What I Am Thankful For
We Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving when we were just a colony of Great Britain to give thanks for the good things in life at least once a year. It took Abraham Lincoln, our greatest President, to make it an official holiday.
The Thanksgiving holiday gives me the opportunity to consider the blessings my family and I have received and to thank all who have made it possible.
Let Me Count the Ways
I am now 75-years-old and have more to be thankful for than any person deserves. Let me count the ways:
- When I was 12-years-old I fell in love with my friend’s 9-year-old sister, Thea, who did not like me much at the time.
- I am, if anything, persistent. I continued to court her in person and – while I was in the military from 1964 to 1967 – by mail. This was a time before the internet, Skype, and instant messages so we wrote letters to each other.
- I continued to persist in my attempt to get her to share the love I had for her since she was nine and I was twelve.
- My efforts paid off and eventually she agreed to marry me in 1967.
- We have been happily married through difficult and easy times ever since.
- I love her more today than I ever did.
- We have three wonderful children and two wonderful grandchildren.
- All our children and grandchildren will be with us for Thanksgiving dinner where we will attempt to get them to listen to how thankful we are for them and the joy they brought to our lives.
- We are proud and thankful that all of our children are successful in their own way:
- A talented public relations executive and her husband, a talented film accountant executive,
- a creative and exceptional healer who can take away pain by touch and massage, and
- Our eldest who cares for her parents and the children whose parents are unwilling or unable to do so.
- My parents and grandparents of blessed memory, for having the good sense to leave the Mediterranean at the beginning of the 20th Century so that we could be born Americans.
- My country for giving me a place to live and work in peace and complain about it without fear.
- The ability to probably eat too much of Thea’s amazingly creative stuffing as well as Turkey and all the other fixings while we will not watch television.
- By the time Thanksgiving dinner is over we will all renew the belief that we love each other and that the parents love each one of our children and grandchildren unconditionally and totally.
- The thousands of friends I have never met, but with whom the Internet has allowed me to communicate, in parts of the world I have never visited.
- Those of you who read what I write and gain something from it.
- The clients who, for the more than 45 years, have allowed me to earn a living doing what I love.
- My publishers and editors who help me make whatever I write intelligible and in proper English.
- The wonder of the Internet that allows me to publish E-books, Zalma’s Insurance Fraud Letter and my blogs instantly on line.
- My Internist, Cardiologists and Hematologist who gave me back my health by installing stents in my arteries and treating the ongoing disease I did not know I had.
- My wife and eldest daughter who insist on keeping me to a healthy diet that has allowed me to lose a great deal of weight and to walk every day no less than two miles and as many as five a day.
- That most of you can gather with your families to express your thanks.
Those Responsible for My Thanks
In addition, I am thankful for:
- Claremont Men’s College (now called Claremont McKenna College) for providing a less than successful high school student to receive a well-rounded liberal arts education that prepared me for my future career in law.
- The United States Army for teaching me to be a serious, well-trained and effective investigator and allowing me the opportunity to be the Special Agent in Charge of an Intelligence resident office. It was the investigations I did in the Army that peaked my interest in the law and caused me to enroll in law school.
- The University of West Los Angeles College of Law that allowed me to study the law while working full time as an insurance adjuster where I could apply every day what I learned in law school.
- My wife and then baby daughter who allowed me to study evenings and weekends and support my efforts as I attended law school at night while working full time as an adjuster.
- The Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company for training me to be a fully knowledgeable insurance adjuster while allowing me to go to law school at night and not sending me to across the country to adjust catastrophe losses.
- Each of the three law firms for whom I worked as an associate lawyer that let me learn to be a lawyer, meet clients who became friends, while paying me a fair salary.
- Those clients who allowed me to start my own law firm, Barry Zalma, Inc. and allow me to represent their interests for more than 45 years.
- Those clients that allow me to now operate as a consultant to lawyers and insurers who need advice on claims difficulties.
The Reports of My Retirement Are Greatly Exaggerated.
- For reasons unknown to me some people think I am retired. That is not true.
- I have only retired from the practice of law. I am still, at 75, working 40 hours a week as an insurance claims consultant, insurance coverage consultant and author.
- I am thankful, therefore, that I am still able to work and write to help people understand and deal with insurance professionally.
When I started practicing law in 1972 new technology allowed a typewriter to erase errors from the keyboard, legal research was done in a large library and took days to find support for an issue, and I needed three professional legal secretaries to keep up with my dictation. Now, using modern technology, I can do the same legal research in 30 minutes or less on-line, need no secretary, and can operate my consulting business, legal writing and publishing with no employees.
I hope, on this Thanksgiving weekend, that you can join my family and me remembering that it is more important to think about our blessings and those things that we have to be thankful for than to get in line for “Black Friday” or to buy an inexpensive flat screen t.v. or tablet computer.
Thanksgiving is a day to think about the good things we have in this life, eat a great deal of food, and enjoy the company of family and friends.
I am unable to express how thankful I am for all of you as I continue to work and write throughout the seventh decade of my live. All of those I have thanked, and those I have failed to mention but for whom I continue to be thankful, are responsible for the fact that my family and I have been able to enjoy the life my forbears – immigrants to the United States escaping prejudice and war – could not even dream of achieving.
© 2017 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 50 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.