I do believe your question is longer than the essay :-D
"Today we would say that the old abuelitos lived authentic lives."
"Newcomers to New Mexico often say that time seems to move slowly here. I think they mean that they have come in contact with the inner strength of the people, a strength so solid it causes time itself to pause. Think of it. Think of the high northern New Mexico villages, or the lonely ranches on the open llano. Think of the Indian pueblo which lies as solid as rock in the face of time. Remember the old people whose eyes seem like windows that peer into the distant past that makes absurdity of our contemporary world. That is what one feels when one encounters the old ones and their land, a pausing of time."
I remember him driving his horse-drawn wagon into Santa Rosa in the fall when he brought his harvest produce to sell in the town. What a tower of strength seemed to come in that small man huddled on the seat of the giant wagon. One click of his tongue and the horses obeyed, stopped or turned as he wished. He never raised his whip. How unlike today when so much teaching is done with loud words and threatening hands.
I would run to greet the wagon, and the wagon would stop. “Buenos Dias le de Dios, abuelo,” I would say. “Buenos Dias te de Dios, mi hijo,” he would answer and smile, and then I could jump up on the wagon and sit at his side. Then I, too, became a king as I rode next to the old man who smelled of earth and sweat and the other deep aromas from the orchards and fields of Puerto de Luna.
"For some time we haven’t looked at these changes and needs of the old ones. The American image created by the mass media is an image of youth, not of old age. It is the beautiful and the young who are praised in this society. If analyzed carefully, we see that same damaging thought has crept into the way society views the old. In response to the old, the mass media have just created old people who act like the young. It is only the healthy, pink-cheeked, outgoing, older persons we are shown in the media. And they are always selling something, as if an entire generation of old people were salesmen in their lives. Commercials show very lively old men, who must always be in excellent health according to the new myth, selling insurance policies or real estate as they are out golfing; older women selling coffee or toilet paper to those just married. That image does not illustrate the real life of old ones.
Real life takes into account the natural cycle of growth and change. My grandfather pointed to the leaves falling from the tree. So time brings with its transformation the often painful, wearing-down process. Vision blurs, health wanes even the act of walking carries with it the painful reminder of the autumn of life. But this process is something to be faced, not something to be hidden away by false images. Yes, the old can be young at heart, but in their own way, with their own dignity. They do not have to copy the always-young image of the Hollywood star."
"I returned to Puerto de Luna last summer, to join the community in a celebration of the founding of the church. I drove by my grandfather’s home, my uncles’ ranches, the neglected adobe washing down into the earth from whence it came. And I wondered, how might the values of my grandfather’s generation live in our own? What can we retain to see us through these hard times? I was to become a farmer, and I became a writer. As I plow and plant my words, do I nurture as my grandfather did in his fields and orchards? The answers are not simple.
“They don’t make men like that anymore,” is a phrase we hear when one does honor to a man. I am glad I knew my grandfather. I am glad there are still times when I can see him in my dreams, hear him in my reverie. Sometimes I think I catch a whiff of that earthy aroma that was his smell. Then I smile. How strong these people were to leave such a lasting impression.
So, as I would greet my abuelo long ago, it would help us all to greet the old ones we know with this kind and respectful greeting: “Buenos Dias le de Dios.”
"Hard workers all, they tilled the earth and farmed, ran the herds and spun wool, and carved their saints and their kachinas from cottonwood late in the winter nights. All worked with a deep faith which perplexes the modern mind."
"Buenos Dias le de Dios, abuelo.” God give you a good day, grandfather. This is how I was taught as a child to greet my grandfather, or any grown person. It was a greeting of respect, a cultural value to be passed on from generation to generation, this respect for the old ones."