The Kazan Peach Pie Story

This is a long one (TWSS!!), a story I used to tell at the campfire when I was a counselor in high school at a summer camp. I don't pretend to be a writer or anything, so pay more attention to the story than the sentence structure, grammar, etc... 😀
  1. •
    Once upon a time, not so long ago, in the city of Cochran, in the state of Georgia, in the United States of America, there was born to a Russian immigrant couple a boy; and he was named Bob.
  2. •
    Being of absolutely pure Russian decent, and only recently of this country, his parents decided that they should bestow upon him a decidedly American name, as opposed to something from their native country like "Ivan" or "Viktor;" so his birth certificate read "Bob Patrenko". Not "Robert", but Bob.
    And so it was that the Patrenko's brought home their new baby boy Bob.
  3. •
    Bob had a very happy childhood in Cochran, living with his parents and making friends in his neighborhood, going to elementary school and then junior high. He learned English well, albeit with a bit of an accent, and he started helping his parents learn it as well, as they didn't speak English at home.
  4. •
    His father was working in a factory, and had learned some basic English, but his mother had not. Bob continued teaching his parents everything he could as he continued on through high school, earning high marks in all of his classes. He participated in football, baseball, and chess, earning 2 Varsity letters in each.
    His parents did their best to support his efforts, but times were getting tough towards the end of his High School days.....
  5. •
    Coming up on graduation from High School, Bob's parents wanted to do something special for the occasion. He was graduating ranked 3rd out of 315 students, and they were very proud of his accomplishments.
  6. •
    They sent emails and made phone calls, and were able to get in contact with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends back in Kazan, all of which he knew of, but had never met. With family help and some of their own savings, they were able to buy a round trip ticket to Kazan for Bob to go to his home country and meet his family.
  7. •
    The Patrenko's were by no means wealthy people, but they felt that their meager savings were better used for something wonderful like this opportunity as opposed to sitting in the bank. They couldn't afford to pay for Bob's college, so this was the next best thing, in their minds.
  8. •
    So on his graduation day, Bob went through the graduation ceremony, received his diploma, and heard the cheers from his parents, arguably the proudest in the crowd (neither of them had gone beyond the US equivalent of 6th grade).
    Upon arriving home, they found a letter in the mailbox from a local State college accepting Bob and outlining the financial aid package that would pay for the first 2 years of his college education.
  9. •
    Then his parents presented him with a video tape and an envelope. The tape was of his family in Kazan congratulating him, and at a point in the tape, there was a pause.... his father asked him to open the envelope. Inside was the ticket to Kazan.
    Through teary eyes Bob watched as his father started the tape up again, showing the area he was to visit for a month.
  10. •
    It was the greatest day of Bob's 18 years. He couldn't go to sleep that night, he was so excited. He was going back to his home country! He was going to meet his relatives for the first time! What would it be like? What would they be like? As he drifted off to sleep, the smile never left his face....
  11. •
    Three weeks later, Bob took off from Atlanta for Kazan. His mother cried as she hugged him and wished him well, handing him some cookies for the long flight. His father kept his composure, telling Bob to have fun and be careful, until he saw Bob walk down the jet way.
    Having never been apart from Bob, his parents silently cried in each other's arms as they watched the plane back away and take off.
  12. •
    It was a VERY long flight, especially for Bob, who'd never been on a plane before. Excited at first, he eventually calmed down and started a dialogue with the man in the seat next to him. He was a businessman, on his way back home after a month in the US.
    Bob fell a sleep for a short while, until a baby started crying. Annoyed at first, he decided to read, and ate a few of his mother's cookies while reading his tattered paperback copy of "The Return Of The King", by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  13. •
    After a long layover and another flight, Bob finally landed in Moscow. The last segment of his journey would be on a bus from Moscow to Kazan.....
  14. •
    Now this bus ride was not like your average American Greyhound bus on American streets. It was a windy road, over rough terrain, in a bus that could only be described as "old". Speaking minimal Russian, Bob kept to himself most of the bus ride, as there were only a dozen or so passengers, all older than he.
  15. •
    The skies were dark as they approached a sign that read "Kazan - 100km." It got darker and darker as the evening wore on, and eventually started to rain, then sleet, forming a layer of black ice on the road. Combined with the state of disrepair the road was in, it should come as no surprise that the driver had trouble.
  16. •
    Hitting a massive pothole, the driver of the bus had his hands yanked to his left as the steering wheel jerked, frightening him. In an attempt to correct and get back on the right side of the road and out of the way of a coming truck, he jerked the wheel back to the right.
    This started the bus into an uncontrollable spin, tailing to the left and in to the path of the truck.
