How's it come that depression sets in after almost every wonderful event in your life, that's what I want to know.
For more than a year, the National Federation of Press Women national conference has been on deck in Chicago's snazzy Union League Club. I knew it was coming. I'd think of it occasionally, but never got all giggly excited about the prospect.
But it finally got here and turned out to be a wonderful few days and now that it's over and gone, I feel depressed. Like it's lost forever, never to return.
We have a conference every year, so it will come back. And next year the Iowa and Nebraska affiliates will work together to be host to the rest of the country. So it's coming back all right.
Still, I feel depressed. Not deep dish depressed, just a thin crust version.
One fun thing at the conference - I got to see Obaid Khawaja. Many of you will remember him from the two years he worked at The Messenger as area reporter. He now lives in Buffalo Grove, about an hour's Metro train ride from downtown Chicago, and he came to see me Wednesday night and again Friday night. He's been gone three years, so it took a lot of talking to catch up.
Obaid was born in Pakistan, grew up in Bahrain and moved with his family to the states in 2001, give or take. The recent floods in Pakistan didn't harm his family, he said, but put a lot of the country in need.
"I don't have any family affected by the floods - most of my family live further south," he said. "Unfortunately, Pakistan con- tinues to veer from one crisis to the next, and the government doesn't seem to care or have a clear-cut plan. A lot of the people who lost their homes have taken refuge in cities as far south as Karachi, which has created ethnic conflict since many of these people are squatting wherever they can, including temporarily unoccupied homes.
"It's a very tense situation, with people basically forced to care for themselves and their new neighbors."
Obaid and his family here in the states have started sending relief boxes to people they know need help. It's not a good idea, he said, to send money because of corruption among the people in charge, but he said anyone who wants to help may do so through UNICEF Pakistan or the World Food Program at wfp.org.
They need drinking water, juice, high-energy biscuits/bars, long-life milk, paper cups, anti-bacterial soap and rehydration salts. The basic stuff to get them through this latest tragedy.
When I think of the depression those people must be in, the minor stuff I'm feeling embarrasses me.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org