When I was a little girl it was always a thrill to go to my southern grandparents' house to spend the night. I loved everything about it! Every thing, except one thing. Usually at night, someone would start telling ghost stories. Then as we would head for bed, my grandpa would tell us kids to be good and stay in bed, or RawHead & Bloody Bones would grab us and pull us under the bed. Before you get the wrong idea about my grandpa, I want to make it very clear that he loved us all and he was very protective of everyone in the family. That being said, I don't know how to explain why this was one of his favorite things to say to us at night. As I got older, I figured it was one of two things...either he didn't have enough entertainment throughout the day and this was his way of getting a chuckle. OR he wanted to make sure none of us kids wandered outside after everyone was in bed. But one thing I know for sure, it worked! We always made sure we made a stop at the bathroom before we went to bed. Because there was no way after the lights went out that any of us would get up...Not even for a trip to the bathroom...Not even if we had to go so bad that our eyes were floating. One time as I lay in bed thinking about this thing that was under my bed, I started daring myself to put one foot on the floor for just one second. I wanted to see what would happen. I uncovered my foot. Then I eased it to the side of the bed. Just as I was about to swing it over the side of the bed, someone in the next room started snoring. Not only did my foot go back under the covers..but my head and the rest of my body did, too.
Now I'm older and my grandpa is gone. My mom, my brother, uncles, aunts and cousins still talk about grandpa's ghost stories and his way of keeping us in bed. Now it's not so scary. Inevitably, someone will mention it at family gatherings. There is always a lot of loud laughing when we re-tell his stories. When someone even mentions RawHead & Bloody Bones, 2 of the 4 generations that are there will all break out in a smile. My uncle came to visit me the other day. He has an eight year old daughter. She said, "Dad, tell her what we read about RawHead & Bloody Bones the other day." It seems like RawHead & Bloody Bones is a real Missouri folklore. We always thought grandpa had made it up. According to what I've found on the internet, there are 2 versions of the story. One from the south and one from Ireland. Neither of them are like grandpa's version. But I'm guessing that southern kids and Irish kids all possess strong bladders, too!
"Good night! Don't let the bed bugs bite!" That was another one of grandpa's favorite nightly sayings that freaked me out. Not only was I busy making sure that my foot did not fall over the side of the bed, I also had to keep an eye on the sheets to make sure there wasn't anything crawling on them. I guess that's why when I came home, my mom always let me sleep late the next morning-----She knew that I had a few hours of sleep to catch up on.
It's getting late. I'm heading to bed. That is...after a quick stop at the bathroom.....I wouldn't want to have to get up in the middle of the night, you know!