By Eric Heyl
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
What if you crave some pretzels?
I’m sure that question is running through some of your minds as the NSNC’s 37th annual conference in Hartford draws near.
You’re probably looking forward to the program as much as I am. And why not? The folks who planned this event — primarily veteran NSNC members Suzette Martinez Standring and Bob Haught, and Executive Director Luenna Kim — have worked hard to ensure this will be one of the more memorable events in this organization’s illustrious history.
We have an incredible array of speakers. We’ll visit the Mark Twain House & Museum. We’ll have fantastic food and beverages. We’ll experience much mirth and merriment in the hospitality suite. We’ll present the Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award to the amazingly talented and always hilarious Dave Barry.
We won’t, however, be providing people with an unlimited supply of pretzels. Don’t blame us. Blame the sodium speculators who recently sent the price of the snacks through the roof.
You’re probably wondering what you should do if, at some point during the weekend, you find yourself craving the salty goodness of a bag of pretzels. My advice: Don’t panic. Seek me out. I’ll probably have a few emergency bags in my room. If I run out, I’ll be happy to provide directions to the hotel gift shop, where I presume, possibly correctly, they sell pretzels along with an interesting variety of Hartford refrigerator magnets.
That’s how committed I am to making sure you enjoy the conference as much as you can.
I hope to say hello to all of the 80 or so of you who will be there. I know a lot of you already, and I’m keenly interested in getting acquainted with the folks I’ve never met. So are many of the conference veterans, so you first-timers need not feel intimidated. You’ll be among friendly personalities, many of whom will be exponentially more approachable the longer they spend in the hospitality suite. (I’m kidding, of course. Sort of.)
I suspect you’ll have a boffo time at the conference, and “boffo” is not a term I use often – primarily because people give me peculiar looks when I do. So get yourself to the Hilton, put on your goggles and fasten your safety belt. The ride could get a bit wild at times.
The pretzel situation aside, isn’t that expectation why you’ll be there?