By Abe Villarreal

It's graduation season and twenty-something-year-olds are getting ready to leave college and start something new. They've hit the books for years. They've eaten Ramen for breakfast and dinner. They've slept less than is humanly possible. They are about to graduate.

My grandparents didn't graduate college, and neither did their parents. They grew up, and before they finished growing up, they started working. Most people have done that for almost all of the history of time.

Little people became bigger people. What they learned was what they saw, what they were told, what they had to experience. People didn't have too many choices then. You did what you did because that's what your parents did or what you had to do at that moment in your life. Most people turned out okay.

I wonder sometimes how today's people are turning out. Graduating college is a big accomplishment. It shows dedication and perseverance. It shows grit. More and more Americans are earning a degree and gaining knowledge. It feels good to know this.

Until I see what we are still needing in this grand ol' country of ours. I see it in the shopping carts blocking parking spaces in large supermarket parking lots. When shopping carts can't make it from your car to the cart corral, it says something about us as a people.

I see it in the city council meetings with only one or two people in the audience. The meetings are long, and the agenda items aren't always attention-getting, but there are decisions being made. The kinds of decisions that shape our community.

I see it when no one wants to wait in line because waiting in line is boring and it's easier to just sit in your car and wait for the order to arrive to you. I like to wait in my car sometimes, too.

I see it when people try a new restaurant that just opened and the meal doesn't meet their expectations. Within a day, they become internet warriors doing their best to shut the place down.

In all the things I see, there are things that make me scratch my head and wonder about the future of our society. The future that is graduating.

Then, on other days, I see something that makes me smile. Like the other night when I was sitting with a couple of friends outside of a food truck. The owner Guera said that she had to run off to get some late-night groceries. She was out of tortillas and tomato sauce to make salsa.

She told us to not worry. That we could stick around. No one would bother the place. She trusted the neighborhood. The neighborhood trusted her.

What we see around us, in small gestures and actions, tells us what is happening in bigger ways. How we respect our spaces, and the spaces of others, too. Like gas station bathrooms.

Congratulations to this season's graduates. Go out and change the world, but also honor what has been good and true to you and to your grandparents who didn't graduate. They helped shape our society without degrees and you turned out okay.

Push your shopping carts into their corrals. Attend a city council meeting now and then. Wait in line.

You'll be doing your part.

Abe Villarreal writes about the traditions, people, and culture of America. He can be reached at

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option above this to the right, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a simpler option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. Send your information to and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

It has come to this editor's attention that people are sending information to the Grant County Beat Facebook page. Please be aware that the editor does not regularly monitor the page. If you have items you want to send to the editor, please send them to Thanks!

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—

Feel free to notify if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised.