My grandpa lives in a little tin-roofed shack outside a small town in western North Carolina called Elkin. Elkin was a vibrant furniture-making hub until all the factories were all shuttered and sent to Brazil. My dad worked at the plant, my uncle worked at the plant, and my grandfather worked at the plant until he decided to devote himself to a more lumpen existence of subsistence farming, drinking, and moonshine-running.
The young people from Elkin tend to move away to nearby marginally sexy cities like Charlotte and Greensboro. Those that stick around town take jobs in rest homes and senior centers, wiping butts, dispensing pills, and giving sponge baths, or else devote themselves to perfecting bathtub methamphetamine or cultivating marijuana.
Wilkes County has the highest number of pot growers per capita in North Carolina. Every year, the DEA fly their infrared heat-seeker planes over the county’s lush hills and hollers and make dozens of arrests, and every year the pot-growers get out on bail and await their subsequent arrest the same time next year. Like much of what passes for justice, it’s a huge waste of everyone’s time.