Sunday, December 30, 2007


I was navigating around on Dave Tabler’s Appalachian History blog and ran across an article written by Ruth Cade in November of 2007. The subject of this story was a “Booger Man”. Apparently, Ruth’s dad had used the threat of a local ghoul to make the kids want to come in and stay in after dark. This story brought back memories of “Jawbones”.

I grew up in Mt. Olive, Alabama. Today, this would be considered a rural suburb of Birmingham. Our next door neighbor was Clyde and Bertha Countryman. This couple had moved to Mt. Olive many years before Momma and Daddy bought their house in the suburbs. They were from a mining community south of Birmingham called Boothtown in Shelby County. Their children were grown and had children of their own. As a boy I stayed with Ma Ma Countryman during the day. As time went on Ma Ma and Pa Pa treated me like one of their own. After I started to school I would stay with her until my parents got home in the evening. When time changed in the fall it would get dark before Momma and Daddy got home and I would get to walk home in the dark. I distinctly remember PaPa Countryman telling me to go straight home or Jawbones would get me.

Now what was Jawbones? I remember him describing Jawbones as a wild animal of sorts that hung out around the mining camps and Mt. Olive getting children that stayed out after dark. Jawbones smacks of the Booger Man strategy employed by Mrs. Cade’s father. I wonder how many more stories are out their about Booger Men and Jawbones? I would love to hear the stories.

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