Harman: worried about inflation

Mountain State Spotlight reporters are traveling the state asking West Virginians what they think about this election season. To read more stories in this series, click here.

HARMAN – Monday afternoon smoke along U.S. Route 33 near Harman was not from an out of control fire. Instead, a small group was taking advantage of the cloudless November day for one of their favorite activities: making apple butter.

The four of them stood around a 32-gallon kettle as the ingredients, including five bushels of apples, boiled over a wood-burning stove. Each took turns stirring the crucible as the mixture bubbled along the foil liner of the kettle.

“We got here at 9 a.m.,” Don Smith said. “We’ll probably be here until sunset.”

Two of the others, Willy Elliott and Joe Cooper, were cousins ​​of Smith. The fourth, Rex Vance, was a lifelong friend. The next day, all planned to walk to their local polling place, Harman High School, and vote.

Although all four said they had their own beliefs, they were all concerned about West Virginia’s economy. They worried about inflation and backed off whenever they saw gas prices go up.

“We don’t live where we can just run right by to get groceries,” Vance said.

“Everything goes up,” Smith said.

The group also agreed on many national issues. They said unconditional money from federal stimulus programs like the U.S. bailout was irresponsible, that immigration from Mexico should be controlled, and that abortion should be illegal nationally.

“We’re mountaineers, but we’re hillbilly,” Vance said. “We believe that [if] you have a child, you don’t even think about the idea of ​​aborting a child.

However, all of these concerns are secondary to the task at hand. Today, the focus was on potting enough apple butter to last through the winter.

“I still have 2017,” Vance said. “Still good.”

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