Sitting in a big hotel in Lusaka Very Western Pleasant but sterile Sitting by a lovely “water feature” With koi and papyrus and purple flowers And water lilies

by Nancy McDaniel

What a curious Christmas this last one was. I didn’t think it all mattered so much to me, but I guess it did.

It’s All About Traditions for Me
I’m not religious. I don’t go to church any more. I believe in something but I don’t even know if I believe in God. So for me, personally, Christmas isn’t about religion. Of course I know it is for millions of people and I respect that. But for me, Christmas is about family and dear friends and children and caring and kindness. And being together with people you love. For me, Christmas has always been about traditions. It’s about the whole thing.

by Nancy McDaniel

September 11, 2001 started out for me, as it did for most, as just an ordinary September day. Just an ordinary Tuesday. Oddly enough, it was the 15th anniversary of my father’s death. It was the morning after the opening night of a wonderful new play I attended. It was the day before I was to fly to Los Angeles for a walk on role on the hit TV show CSI. The day started off expectantly hopeful. It changed dramatically.

“Do You Remember where you were when….JFK Was Shot? RFK Was Shot? Oklahoma City Happened…?”

Yes. I was walking to English Class junior year at Punahou High School, Honolulu.

Yes. I was on a “study date” (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) at an apartment the week before finals, junior year, Northwestern University.

Yes. I was lying on my mom’s couch recovering from foot surgery, about to indulge myself by watching Court TV coverage of the OJ Simpson Trial.

And, yes of course, to the as yet unasked but will-always-be-there question. I was sitting at my computer, on the Internet, when I saw the headlines that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. Like most, I thought “what a terrible accident” and immediately turned the TV on to the Today Show and began my marathon TV watching.