With Thanksgiving coming up, I was thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for, including getting the chance to have two wonderful families: first my Mom and Dad and brother and sisters and all the people of Wildrose, North Dakota; and then my wife and three kids and the great folks of Portland, Oregon, one of the friendliest, most supportive cities you will ever find. What a great life I’ve had, growing up on a farm, then working as a newspaper reporter and earning a living as a writer, and then becoming a lawyer and practicing insurance and commercial litigation at BPM. Along the way I’ve met so many amazing people who make me appreciate how varied and resilient life is. I wouldn’t change places with anyone on Earth, not if it meant giving up my memories.
I’m also thankful for all the readers of Insurance Coverage Law Blog, especially you folks who take the time to make this blog a regular part of your daily routine. I’ve gotten to know a number of you and count you as friends, and that is a truly remarkable thing to me, because before I started this blog I can vividly remember a few people who told me insurance coverage is boring and no one would read what I wrote. However, I devoutly believe that it is not a subject that is boring, but the writer. It’s been true since the time of Homer and it will always be so: any writing that is any good whatsoever tells a story. A story features some kind of conflict, and there are only three: man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. himself. Legal analysis in itself must tell a story to be effective, and that’s what this blog is about: a place where we share stories.
One story I want to share today is about Bobbi Fortier Talmadge. When I was a teenager in Wildrose, Bobbi was one of the kids I coached in T-ball and drove to swimming lessons. Her real name is Roberta, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call her that. I grew up as a Lutheran, but sometimes I went to Mass with Bobbi’s family: her mom, Marlene, and sisters Shelley, Denise, Jackie, Suzi and Lois. Now, in case you didn’t know, in a very small town or rural area your individuality is constrained somewhat: there just aren’t enough people to make things work unless some consensus or group norm emerges. To get anything done, you need to be able to accept people as they are, accept life as it is and make the best of it. Once you decide to do this, a hidden world opens to you, and you can find a current of strength underlying life that ties us together in all sorts of ways you did not suspect. Maybe it is this upbringing that is helping Bobbi tap into a reservoir of strength now. Not even two weeks ago, Bobbi found out she has leukemia, and she’s now in the Mayo Clinic getting chemo. Bobbi has three kids, all young. Last week I e-mailed Bobbi and asked her to please let me know what I can do for her and her family. She said just pray for her. Her attitude is that of a fighter who is going to beat this disease — I’ve known Bobbi my whole life and that is typical of her. I’ll tell you what, that’s the kind of person I admire. If you’re the praying kind, maybe you’d say a prayer for Bobbi too.