On this, the 78th anniversary of Calvin Coolidge’s passing, I hope I am permitted to post here the beautiful text “In the Green Mountain Country” by Clarence Day, original copyright 1934, Yale University Press. It is (to me, at least) a very moving account of the last morning of president Coolidge’s life and the subsequent funeral. Make sure you read on after the cut…and make sure you take a moment to remember Calvin Coolidge, his life and accomplishments, today.
In the Green Mountain Country
By Clarence Day
He got up at seven as usual, and he and his wife had breakfast together. At half past eight he went to his office in the town. His old friend and partner was already there when he entered. They were both early risers. They spoke with each other for a moment and then he went to his desk.
He was not feeling quite well. He said nothing about it. He had no idea that this was his last day of life.
There were a number of letters and other matters for him to go over and settle. He went to work methodically at them. He disliked to leave things undone. All his life he had attended to his duties, large or small, systematically. He was a sound, seasoned New Englander of sixty, and he had accomplished a lot.
By ten o’clock he had finished. He still wasn’t feeling any better. He said to his secretary, “Mr. Ross, I guess we’ll go to the house.”
They motored back together through the streets and under the bare, spreading trees, till they came to the beeches and elms that surrounded his home. He had lived in half of a two-family house most of his life, but it had no grounds around it, and when he was fifty-eight he had moved; “so the doggies can have a place to play,” he had said.
His wife was out—she had gone down town on foot to do some shopping. He and his secretary went to the library. He toyed with a jigsaw puzzle a moment. They spoke of the partridge hunting they had had in October, and of the hay fever that had bothered him in July—a “pollen attack” he called it. He made little of it. He had been lucky—he had had very few illness.
As they sat there talking he said he was thirsty. The cook and maid were at hand and so was Mr. Ross, but he didn’t like to be waited on—he went to the kitchen and got a glass of water himself. He heard the gardener in the cellar and he went down there to say something to him. The gardener was the last man he spoke to. When people asked him later what his employer had said he couldn’t remember. He told them that it was something about the house or the grounds, and that it had not seemed important—to him.
Leaving the gardener this man went upstairs to his bedroom. He took off his coat and waistcoat to shave, but sank to the floor. He was dead.