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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

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."

By Abe Villarreal

As the autumn season begins to make its first appearance, I’m reminded of caldos, Mexican soups, and how they mean something special to so many of us.

The mornings are a little cooler. The breeze feels a bit more sentimental. The evenings are turning cozier, and caldos are on my mind. Caldo could be translated to the word soup, but really it is so much more. A good caldo is a warm family moment, a room filled with laughter, or an evening at a quiet table of two.

By Abe Villarreal

When I'm feeling hungry, I like to find those old hole-in-the-wall restaurants that look like they've been around for generations. The paint is usually chipping around the window edges and not all the stools are working in the breakfast bar area.

As the waitress approaches to top you off, the coffee pot looks like it has served your father and grandfather. She greets you with phrases like "sweetie" and "honey." It makes you feel good inside.

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.

Live from Silver City

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