|Senator Hiram Fong and the Pineapple Fixture|
The following is an excerpt from the oral history interview with Leonard H. Ballard, U.S. Capitol Police, conducted by Senate historian Richard A. Baker on August 26, 1983.
BALLARD: I was standing outside the [Senate chamber]. As you come out of the Senate chamber, that light fixture up there is a pineapple. Senator … oh hell, he was here for many years … before Senator Inouye….
BAKER: [Hiram] Fong?
BALLARD: Fong. He used to go into the Marble Room and read the Hawaii papers every Saturday. Now, he knew that we locked the doors at 12:30. He knew that, you didn’t have to….
BAKER: Which doors?
BALLARD: The [Senate] chamber doors. They locked the chamber doors. He knew that. You didn’t have to worry about him. Well, he came out, and I was standing there, and I was always friendly. And I said, "Well, senator, our forefathers were pretty farsighted, weren't they? When they built this [wing of the Capitol] in 1857, they knew Hawaii would eventually be a state because they put a pineapple up here." He said, "What?" I said, “Well, there it is! Look at it!”
BAKER: Where is that located?
BALLARD: Just as you come out of the Senate chamber….
BAKER: Out the south door?
BALLARD: The east door.
BAKER: Oh, the east door. Okay
BALLARD: You know as you come out the back door by the elevators, the senators’ elevator and the public elevator….
BALLARD: All right, it’s just as you come out of that entrance. It's up there. He said, "Are you going to be here for a few minutes?" And I said, “Yes, I’ll be here.” He said, "I'll be right back." He wasn't gone too long and he came back with an aide and he had two pineapples. They had the Republican photographer…..
BAKER: Right. That was probably Scotty – Arthur Scott.
BALLARD: It was Scotty. Yeah, that’s who it was, Scotty. He said, "You suppose you could get me a ladder?" I said, “Oh, that’s no problem. ”I called John Price [chief janitor] downstairs and had him come up with a six-foot stepladder. John came up, and the senator got up and held one of those pineapples up by the fixture and Scotty took all kinds of pictures….
BAKER: With the senator in the picture?
BALLARD: Yeah, with the pineapple and the senator, and then he got down and he wanted to take a picture of me with the pineapple and him. Then he said, "You like pineapple?" And I said, "I love pineapple," and I do! He said, "Now, you take this home with you." The aide said, "No, you can't do that senator. I borrowed that, it’s Linda’s. I just borrowed it.” The senator said, "Now, you let me make it right with Linda. The captain gets his pineapple." So, sure enough…. And then, a little later on, he sent me a clipping from the Honolulu Bulletin front page with a picture and the story of the picture of the pineapple, and there's the senator up with the pineapple, there on the front page.