A There you go-o-o-o-o-o. You’re very good.
Q Because you’ve become rather religious, I’d like to know when you last dropped a swear word.
A Oh, you are an unusual interviewer. I can’t remember the exact last time, but is has been since my coming to God. Nobody gets perfect in that moment. My coming to God, my conversion experience, was so real for me and yet I didn’t know what it meant. As with everybody, it’s sort of a slow evolution of yourself. Hopefully we are becoming better human beings.
Q Were you an atheist before you accepted “The white man’s God,” which is strange coming from someone whose daddy was white while your mom was Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho?
A Exactly. I was exposed to some Native American spirituality as a child. That sort of fell away in my 20s. Maybe I had a thought here or there, like an eagle flies over and I think I’m being blessed or something like that. Then I started working in the news business. I probably became just more and more skeptical of anything and everything. You know, you go out and interview people. You hear, I am strong. The Lord will get me through this. I don’t even know what that means. I was probably along that [line of thinking]. I don’t know that I would call myself a professed atheist. I’ve met those and I would not say that’s what I was. I was just sort of an off-the-path person.
Q What would have been different about your life if you had found a connection to God earlier?
A Well, I probably would have had less of that “Please like me, please like me” and “Do I have enough stuff” to make sure I’m OK. I have so much more peace and happiness right now. I certainly would have loved to have that peace and happiness sooner. [Laughs] Also, I find I do things that are not just for me anymore. For instance, giving up of a day to be with somebody. Not, “Oh, I came to visit a sick person, can I go now?” Just giving. I don’t think that part of myself existed.
Q You always seemed more caring on TV.
A [Laughter] That’s funny.
Q What would the 11th Commandment be if you could decide it?
A [Extended laughter] I could never even … I can’t even go there, I don’t think. You are asking me to put myself in God’s shoes and I can’t do that.
Q Why were you named Hattie?