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She told me her story on a fine spring day.

Across the long miles of all the Russias,
Into the Manchurian cold,
They went to build a railroad.

Raised up a native in Chinaland,
She asked her daddy,
Where is the apple factory?

Summer of 1914,
He sent her to find the apples.
Back to the Caucasus,
Where Grandpa lived to a hundred and thirteen,
Where fruit trees grow,
Where the family founded itself.

Homeward bound, an archduke died.
Forty-five days is a long train ride.
Making room for soldiers,
The apples turned to mush.
Daddy, what is a war?

Ninety-nine years and the lease was up.
Railroading in Manchuria,
blaSplitting of rails and family,
Lost addresses, lost lives.
For forty years they were scattered.

She learned the other war
Took Daddy and Brother, too.
Sister found her in harsh January,
To say, Mother died just last October.
But, what of all the years before?

And now she stands,
Looking out from her California kitchen
At her own apple factory.
Tangy Gravs and Red Delicious stretching
To the Russian River beyond.

And she remembers the flavor of 1914
When war was a delay in the timetable.