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The return of Ricky-Bob

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There lives in the J. B. Miller park, deep within the pooled, bottomless water known most commonly as “the old reservoir,” a finned behemoth called “fish” by the ignorant and “monster” by the wise.
Stewards of past generations nicknamed the watery beast, “Old Ricky-Bob.”  The name is a sugarcoated public relations trick to hide the sinister history of an amphibian Frankenstein genetically altered in the basement lab of a crazy Williamstown chemist, not unlike current Charlotte Height chemists, but of years bygone in the dust and wind.

Old issues of the Grant County News tell the story of cruel vengeance gone horrifically wrong.  During one gruesome rampage between 2:15 p.m. and 2:17 p.m. on Aug. 1, 1912, the mind gagging details that appeared in the pages of the Grant County News were purged as the pages and archives of those dark days disappeared from existence on this gravity leavened earth either by the censor-ist hands of man or tell tale breath of fate.
I once asked an old-timer and long departed friend about the myth and he looked at me and departed. .  .for a long time. . .one. . .two…three.

The missing 1912 issues of the Grant County News were the first to artificially, scientifically quantify the rumored existence of Ricky-Bob, who, at 2:16 p.m. on Aug. 1, 1812 weakened the ranks of Kentucky soldiers headed to the soon to be battlefield of Frenchtown on the Raisin River in what is now known as Monroe, Mich.  As the soldiers bathed in the amber color soothing pool that would someday be enlarged and extended to become the “old reservoir,” they were taken under with such a swoosh that those nearby were not sure if they had seen or heard what they thought they may have seen or heard.

The water was drained off in an attempt to find the bodies only to discover that the small narrow deep abyss hidden by the large pool was impossible to get rid of. Mule wagons of rock and the shock of gunpowder would not fill or seal Hades’ fissure.  The children of the future so soon forget that in later years a new reservoir was constructed and the deep abyss was given new water into which it could discharge it’s century old curse.

This brings us back to the 100-year forgotten anniversary of the 1812 warriors, to the 1912 carnage, to the upcoming Aug. 1, 2012 possibility of the return of Ricky-Bob.

But, how could Ricky-Bob still be alive after 200-plus years?  Well, Grant County has been known through Kentucky history for its healthy invigorating water.  And, things not of this earth have a life span, or yet, an existence span that we are ignorant to. And, enough people, livestock and wildlife have disappeared over the years to adequately feed the hunger of a mythological beast.

Considering that Aug. 1, 2012 may be a prime opportunity to be there to watch and warn of any possible stirring, splashes or swooshes created by the return of Ricky-Bob, it frightens me to think of the seconds only possibility of seeing the beast.

It’s a long shot and legends, myths and ancient gossip isn’t something that any of us in Grant County do, but it does lend a bit of dark interest to our, at least my, quest for historical documentation of the un-true.

(Ken Stone is publisher of the Grant County News. He can be reached at 859-824-3343 or by email at kstone@grantky.com.)