  17. •
    The oncoming truck's driver attempted to miss the bus, but in the icy conditions, the front of the truck clipped the back of the bus, flipping it on to it's side. It then rolled over in to the ditch on the side of the road, as the passengers were flipped and tossed about inside.
    The bus came to a rest, with Bob upside down and smashed against an older woman.
  18. •
    Frantically he tried to right himself, and felt incredible pain in his left arm. It was broken. He was able to drag himself upright, and asked if everyone was OK.... Most were not. Everyone seemed to have a problem with one limb or another, and two were dead. Being in the best condition, Bob decided to get out of the bus and look around.....
  19. •
    As he got out of the bus, he looked around and noticed that they were in the middle of a field, and that the truck had apparently kept driving. Seeing the porch light of a house in the distance, Bob decided to go for help. He told the people to hang on, he was going for help, and started walking towards the house, holding his broken arm.
    It was a long walk, and about halfway there, he heard a large explosion! Turning around, he could see the remains of the bus engulfed in flames....
  20. •
    Running the rest of the way to the house as best he could, he arrived breathless and crying. He burst in the front door yelling "Help, Help!!". A woman came out of the kitchen, followed by an old man in coveralls. "What's wrong??!?" they asked, and Bob told them what had happened.
  21. •
    The old man immediately ran out of the house and got on the tractor, while the woman tended to Bob's arm. "We're a long way from a hospital, and I'm a nurse" she said in a heavy accent. She set Bob's arm after giving him a large amount of Vodka.
  22. •
    He woke up the next afternoon with an aching arm and a huge headache. He went out to the kitchen and saw the woman doing the dishes. "How do you feel?" she said in her rough English. "Horrible" said Bob. She told him that the old man, who was her father, hadn't found any survivors.
    She then offered to take him in to town to the hospital and to meet his family members after lunch.
  23. •
    The woman makes lunch, a couple of sandwichs and some milk, and then asks Bob if he would like some pie. "What kind?" he asks. "Peach." "Sure." So she cuts him a piece and he takes a bite.
  24. •
    You know how you feel when you're in love and it's spring and you're out in the sunshine in a field and the birds are singing and you're laying in the grass and all is right with the world?
  25. •
    That's the feeling that Bob had as his taste buds came alive. He forgot about the bus explosion, about his arm, his family, everything. Pure bliss. "WOW" Bob said. She smiled. "Yes, these are our own special Kazan peaches." He devoured that piece, and three more before they left for the hospital.
    And on the way out the door, Bob took a peach pit out of the trash.....
  26. •
    After a visit to the hospital; Bob met up with his family, and really started his trip. They showed him around Kazan and the country side, and all his relatives made him feel loved and welcome. It was a wonderful visit, a glorious excursion, but the end came and Bob had to head home.
    On his way to the airport, Bob asked if they could stop by the farm house of the people that had taken care of him.
  27. •
    He stopped in, and had another piece of Kazan peach pie, remarking again how wonderful it was and asked if he could have the recipe. "NO" was the old man's sharp reply. "These are a family secret, these peaches, and we guard them so as to not let anyone have the peaches or the peach pie recipe. You cannot have the recipe!"
  28. •
    "OK, sorry for asking" said Bob. After expressing his appreciation again for their help, he left for the airport and got on the plane for home.....
  29. •
    Upon arriving home, he is cheerfully greeted by his parents. They're happy to see him, and he is happy to see them, but he can tell something is wrong. They drive home, and Bob fills them in on details of the trip and gives them the gifts from their families, who they haven't seen in a long time.
    After unpacking, Bob comes out to the kitchen for dinner, and his parents have a somber look on their faces.
  30. •
    "What's wrong?" says Bob. "Well, we didn't want to tell you and ruin your trip.." said his father, "but they're going to be closing down the factory next month." Now, Bob's mother did odd jobs around town, cleaning, mopping up at the grocery store, etc. But her paychecks were not nearly enough to pay for their bills, even with Bob leaving.
  31. •
    His mother began to cry, and left the table. "Bob, I'm gonna need your help this summer before you leave for school. I'm getting old, and it's going to be hard for me to find a job now, so I need you to help me find a job and help get a head start once the factory closes." "OK, dad, whatever you need."
  32. •
    So Bob goes about finding a job, and after some interviews, he finds a job at an apple orchard just outside of town. He is part of the crew that will pick the apples, and also helps with taking care of the orchard.
  33. •
    One day, he's going back through pictures of his trip, and he finds the coat he was wearing the night of the bus accident on the way to Kazan. It's got some blood stains on it, and it's ripped, so he hasn't worn it, but he figured it would be a good coat to wear while out in the fields.
