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

When I was a kid, Nana would ask if she had too much makeup on. I can see her so clearly in my mind. She sat at the kitchen table, getting ready for the day. The Norteñas playing in the background. She held a small mirror up to her face and shared the latest gossip.

She couldn't see too well out of one eye, and sometimes, she put on too much makeup. I was always too embarrassed to say yes when she asked. Nana would never leave the house without looking her best.

By Abe Villarreal

Sometimes a song comes up that takes me back several years. I was hearing "I Remember L.A." by Celine Dion recently, and all of a sudden I was in the 1990s, my high school years.

It was about 1998 when I subscribed to my first email account. I didn't know what it was and how we should use it, but I was happy to have one. Cell phones and social media were not on the horizon. The kinds of things we did then seem so last century.

By Abe Villarreal

Everyday a reminder pops up on my computer at 2 pm. It's a daily notification that I set up titled Do Something Nice for Someone.

Lately, I began to feel guilty about ignoring the reminder. A simple click and it's gone in a blink of an eye.

When I first set it up, the idea I had was to stop everything I was doing, leave the office, and do something nice for someone. The sad reality is that it became more difficult than I first imagined.

By Abe Villarreal

I remember the first time I met Gloria Bradford. I think most people do. A tiny Latina woman, but when she walked into a room she was hard to miss. Every time I close my eyes, I see two things: her big curly hair and her big smile.

For several years Gloria and a small group of community partners came together for the annual Martin Luther King Jr Day Celebration, most recently held on the Western New Mexico University campus. Each year, we would look at each other and think of how time went by so fast and wonder how we were going to manage to put on another celebration so soon.

By Abe Villarreal

When I think of the traditional librarian, the kind of lady that walked around with a ruler in her hand and eyeglasses at the tip of her nose, I think of Esther Rodriguez. She was that kind of librarian.

My dear friend Mrs. Rodriguez passed away this week. She was everything that I thought of in an educator of yesteryear. She had passion and a temper. She had purpose and a reason for being who she was. And for those that really knew her, she has a great smile and a love for life.

By Abe Villarreal

A friend taught me a new phrase in Spanish. It goes like this: Haz el bien sin mirar a quien.

It roughly translates to do good without seeing who is benefitting. I love it and I’ve been seeing a lot of that in practice lately.

By Abe Villarreal 

Maybe we were moving too fast. We were in such a hurry that we forgot to pay attention to the things in life we know are the most important. Our health, our family, the quiet moments. They were on the back burner for too long. Making money, working, being in the office. We had a little too much of these kinds of things.

And now, life seems a little upside down. We’re told to slow down, to stay inside. We should only be around those that we love the most, and stay away from others, at least for now. It makes us uncomfortable to be told what to do. We are Americans and we are free. We say it all the time as a way of telling ourselves that we are different, but today no matter where you live or where you come from, somehow, we are all the same.

By Abe Villarreal

Every time I think of a classic movie, I think of families at the dinner table. Mom walks in from the kitchen and dad arrives from work. It is a common scene in those black and white movies where families always include two or three kids and a dog.

This scene is familiar to many movies of the 1940s and 50s. Its familiar because it used to happen all the time in real life. Today, getting together for a family dinner seems to only happen for special occasions like family reunions or big birthday celebrations.

Live from Silver City

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