“Sing at the table. Sing in the bed. The boogerman‘ll get you by the hair of the head.”
When I was a small child, I was spending the night with my cousin Sue when an incredible thunderstorm passed through. I welcomed storms, invigorated by the rumble of thunder, the splendor of lightning, and the smell of ozone. Recalling her childhood fear of storms, Mother had always downplayed the noise and drama of storms. We were supposed to be settling into sleep but I was wildly excited by the storm and enlisted my cousins to join me in bed jumping. Aunt Julie was terrified of storms and made no effort to hide her agitation at the combination of the fearsome storm and the banshee bed-jumpers. She did not share Mother’s tender philosophy.
“You little devils shut up and lay down. All that racket is making the the lightning worse. It’s gonna strike you if you don’t settle down and shut up.” One of the little devils got up and jumped on the bed again before the threat left her lips. A mighty crash of thunder rattled the windows promising to come for the miscreant. Kids dived under covers and hid in closets. “See what I told you. If the lightning don’t fit you, the boogerman will!”
I stayed put, even though Mother had often told me there was no boogerman. Aunt Julie looked scary enough on her own to do the trick. Since then, I’ve often wondered why Mother never availed herself of the Boogerman. It seems like she overlooked a valuable child-rearing resource.