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Calvin Coolidge and Johnny

This is one of many Calvin Cooledge stories that make me fact, I have a tale of my own that puts a smile on my face when I remember it.

As many of you who have met my husband know, he is a quiet guy. But when he wants to, he can be charming and deadpan funny.

Our courtship began in the fall of 1967 although we’d known each other longer than that. On our first solo date, he took me to dinner at a nice restaurant in Fayetteville...and because we were still transistioning from buds to something deeper, I think he was nervous. As I remember it, we ordered our meal and then there was a long pause as each of us waited for the other to say something.

Finally he said, “Calvin Coolidge was my favorite president.”

Now this was the era of the fallen John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson was the current President. Calvin Coolidge was not exactly in the front of my mind at that moment so I kinda was taken aback. Trying not to appear too ignorant, I said, “Oh?”

Johnny took a sip of his beer and grinned. ‘’Well, you see, he was a man of few words so I can relate.”

“Ah.” The only excuse for my ignorance about all things Coolidge was that I was only 18 years old.

“Yep, they tell a story about him...” And he paused again.

Was he waiting for me to say something erudite? I sure didn’t want to reveal my unfamiliarity with Coolidge lore. Lacking any sense of how to be sexy, my usual girly strategy was what I perceived to be intelligent banter...and by springing Coolidge on me, he left me without an intellectual leg to flirt on.

“What story?” I finally managed.

It was a trap...and I knew it the moment I walked into it because he grinned. “You see,” he said. “Old Calvin had to go to a lot of big dinner parties and put up with a lot of foolish conversation.” He took another swig of his beer.

I had nothing alcoholic to counter with so I took a sip of milk. “Uh huh.”

“One day a gussied up society lady was seated beside him. Apparently he didn’t care to engage her in fancy talk right off the bat, so he just smiled and said nothing...until the silence forced the woman to say, ‘Oh Mr. President, they tell me you aren’t much of a talker. In fact, my friend over there bet me that I couldn’t get you to say three words.’ The president set down his fork and said, ‘You lose.’”

Ever snort milk through your nose in a nice restaurant in front of a sexy guy who is smarter than you and knows it?

Of course, Johnny has lorded it over me ever since. Fifty-two years and I still fall for it...and for him. Hallelujah.

Enjoy Feather’s Coolidge story. I did.

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