a different mindset. Colors and smells can alter our feelings and bring back favorite memories of the upcoming time of year.

Fall is my favorite time. It's such a great season that it has two names. Autumn, what a nice, warm ring to it. Even more than winter, and where I live there is no real winter, fall is a time for family and togetherness. But why is it so?

By Abe Villarreal

There's an ice cream parlor on a street corner, just a couple of miles from my home. Late at night when I'm feeling a craving for that old-fashioned scoop of vanilla, the ice cream parlor is my go-to place.

There are other frozen treat shops. You know, the big brand places where you can get an infinite amount of flavor combinations and toppings. They come with all sorts of gimmicks, one of them even holds your ice cream upside down as they hand it to you from the drive-thru window.

By Abe Villarreal

Every time I open the mailbox, I get a small sense of despair. From pizza coupons to car dealership flyers addressed to "current resident," or campaign brochures and credit card applications, these days it seems like each visit to the mailbox is a scene from the movie Groundhog Day.

I'm one of those people that reach into the dark square-shaped hole, take out each piece one at a time, lean over and take a closer look into the box to see if I missed anything, and then stand outside going through each item.

abe observes photoAbram and Rafaela Villarreal in winter of 1946

By Abe Villarreal

There is something that attracts us to our connections to the past. Black and white pictures of grandparents, or funky old items that are mirrors to the lives of previous generations. We come across them during visits to family and sometimes in sad moments as we commemorate a loved one's passing.

By Abe Villarreal

For every cloud there is a silver lining. This is a year of clouds and seemingly few silver linings. But they are there.

With most clichés, we gravitate to the word in the phrase that makes us feel good. That one cliché about spilled milk, it's an expression of encouragement to stop our "crying" about an unfortunate life circumstance. There is the cliché about birds and their feathers. The point is that they fly "together."

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