  34. •
    He puts it on the next day on his way to work, and puts his hand in the pocket, and feels something. It's the peach pit he took out of the garbage at the farmhouse in Kazan during his trip. And that's when an idea hits him.
    With his now serviceable knowledge from the job at the apple orchard, he decides to plant the pit and nurse the peach tree to health.
  35. •
    It takes a few years, but the goal of these awesome Kazan peaches is in his head, so he puts as much effort as he can in to taking care of this tree. After three years, the tree is coming in to maturity. He has stayed on at the apple orchard (foregoing college) to help his mother pay the mounting medical bills on his ailing father.
  36. •
    It's a hard life, but he's just sure that if he can get this peach tree producing these wonderful Kazan peaches, and he takes them to the owner of the orchard, he could have a potential goldmine here.
  37. •
    Now the tree is coming in to the first season it's going to produce fruit. Bob anxiously anticipates it, and tends to the tree every chance he gets. Finally the moment arrives, and he picks the first crop and takes them in to his parents. "I want you to have the first taste" he says. His mother takes a bite, and her face flushes.
  38. •
    "I can't believe how good this is!" she says. They cut a piece and give it to his father, who loves it as well. His mother makes a few pies, and now Bob is sure that they've got a winner. He picks the remaining batch and leaves them in the shed, excited to take them to his boss the next day.
  39. •
    Bob has a hard time sleeping, and he finally falls asleep late. He gets up and gets ready for work, and goes out to get the basket of peaches, only to find THEY'VE BEEN EATEN. There are little flies everywhere, on the remains of the peaches, on the tree, everywhere.
    He tries his best to salvage some of the peaches, but he can't. And the tree has been destroyed.
  40. •
    "What kind of flies are these?" he thinks to himself. Distraught, he goes inside to find his mother calling 911. "I think your father's having a heart attack" she cries, and he runs upstairs, forgetting about the peaches. They rush his father to the hospital.
  41. •
    Bob's father is in the hospital. He survives the heart attack, but he's in bad shape. And Bob and his mother don't have much in terms of medical insurance. So Bob is doubly distraught when he remembers the status of the peaches.
  42. •
    Once his father is stable and resting, Bob rushes home with his mother to find the peaches and the tree totally destroyed by these flies, which he sees have yellow stripes on the wings when he looks closely.
  43. •
    Bob decides to do some research, so he goes to the library when he can't find anything online. After some help from one of the librarians, he finds that the name of this fly: "Kazan Peach Fly." According to the website, they were native to the Kazan region, and thought to be extinct, now that all of the Kazan Peach Trees of the world were gone.
  44. •
    Bob is in a pickle. Does he use what little money they have saved to go back to Kazan and try and tell the woman and her father about the situation he's in with the apple farmer? Or does he stay at home, work in the orchard, and hope for the best. His mother is adamant that he go back to Kazan and try to get more peaches.
  45. •
    She's tasted them, and she knows what a wonderful product they'd have if they could get them on the market. With his mothers blessing, and against his better judgment, Bob takes their remaining money and buys a ticket to Kazan. After saying goodbye to his mother and father, he gets on the plane...
  46. •
    After landing in Moscow, he gets on the bus again, and thankfully has a good journey to Kazan. He gets off the bus and walks up the driveway to the farmhouse, remembering the circumstances from 3 years ago.
  47. •
    He feels his arm, which has fully healed, and winces a little as he looks back at the road and the sign that commemorates the loss of the people on the bus. He walks up to the door and knocks, and there is the woman. She doesn't recognize him at first, but then he says "I'm the guy that had the broken arm that night" and she comes out and hugs him.
    After exchanging pleasantries, the woman tells him that her father has passed away, and Bob tells her that his father is in very bad shape back home.
  48. •
    "I just finished baking some pie, would you like some?" the woman says. Bob's eyes light up. The woman doesn't know anything about Bob's situation, or that he stole the pit, and he doesn't want her to know yet, so he just says "sure." They go in to the kitchen, and she continues telling him about her father and the farm, while she cuts some pie.
  49. •
    Then she says "I'm sorry, I don't have any of that Kazan Peach Pie that you liked so much the last time. We did our best to protect the trees, but a swarm of Kazan Peach Flies came in and ate all of them."
  50. •
    Bob is crushed. Devastated. Floored. He puts his head down and starts to cry quietly to himself as the woman finishes telling him the rest of the Kazan Peach Fly story. She turns around and sees him crying, and says "what's wrong? Is it something I said?"
  51. •
    Bob then tells her the whole tale, with tears streaming down his face. At the end, she asks him "what are you going to do??"
  52. •
    The ending is here ➡️➡️➡️Christmas Movies I Will Be Watching