Coolidge breaking ground for the Hamline Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, 1924.

Coolidge breaking ground for the Hamline Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, 1924.

On one particular occasion, Calvin Coolidge was invited to dedicate the cornerstone of a local building. Presented with the ceremonial spade by the emcee, the President dutifully performed the honors and prepared to leave. Gently reminded that it was customary to say a few words, he paused to look at the clod of dirt he had just overturned as if something very profound was on his mind for this occasion. Gazing intently at the ground for a moment, he noticed a plump nightcrawler emerging from the freshly disturbed earth. Without a hint of a smile, he uttered the droll phrase above and went on his way. If there was any laughter by those who got the joke, he never waited to be appreciated for the punchline. Cal was already on to the next task. Such was the dry and homespun humor of our thirtieth president.

President and Mrs. Coolidge at the laying of the cornerstone for the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, November 1923.

President and Mrs. Coolidge at the laying of the cornerstone for the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, November 1923.

“That’s a good fish worm”

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