Feb. 14, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Congressional Memories: Lawmakers Recall Their Standout Gifts

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Sen. Patrick Leahy displays a Hopalong Cassidy box camera he received as a Christmas present in the early 1950s.

“I like to hunt, so getting a shotgun was a huge thing,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said. He called the gift “special” because he and his father used to hunt together. “I was about 12 years old. That was certainly a big one.”

“I got all of the typical presents,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), but one Dec. 25 almost seemed like a scene from “A Christmas Story.” “When I was a small boy, I got a popgun,” he said, “and I broke it the first day. I broke it on Christmas Day.”

Christmas Keepsakes

“I would borrow my parents’ camera to take pictures from the time I was about 4 years old,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said. “They gave me my first camera, and it was a Hopalong Cassidy box camera.” The photography enthusiast still has the simple camera decorated with the cowboy character. “I’ve kept every camera I’ve ever had. … I remember that one very well.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) loved horseback riding as a child, so a pair of white leather riding boots was a special gift from her parents when she was 12. “I rode — well, I tried to ride — growing up,” she said. “I volunteered to work at any stable that would take me.”

“The one that I remember, that I didn’t think I was going to get, was a Bonnie Braids doll,” said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), referring to a toy based on a character in the Dick Tracy comic strip.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) remembers getting a recent gift from a friend in Congress. “I had a nice Christmas present from Steny Hoyer about seven or eight years ago,” he said. “It was a clock. ... It was not only timely, but it was beautiful. And it was a surprise.” Pascrell said he still keeps the clock in his house.

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